June 4th, 2012
There are a few things in life I’m thankful for. I’ve got a great family, I enjoy the work I do, and I seem to have good luck most of the time. That last part rang true for me when I injured my ACL playing some drop in Rugby a couple of weeks ago. Now many of you may wonder why this would make me lucky, so I’ll explain. You see, I was supposed to partake in the Mind over Matter Adventure Racing Challenge, or as the kids call it, MOMAR on June 2nd. Fans of the blog will remember I posted an introductory MOMAR blog a couple of weeks ago.
Anyways, I figured that, as a strapping young student, I wouldn’t really need to train that much, or, well, at all. Instead, I watched Game of Thrones and drank slurpees, which, I gotta tell you, was pretty awesome in it’s own way. (Pro tip: Mix Root beer, Sprite and Dr. Pepper together and prepare for awesome town)
Anyways, I was pretty disappointed to be on the injured reserve when the Challenge came about. After all, I had heard pretty wild things about the famed after parties, and I was excited to see how I would stack up amongst some of the best athletes in BC.
As I made my way to the spectators area, a couple of things became very apparent. First, everyone was wearing Spandex, and second, everyone looked like Bear Grylls. Long story short (too late) the reason I believe I was lucky to hurt myself was, well, I think I would’ve died on this course. While you don’t have to be Jeremiah Johnson to traverse the Burnaby Wilderness, it sure helps if you train a little bit before the event. I didn’t, and I think that my performance would have been more comical and pathetic than admirable and inspiring.
What unfolded was a tough, grinding event that saw all of the participants push their limits. I had seen testimonals on the MOMAR website saying pretty much the same thing, but I don’t think I could’ve imagined how strenuous the event can be. You start off in a Kayak, which is probably the least tasking portion of the race. You race to land, and then then you start mountain biking.
Now, this probably would’ve been the hardest part for me, as I can barely ride a bike without training wheels. While it’s not a brutal terrain to bike across, it certainly isn’t easy. There were a few spills on the day, but they were all minor. Really, all I saw were smiling faces as people made it to various checkpoints. This was surprising to me, as I was getting winded just watching these people compete. However, I quickly realized that the people competing in MOMAR aren’t really racing against each other; they’re trying to push their own limits, and trying to break their own goals. That’s why everyone seemed to be friendly enough on the course, and why there were no sad faces when they crossed the finish lines.
The mountain biking portion gave way to the final leg of the journey, that being the hiking course. Now, when I think of hiking, I picture a nice leisurely stroll down a gravelly path; perhaps a picnic basket rests on my arm. Perhaps I am listening to some country music on my Ipod to feel in touch with nature. This, of course is the complete opposite of MOMAR.
The hiking challenge is more of a hiking/sprinting challenge, as each competitor tries frantically to make it to the finish line. The rough part is, the faster you go, the more likely you are to lose your way off the course, as you have to navigate each portion of the race by yourself, using a map. I once got lost getting to a McDonalds that was literally thirty five seconds away from my house. As I saw each competitor valiantly find their way through the course, all I could think of is how I probably would’ve been eaten by a bear by now, or like, been blown in half by Predator. Anwyays, I digress.
Finally I saw people stream across the finish line, exhausted mentally and physically. I was filled with admiration for these people, as they had taken the MOMAR challenge by the horns and won. That’s the great thing about MOMAR; when you’re competing against yourself, you really can’t lose. No matter what your time is, no matter what place you finished in, you slayed the beast and made it across in one piece. That makes a pretty convincing victory in my books.
If this sort of thing sounds like your bag, there are other MOMAR events in BC you can check out at http://www.mindovermountain.com and be sure to check back next year for the 2013 Burnaby race.
That’s all for this week, but next week I will be at the Burnaby Play On! Tournament, no doubt embarrassing myself in front of a larger scale of people. Keep reading, and talk to you soon