This Saturday the hills surrounding Squamish will be alive with the sound of clinking bike chains, crinkling maps, heavy breathing and some animated discussions of where to go next.
This is the fourth year that the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race series has held an event in Squamish and close to 200 racers have already signed on. There are two courses available, a 50-km enduro course and a 30-km sport course. You can do the enduro course solo, or as part of a team of two or team of four. The Sport course is for teams of two only.
Once again Squamish adventure racer Jen Segger set the course, which will be a secret until just before the race gets underway. However, some of the popular sections will be returning and she promised some new sections for participants who have raced the Squamish MOMAR before.
"It's no secret that we're going to do the same rappel off the top of the Chief, it was such a big hit last year and we wanted to allow an opportunity for the people who chose to do the short course last year to do it," said Segger.
As for the rest of the course, Segger went out of her way to find new routes and challenges.
"There's been so much trail development in Squamish and a lot of people still don't know what's out there," she said. "We have an entirely new 'O' course (orienteering) on a trail that nobody has even been on yet, and I'm excited to show that off.
"I'm pretty crazy about the route in general. There are a few local favourites on it but some exciting new things as well."
Segger estimates that roughly 35 km of the 50-km course will be spent biking, with the other 15 km divided between trekking and running sections.
"That doesn't seem like a lot of trekking and running, but the climb to the Chief is only two kilometres and takes an hour for the fast guys," she said.
The short course, which is about two thirds riding, will cover many of the same trails. While it's shorter, it's not much easier technically than the full distance.
The race is based out of the Quest University campus, including the post-race celebration at the cafeteria that overlooks the valley.
The event hasn't had any trouble attracting volunteers with many returning from last year. But organizers can always use more. More information is on the website, www.mindovermountain.com.
"This is such a great community, so a big thanks from the organizers goes out to the community of Squamish and all the people who maintain and build these amazing trails. The conditions here are unreal, every time I go out I'm finding trails that have been cleaned and buffed," she said.
You can register for the sport course until the last minute, but there is a rappel certification requirement to do the enduro course and not much time left to do it. For more details visit the race website.