Squamish adventure racer Jen Segger finished the Adventure Race world championships in Portugal this week after a grueling 132 hours, 23 minutes and 35 seconds on course. The race was longer than past championships at 820 km, but it was also a rogaine-style event where some of the checkpoints are optional for bonus time deductions.
Segger's team, Team nuun-FeedTheMachine, is listed in 28 th place with two bonus checkpoints, while the winning team - Helly Hansen-Prunesco - finished in 128:32:58 with five bonus checkpoints. The previous year, in a more traditional race, Team nuun-FeedTheMachine placed sixth in the world.
On her blog, Segger called the race confusing, while apologizing to her fans for the official website that made the event tough to follow.
"Feel comfort in knowing that the race was a completely chaotic experience for everyone and we spent seven days on the race course not really knowing what we were doing, confused and guessing," she wrote.
That said, Segger found Portugal incredible in terms of the scenery and experience. And while the race didn't have jungle or wilderness to the extent of other adventure racers, it wasn't much easier in the end.
"I think we climbed and hiked every hill in the country," she wrote. "Actually, it's pretty safe to say that maybe 40 km out of 900 km in total was actually flat."
As for the checkpoint system, Segger is still sorting out what happened.
"Faced with an overwhelming amount of checkpoints (and I should mention that if you want CP3 to count for example, then you need to get 3A, 3B, 3C and sometimes 3D just to get one point), cut off times and rules that seemed to change and bend non-stop... I felt we spent our entire race strategizing, not really knowing what CPs to go after, not knowing what position we were in, and do we make those cut-offs, and then what happens?"
Segger's Achilles tendonitis didn't stop her from competing, although she said she would wait until she was 100 per cent recovered before competing again. She also decided to chalk up the world's as a learning experience.
"My mindset now is to just take this race as a chance to have learned a new skill... and to put it behind me and move forward. I've decided not to dwell on it because 2009 has already been a great year of racing, exploring and pushing my own boundaries," she said.
Skating club on the podium
The Whistler Skating Club sent two athletes to the B.C./Yukon Territories Section Championships last week in Richmond. Rebekah Robertson, who was competing for the first time in Pre-Novice Women, placed 51 st overall. Lisa Nakajima, who is training with the North Shore Winter Club as well as the Whistler Skating Club, placed fifth in Novice Women and was named as an alternate for the western championships in Ontario in December.
La Ruta wraps up
The annual four-stage La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike traverse of Costa Rica wrapped up last Saturday, with riders tackling over 12,000 metres of climbing over a 400 km course from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean.
Whistler was represented by Sarah O'Byrne, who placed a respectable sixth among female riders with her cumulative time of 32 hours, 15 minutes and 18 seconds (averaging over eight hours a day in the saddle).
Emma Smith, who now lives in Vancouver, placed third among women in 27:27:37.
Kershaw on top in Sweden
With weeks to go before the official launch of the World Cup cross-country season, an international field of racers descended on a warm-up race in Sweden this past weekend. Canada's Devon Kershaw, coming off a season where he cracked the top-10 in numerous events, earned a gold medal in the men's 15 km freestyle race, edging out Swedish stars Johan Olsson and Anders Sodergren on their home turf.
There were close to 200 starters in the FIS-level race, but Kershaw was in a class of his own. He finished with a gap of over six seconds, while Olsson himself had over 15 seconds on the third place racer.
Alex Harvey pulled out a 14 th place finish for Canada, with Graham Nishikawa of Whitehorse one spot back in 15 th .
Kershaw also competed in the one kilometre classic sprint the previous day where he finished 72 nd out of 183 finishers.
Olympic medalist Chandra Crawford - coming into the season after missing most of last year with a leg injury - was the top Canadian female racer in the sprint, placing 65 th .