Dave Viitakangas and Mike Conway have done their fair share of adventure races, recently teaming up to place fifth overall and first out of men's teams at the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race in Burnaby in May. They were also on pace to place second at the 24-hour race in Elkford two weeks ago, but got lost on the last stage and dropped back to 14th.
But both athletes - joined by Squamish's Cathy Jensen and Wade Tokarek of Kamloops - will be heading into uncharted territory this weekend as they head to the West Kootenays for the six-day, 500 km Raid the North Extreme.
"We're a new team and this is the first race for everyone together," said Viitakangas. "Our goal is just to finish and experience it. We want to get a local team going so we can keep trying to get into big races in New Zealand next year, and Primal Quest which is coming back to the northwest."
The team is called Kia Caha, which is Maori for "forever strong." The team is also completely unsponsored, although they want to host a fundraiser later in the summer for future events.
The Raid the North Extreme course starts in Kaslo and ends in Trail, with the full gamut of challenges along the way: trail running, mountain trekking (partly in snow), mountain biking, flatwater and river canoeing, orienteering, rope work, zip wire and Tyrolean traverses. However, for Viitakangas the biggest challenges are mental.
"It's the sleep deprivation that makes it so tough, making getting a few hours a night for so many days in a row," he said. "We've been training for it, getting up in the middle of the night to train, pulling all-nighters."
For more on the race, visit www.raidthenorthextreme.com.
Routley takes Superweek road climb
While he's technically on break, Whistler's Will Routley took part in the Tour de White Rock this past weekend. He rode back of the leaders in the road and criterium, but won the challenging hill climb stage - which if you've ever been to White Rock, is something else. The Homelife Realty Hillclimb is 700-metres on a 16 per cent grade from White Rock beach.
Routley has won the hill climb twice before, in 2007 and in 2010. The top riders have to do it twice.
He placed fourth overall in the omnium.
Charity volleyball tournament looking for teams
Registration is underway for the third annual Whistler Outdoor Volleyball Association Open, a charity fundraiser taking place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7 at Rainbow Park.