Well, it’s late September and the weather is flirting with cooling down, the sun is slowly making its shift to earlier sunsets and here in the Pacific northwest that means that MOMAR (Mind over Mountain Adventure Race) is about to make its appearance again in the Comox Valley on Vancouver island.
This had been one of the long standing adventure races gracing this region for a long time. It has survived growth and time, something to be said compared to many other things these days. COVID gave it its best shot in 2020, MOMAR pivoted and went virtual while it had to and has had a chance to be back in person for the 2021 2022 seasons.
As a return customer I was eager to rub my bleary eyes January 1st to join the opening day sign up. This race sells out without a doubt every year. Our regular crew, or family all find their way online and sign up. The bulk of us are from Metro Vancouver, and a few that have moved just outside the region. We have been through this before, we know it is likely one of the best races out there. We are signed up. We are happy.
In the months and then weeks leading up to the race, we are all busy in our own worlds, our own lives. Juggling the family lives, personal goals, and other responsibilities that we all do. We managed a few zoom calls, an opportunity to go over a couple ideas, but really a chance to catch up with those that aren’t as easily available to grab a beer with. We keep each other in check, ensure everyone is training, or at least claim to do so. And time winds down.
Before long it’s race week and the reality of how quickly these last weeks… months have gone by. It’s like a sweep kick from a Steven Seagal scene and you’re left holding your head from the abrupt encounter with the floor beneath you. Fuck.
What it’s all about
Who doesn’t live for this? Kayaking. Check. Trail running. Check. Mountain Biking. Check. Throw in the mix a little orienteering, and that’s a good race.
Get there. Get ready. Go.
We descend onto Vancouver Island the day before the race. Gather our bikes from our partners at Comox Bike Shop. (Always a solid hook up!) And get any last minute logistics taken care of before check in happens in Cumberland.
With all our crew organized, we hit the check in, get our race packs, slam a beer and chow some food before hitting the hay early. It’s a big day tomorrow.
Our crew is split up into 2 different groups, half signed up for the 50km Enduro race, and the other half the 30km Sport race. Don’t be fooled by the shorter distance. This doesn’t equate to a walk in the park. We arrived at Comox beach and received our course map an hour before the race, get our final direction from the Momar organizers before mounting our kayaks and making our way to the starting line.
A spectacle to see, as hundreds of kayaks dip into the lake and await the air horn. Are we ready? Are we set? Blast. Chaos ensues as the rainbow of boats attempt to out manoeuvre each other. Everyone’s adrenaline has kicked into high gear, and will remain there for the coming hours. Kayak, the run. Find the checkpoint, run find another, get on a bike, climb a mountain, checkpoint, race down. Checkpoint. The day goes by, we race and hit the checkpoints until the last one and hurl ourselves back on the bike one more time. Legs cramping, hands barely hold the handlebars we race back into the bike coral at the bottom of the bike park, and… The final rush to the finish, complete with shit eating grins on our face. We have completed MOMAR!
The Take Away?
Well a pat on the back, a cold beer in a coffee mug, and an experience that a small group of people get to take home, lick their wounds, tell their tales and wait for January 1st to roll around and wake up bleary eyed, sign up and do it all over again. Well MOMAR may not be a race for everyone, chances are if you do it once, you’ll be back for another round.