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MOMAR conquers The Chief

More challenging adventure race puts competitors to the test

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Revelstoke's Bart Jarmula was the man to beat once again at the third annual Squamish Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) on Saturday, May 23.

Jarmula finished the 57 km enduro course (16 control points) in four hours, 53 minutes and 47 seconds, 18 minutes faster than North Vancouver's Gary Robbins. Shane Ruljanicich of Victoria was third in 5:16:02.

"Bart Jarmula ran an incredibly clean race, finishing the enduro course in four hours and 53 minutes, almost 20 minutes in front of Gary Robbins," said race director Bryan Tasaka. "Gary fought hard to get from fifth place to second place after losing time in the orienteering section, which was truly impressive."

The course itself was extremely difficult with the late addition of an orienteering section, some challenging bushwhacks, a lot of navigation, and a selection of challenging singletrack trails on the mountain bike leg. The race also finished with a run up to the first peak of the Stawamus Chief to the rappel station, dodging all the Saturday hikers in the area. This was the first race authorized to use the face of the 230-metre Stawamus Chief.

The top local racer in the solo men's category was Jamie Pierotti of Squamish, who was seventh in 6:11:31. Michael Conway was 14 th , missing one control point, in 6:25:08, while Whistler's Duncan Munro was ranked 16 th after he wasn't given credit for two checkpoints - his map was in bad shape at the finish line and was missing a section that included stamps. Without those missing stamps he would have ranked sixth in 6:06:20.

While disappointed, he still had a great time racing.

"I honestly think that Bryan and (course setter) Jen Segger set a world class adventure race course, it's definitely one of the hardest courses out there."

Munro ran into trouble early. He was with the lead group through the opening trek section, and was fourth onto his bike at the first transition. He stayed there until the next navigation section where he made a few mistakes. He teamed up with Gary Robbins to get the last three navigation points, both of them dropping back, and then both riders went the wrong way on the next bike leg. They were still together, but a pair of flat tires bumped Munro back to the 30s.

"I used everything I had to get back into the race, and passed a lot of racers to get to sixth by the bottom of the Chief," he said. "By the time I got to the hike up to the first peak I was done, I wasn't passing anybody. It was getting pretty hot at that point and I was out of water at that point, so I was happy to keep my position to the finish."

In solo female Sarah Seads of Courtenay was first in 6:31:18, followed by Rua Read and Meghan Thompson of Garibaldi Highlands in 6:43:18 and 7:33:15 respectively.

In the Team of Two Co-ed category, Donna MacIntosh and Brian Steeves of North Vancouver were first in 7:08:29.

Beauty and The Beyatch of Seattle won the Team of Two Female race in 7:50:19, followed by Ste It Up Princess of Garibaldi Highlands (Kim Stegeman and Kate Drew in 7:52:11, and Squamish's Shammers (Shannon Collier and Pam Skeans) in 6:52:11.

In the Team of Two Male category, the ironically-named 2 Slow team (Whistler's Kevin Hodder and L.J. Wilson of Squamish) placed first in 5:45:12, more than six minutes ahead of MOMAR/Make-A-Wish, and Innovative Fitness.

Hodder says they were genuinely surprised to get to the finish and find themselves in first.

"It was the first MOMAR we've done, and it was definitely tougher than the impression I had, or that it had historically been," he said. "In a lot of ways it was better and tougher than I thought the course was going to be."

While Hodder and his teammate have been involved in adventure racing for a long time - both were involved in staging the Eco Challenge Adventure Race out of Whistler in the early days - it was the first race for both athletes.

"We knew how it worked, I'm an ACMG (Associaiton of Canadian Mountain Guides) guide, LJ was the whitewater lead coordinator on Eco Challenge... but this was the first time we put it to the test."

Hodder says they worked well together and generally kept up with each other on the trail. LJ had an edge on some of the technical mountain bike sections which Hodder was riding for the first time, but otherwise everything went smoothly.

"We've known each other forever, and are great friends. And we went in with the expectation of not winning it, so we never had the stress of those expectations weighing on us," he said.

Hodder said that they have been inspired to do more races, and are considering the next MOMAR race on Vancouver Island at the end of the summer.

In the Team of Four Co-Ed category, Team Helly Hansen Vancouver Island - comprised of experienced adventure racers - placed first in 5:28:09, almost two hours ahead of their competition. Disimpaction was second in 7:24:26, and Team Inbalance third in 7:53:54.

The Slickity Dogs won the Team of Four Female category in 8:05:54, completing 15 of 16 control points. The Gentlemen of Suburban Rush completed just 12 control points to finish in 7:53:18.

On the 30 km sport course - new this year with nine control points - the Fluffy Bunnies won the Team of Two Co-ed category in 5:02:19, followed by the Lucky Lager Appreciation Society in 5:52:50, and Engaged in 7:07:17.

In Team of Two Female, Let's Get Squishem'ed was first in 5:19:29, followed by Get Your Mind Off My Mountains Adventure Racing in 6:39:07. Whistler's PomOz team, Ainslie Caldwell and Dee Raffo, were third, missing one control point to finish in 6:07:49.

In Team of Two Male, Dan Carey and Jessie Hannigan of Vancouver were first in 5:11:03 as Ryders on the Storm. Need for Speed was second in 5:36:33 and French Connexion third in 6:38:20.

There are only two races on the MOMAR calendar this year. The second event is on Sept. 27 in Cumberland, B.C. Complete results and details are available at www.mindovermountain.com.