Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hoops & Yo Yo Win the Multi-sport Snowgaine

Comeau and Isenor of Hoops & Yo Yo finish seconds ahead of NSAR ROTFLMAO's Russon & Murray, though Hoops & Yo Yo enjoyed a 1 hr time bonus

Mother Nature smiled on the woods of Porter's Lake, NS on February 21st as conditions had all twelve teams fretting about what disciplines to use at the Multi-sport Snowgaine. Participants were allowed to use trekking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or any combination of the four. Only cross country skiing wasn't represented. The course consisted primarily of ATV trails with some logging roads. Snow measured at least 8 inches deep, but heavy ATV traffic groomed 12" wide paths for the experienced cyclists. Other trails were untouched by offroad traffic, and with the challenging topography snowshoes were appreciated.

It was a good day in the woods for one of Eastern Canada's top adventure athletes Jodi Isenor. Fresh of a the disabled list, this was the longest session Isenor had participated in for many months, according to him "Karine was patient with me but still kept the pushing the pace." Keeping Hoops & Yo Yo honest were Nick Russon and Kelly Murray of NSAR ROTFLMAO. Unfortunately for the Natural Selection Adventure Racing squad Hoops & Yo Yo had 'Checkpoint F' in their backpack. Checkpoint F was a 'first to find' control that had no point value, but it did have a 1 hour time bonus as its reward. It was one of the farthest controls from the start / finish and was worth every minute of that bonus!

Russon and Murray captured the final 400 pts of Checkpoint X, but not without some drama. The location of Checkpoint X was revealed on the course on a map posted at Checkpoint 2. Racers only knew that the map was at one of the controls. While Russon did see the map at Checkpoint 2 he later stated "I saw the map, but being daft I just assumed it was in case someone lost theirs." Murray added "it was a few minutes later that I saw the clue for Checkpoint X on our control sheet and I wondered what it was all about!" Fortunately for NSAR ROTFLMAO Checkpoint 2 wasn't far from the start / finish so they returned to find the location of Checkpoint X and were successful in collecting it.

Hoops & Yo Yo and NSAR ROTFLMAO both captured all 2900 points from the course with time to spare. Course directors Andrew Lowery and Shawn Taylor were skeptical on whether the 30 + km course could be completed. Lowery commented "with all the snow we figured that things might be slow going, but some mild weather managed to improve conditions with respect to speed. Both Hoops & Yo Yo and NSAR ROTFLMAO still had a great day in the woods and we couldn't be happier that they cleared the course!"

Coming in third in the six hour division were Bob Matthews & Bev McMurtrie of the Springhill Merlins. Unfortunately for the Merlins the missed the map at Checkpoint 2. While they would have had time to nab Checkpoint X, they didn't have time to go back to Checkpoint 2 to find it's location. Still, their placing wouldn't have improved but the disappointment was clear with the competitive duo. Following the Merlins was Hub Cycle. Bruce Roberts and Jeff Simm, fresh off the disappointing news of their not winning the lottery to race at Leadville arrived on the scene almost exactly 10 minutes past the start time. Simm commented "I finished packing for the race at 2:30 a.m., I don't even know what's in my backpack! All we wanted was to be 10 minutes early." No such luck for Hub Cycle. Lowery rushed them through registration and the two well seasoned cyclists set off on bike. If there was one team at the Snowgaine who could ride the unusual conditions it was them. Using a loaner compass Roberts & Simm cruised their way through 2300 points arriving with only a few minutes to spare like they were veteran adventure racers. The Maritime adventure racing scene needs to keep a watchful eye on Roberts and Simm as their results will only improve with their speed on the bikes and their ease in the woods.

Brad Toms and Blair Cabot of the Bumbling Bipeds steadily made their way through 2000 pts. Toms is an accomplished orienteerer and the Snowgaine navigation wasn't a problem for him. Cabot seemed to enjoy himself which means that Toms likely didn't travel at his usual Kenyan like pace, no slight to Cabot, Toms is just really fast!

Despite their self deprecating name, Lost in the Woods, Shannon Arnold and Jamie Haynes collected an impressive 2000 points. Coming from triathlete backgrounds there was no doubt that Arnold and Haynes had the appropriate fitness level. Arnold and Lowery shared a few informative phone calls before the race as neither she nor Haynes had ever done an adventure race before. "Shannon seemed cautious about the navigation. I tried to reassure her that since she knew what 'declination' was that meant she was already as good as many adventure racers, but I don't think she believed me" Lowery recalled. Hopefully any hesitation they may have had before the race has been eliminated by their success.

The Hammerheads, the Maritimes longest serving adventure racing squad and perpetual threat to all podium seekers, managed to grab 1700 points. Dikaios tweaked a knee which slowed down the trio, but Heddon and Tae showed great responsibility in slowing the pace of the usually strong running team. February is too early in the season to toy with injuries. Most importantly the Hammerheads had a great time and had the biggest smiles of the day when they finished. Still, even with that injury the three hopped on the bikes to grab Checkpoint X which involved a difficult bushwhack up a steep slope. Toughness is a prerequisite for being a Hammerhead!

NSAR WTF, the second Natural Selection Adventure Racing team of Troy Johnston and Lori Parker scored 1300 pts. Both Johnston and Parker are admittedly green navigators. Lowery, having raced with Johnston before comments "Troy never even wanted to see the map. I'd ask him if he wanted to know where we were going and he'd say 'nope, I don't care.'" Since teaming up with Parker and two others for the 2010 season, Johnston's sect of the NSAR family is still working out who will hold the maps for them. The Snowgaine course was certainly a good one to get experience!

Capturing first place in the four hour division was Dental Damage. Doucet, an experienced racer nursing a bad IT Band, brought out her colleague George Clark for his first race. Clark had a great time no doubt in part due to Doucet's ease with the map and vast knowledge of the sport. Not far behind was Sapper. Davis and O'Callaohan brought out MacAdam for her first race. While there was some doubt that she would make it to hockey that night, she did seem to enjoy herself. Third place went to Grandy and Nightengale of Maggre. Nightengale went on the prowl for adventure races and was put in contact with Taylor and Lowery just a week before the event. A frequent volunteer at the adventure races of yesteryear, Nightengale is anxious to test his mettle on a few more this year. The Jacobs sisters, Anna, Maria and Lisa rounded out the four hour division. The three stated before the race that they were just out for fun, and surely appeared to be successful in their bid.

Team Trail Shop Adventure Racing would like to thank all the participants of the Multi-sport Snowgaine. All proceeds from the race go towards their race fees for 2010. On their schedule is The 24 hour Eco-Endurance Challenge, a three day stage race in Mont Tremblant Ultimate XC, the 36 hour Race the Phantom in northern New Brunswick and the only North American qualifier for the Adventure Race World Championships: Untamed New England.

6 Hour Division:
- Hoops & Yo Yo (Jodi Isenor & Karine Comeau) 4:11, 2900 PTS
- NSAR ROTFLMAO (Nick Russon & Kelly Murray) 5:12, 2900 PTS
- Springhill Merlins (Bob Matthews & Bev McMurtrie) 5:32, 2500 PTS
- Hub Cycle (Bruce Roberts & Jeff Simm) 5:50, 2300 PTS
- Bumbling Bipeds (Brad Toms & Blair Cabot) 5:31, 2000 PTS
- Lost in the Woods (Shannon Arnold & Jamie Haynes) 5:43, 2000 PTS
- Hanmerheads (Grant Heddon, Kaarin Tae & Tasso Dikaios) 4:51, 1700 PTS
- NSAR WTF (Troy Johnston & Lori Parker) 5:43, 1300 PTS

4 Hour Division:
- Dental Damage (Erica Doucet & George Clark) 3:44 1700 PTS
- Sapper (Jody Davis, Melanie MacAdam, Keith O'Callaohan) 3:37, 1500 PTS
- Maggre (Leah Grandy & Glenn Nightengale) 3:29, 1400 PTS
- Jacobs Sisters (Anna, Maria & Lisa Jacobs) 3:41, 500 PTS