A few weeks back I was given the opportunity to participate in my first ever Adventure Race. Jumping on the idea I signed my wife and I up for a mixed team. The Fukarewe Dreamers team was in. Then I went home and shared the news with my team mate. ‘Umn, what do you mean you don’t want to?’ Oops. After a lot of 'don’t worry, this will be fun' persuasion she reluctantly joined in on my enthusiasm. We were signed up for the Suburban Rush
a very cool local race here in the Vancouver area.
Now, if you (like my wife) are not into big competitions and elbow throwing scrambles, this is the event for you. Capping the race at 300 keeps it mellow, and intermixing trail running and mountain bike riding seems to even out the strengths and weaknesses of the uber-keen in either sport. Toss in a bit of route finding, scavenger hunt-ish sections, and then round it out with a memory test and a good ole tire rolling special and you have about 3 to 5 hours of fun in the woods.
Our day started by dropping off our bikes into a penned area about 6 kms and 1000’ above the start line. Hmmm, do the math there folks. Back down to the start area we went. The event kicked off in earnest with a trail run along the end of the Port Moody inlet on some really beautiful wooden boardwalk. I guess I was having too much fun taking pictures and enjoying the view as at one point, I believe I was in dead last.
After leaving the inlet, we jumped straight into and up the Backyard Trails popping us out at our penned up bikes. That uphill run/walk was a bit of a wake-up call, but it started to spread out the field a bit too.
This is where the real fun started. We hopped on our Norco Range One’s
and grunted away up another 1000’ of elevation gain before topping out and pointing downward. Putting our tele-posts to use here we cruised through some fantastic trails and out to a “skills section” where we dropped our bikes. We were given a map and instructions to go find some stamps in the woods – we could choose the best route to collect all stamps but would have to cover another few kilometers on foot.
That “test” completed, we aimed for the finish line. Luckily we had gained a lot of elevation during the previous 3 hours and we still had a lot of trail to go down before crossing the finish line. Fun, fun, fun…… When we rolled across the finish line (still married) in something like 4-1/2 hours we were still grinning ear-to-ear. Not because we finally finished, but rather because it seemed like we were only out there for about an hour and that we had actually had a lot of fun! I think we were about 2 hours behind the top male and female finishers, but it didn’t matter. The celebration cold beer tasted awesome and we had a ball.
So, if you think Adventure Racing is something for those seasoned Pro-Elite athletes think again. The Suburban Rush is for normal people like you and me. I hope to see you out at the start line next year. Sign up early, it fills up fast. And now I know why. Special shout-outs to Dean and Shawn for putting on such a great event. There should be way more of these!!!
Yup, still married at the finish line. WhoooHoooo.
[caption id="attachment_4663" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Photo courtesy of Beth van Gaalen "]
Have fun out there !!!