By Andrew Mitchell
The first Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) event held
in Squamish is being called an unqualified success after selling out three
weeks in advance and going off without a hitch Saturday, May 12.
The race started with a short navigation trek to spread out the
field, and was followed by a bike leg, another trek, a second bike leg, a
rappel down the Smoke Bluffs, and an urban navigation stage that led racers to
the finish line.
The course was far from easy with a total distance of 45 km,
including about 14 km of trekking and navigation and mountain bike stages that
included Pseudo Suga and Powerhouse Plunge trails.
Leading the way were Todd Nowack and Gary Robbins as Team Helly
Hansen/MOMAR, first overall and first in the men’s pairs category with a time
of three hours, 52 minutes and 49 seconds — more than 35 minutes faster
than the next men’s team of two. It was only the second time in MOMAR history
that a team beat the top solo racers.
Robbins used to call Whistler home, but moved to Squamish last
year for work and to be able to train year-round for adventure racing.
“There was a bit of hometown advantage for sure, knowing the
trails we were going to bike on, and the final navigation through Squamish was
easier from knowing the area,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. The whole race we
were three minutes back of Justin (Mark), and we literally caught up at the end
of the race. We had gotten to the rappel, and Justin forgot his carabiner and
had to come back for it. That closed the gap for us, and the rest was a race to
Robbins said his team had made a few wrong turns in the
navigation section. They ran past one control point twice that was hung off to
the side of the trail, and then somehow missed a huge wad of pink flagging tape
on the side of the trail at another spot.
“Amazingly, we weren’t the only people to run past that bright
pink flagging tape,” laughed Robbins. “That’s how it is sometimes. You’ve got
your head down, just trying to stay alive, and you miss something big like
Robbins has already had a busy season. In February his team
finished on top of the unranked category at the Baja Travesia. He has also won
his category in the North Shore Dirty Duo race, and two weeks ago won the solo
category of the Summit 2 Shore Adventure Challenge in Deep Cove. His Team Helly
Hansen/MOMAR teammate Meagan Rose won the women’s solo category.