Monday, October 13, 2014

MOMAR 2014 from the Middle of the Pack

What happens when you take a type A personality who does triathlons for about 30 years and retire him and then do an adventure race for fun in 2013 with lots of mistakes? Odds are he gets a bit more serious and returns for more and that is the story of MOMAR 2014 (#momarcumby).

So if you read this blog you know all about the 2013 race (race report in a previous post). There was much opportunity for improvement. However, to make things fun I came back for the solo Enduro event. That means an extra 10K mountain biking (25 from 15), extra 5km running (15 from 10) and an extra 5 km kayaking (10 from 5). No problemo…

I spent the better part of the last year learning how to mountain bike downhills, some quasi run training to improve my fitness while not abusing my knee and a bit of time improving my kayak technique. Come race week my moral support crew - no real support is allowed on the course - faded and I had to call in the rare father's day coupon to "coerce" a daughter to come up with me. You can see the used father's day coupon below.

So with my conscripted moral support crew we go up the day before, do the pre-race check-in and camp at the lake.

Lorenz Jimenez Photography: Registration &emdash; LJ_20140919-_9190952

I look happy here, mostly because the anticipated discomfort has not started. Race morning prep goes all good, BLAH BLAH BLAH - nobody really wants to know what I did for that or the play by play on bike check in. However, you do want to see the retro 70s headband I was rockin' at the lake before race start.

Honestly, I did not sleep in that shirt overnight… Really! Sadly, this is the best I looked all day and with that headband, that is a sad, sad, statement. So this adventure thing starts with a kayak. Lots of boats and a few resourceful athletes (you know who you are - you solo racers that paired up in a double kayak) were on course that day.

 Raise your hands and identify yourselves - see photo! ), 

some paddle boarders (props to you four!), and yours truly. I had thought with my training I would be up closer to the front of the race after the kayak and found myself firmly in the high 70s position wise out of 112 entries in the Enduro course. Reality sets in. However, the time was about right for my training and I scrambled out of the kayak at about the 75 minute mark. At this point I put on the knee braces (to accompany that quality headband look), punched the checkpoint 1 marker and smiled for the camera - I look really dorky here too I think.

So trudging along with the "Wenzel Walk"™ I trek my way for over an hour and a half and lose a few places and my knee holds up "relatively well" with the ups and downs, side hills etc and I eventually make it back towards town. Not only was my attire admired by those competing and watching but the ability I had to read a map and run past a couple of teams while map-reading made for interesting mid day entertainment. Kids, notice the quality form with the high tech knee braces.

Lorenz Jimenez Photography: CP 8 &emdash; LJ_20140920-_9200348-2

Next is the uphill mountain bike stage, finally my training would pay off as I rode hard, aggressively riding and then hike-a-bike up some steep climbs and began passing people who started too fast. I moved up about a dozen places and my pre-race trip to Cumberland in the summer paid off as I knew exactly where I was going.

After finishing that began Trek #2, which really took its toll on my knee. By this time fatigue was a small factor but the ups and downs and length of time on course showed my why I had quit road racing as the knee just was not up to it. However, despite all conditions Trek #2 was done in about 90 minutes and I moved up another 8 places or so - go figure.

So all that was left was the downhill bike section. This is where we would find out if a new bike and seven months of training at Hartland Mtn Bike park would payoff. After a couple km of mostly flat riding the first section downhill was Thirsty Beaver, the same trail that caused me to crash last year. All I can say is I rode the Beaver without any qualms, or problems. Then to Blue Collar, I also rode that in the summer, again no problems. A couple of faster downhillers did pass me but at least this year I was not walking. Some flat stuff through Crafty Butcher, then a tough climbing section which took me FOREVER, and a couple of downhill trails that were pretty tough for me so I did some walking before finally finishing on the 50:1 trail.

For proof I could ride the downhill the photographer did capture evidence. Its a smile, not a grimace of fear here - at least that will be my story.

Lorenz Jimenez Photography: 50:1 &emdash; LJ_20140920-_9200275-3

Just after this photo a short stint to the finish to move up 4 more spots and finish 53 overall and a prompt personal commitment of retirement from adventure racing. In fact, it took over two weeks for my knee to recover. However, this was a much better way to finish than last years getting lost, crash, walking, infection, allergic reaction story. At least now I can move on to my next adventure without wondering if I could do better - because not only did I, but I had a lot of fun.

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