mind over mountain

this weekend we stayed with our friends matt and monique, liam and tor in the comox valley. we were there so that i could do the mind over mountain adventure race which consisted of:
9km kayak
15km trail running
20km mountain biking

matt and his friend scott were doing the race as a team of 2 and i entered as a solo racer. the kayaking and biking portions were marked, but the rest of the race was totally unmarked and involved collecting a bunch of checkpoints and navigating with a compass and topo map.

my time was 6 hours 10 minutes. the fastest time was 4 hours 1 minute (the MOMARs self sponsored race team blew everyone else out of the water!)
there was 280 racers, some solo, some in teams of 2 or 4. i placed 43rd out of 120 teams which i am ecstatic about. i did the race solo, but hooked up with matt and scott during the bushwacking/orienteering portion where we helped eachother out.

i found all the checkpoints and completed all the requirements and had an absolute BLAST! it was funny, i thought the biking would be my favourite, but the uphill was painful, and the downhill/xc, although fun, was quite frustrating b/c i kept catching up to people every 15 seconds and then i would have to wait to find a good spot to pass and then open it up only to have to slow down again 15 sec later. my favourite part was running by myself through the wilderness in cumberland with my map in my hand, not seeing anyone and having no idea if i was in the right place or not, then finding a checkpoint right where i thought it would be according to the map. at times the course was crowded, but by the second half of the race as people spread out and chose their own routes i would go 20 min without seeing another person.

the actual race was pretty mixed up... the kayak stage was first and took a little over an hour. it was a gorgeous sunny day and a perfect time to be out on comox lake in a kayak. then there was an hour of bushwacking/orienteering/trail running/getting stung by wasps (i got stung 4 times) where you had to find checkpoints marked on a map in any order while navigating by compass and map and topography... seriously fun, but crowded.

then there was the first biking stage. it started with a quick road ride, then some xc riding uphill, then a nasty grind up to the top of the mountain, then a sweet sweet downhill. this part was fun b/c i was continually passing people going up and down (although also frustrating on the singletrack downhill as i mentioned)

after that was the main trail running stage, where again you had to find checkpoints in any order and you could take any route you wished... the fire roads and bike trails were marked on the map to help you navigate. that was seriously fun. i never got fully lost, but i did end up collaborating with other semi lost people on the trail. i got a huge second wind after completing the uphill run and starting down. i was flying down the trails and leaping from rock to root in an excessively flamboyant fashion b.c i was having so much fun. regular blog readers will be well aware of my penchant for leaping off rocks, now picture me leaping off rocks across downhill switchbacks in order to pass people going down, or avoid people coming up. at one point i miscalculated, slipped on a rock i was clambering up and got slammed in the head by a guy running downhill. i got my bell rung, but shook it off and kept running.

after that there was another mountain bike stage to get back to town. that one was a lot more fun b/c people were much more spread out and i could really open it up and fully experience the cumberland singletrack. finally once we hit town you had to ditch the bike and do one final stage through downtown cumberland. a team of 4 that i had passed in the final bike stage caught up to me looking for a checkpoint in a park. i helped them find the area but then when they found the checkpoint they kept it to themselves and i had to keep looking which ticked me off a bit. i caught up to them at the final checkpoint and sprinted past them into the final stretch. i had to keep the pedal to the floor for the last 2 blocks and it was PAINFUL!!! the first 2 members of the team caught up to me, but i beat the last 2 in which meant i beat the whole team! that was pretty sweet as they ended up coming in third for the 4 person teams. (i would have been on the podium if i was 4 of me!)

the only sad part was that kylie was late coming to the finish line so she didnt see me finish. i had so much emotion boiling through me after finishing that when i realized she wasnt there i almost started crying. monique and kylie and the boys did make it in time to watch matt and scott come in though. liam even ran out on the course to greet his dad.

the next day we went to church and then just hung out in matt and monique's incredible backyard off the comox river. their own personal campground. while we weren't too stiff, we certainly werent in the mood to do much more than talk and nap.

the next day we went for a nice xc ride and then had a picnic by the lake.

after that it was back to the ferry to take us back to real life on the mainland. we will be back though! thanks matt and monique for being such great hosts!


Cheam cubed

Our friend Jarrid came for a visit last week and since we have found it easiest to duplicate our visitors experience (same hikes, same meals, same vacation destination) we hiked up Cheam on one of the last beautiful days of summer.

I will not bore you with too many of the same pictures three posts in a row (maybe it's a bit like the movie "Groundhog Day," every time you come to our blog you feel like you're reading the same post over and over.) but I will post a few good ones of the day.

It was much redder this week. Amazing the difference a week can make.

Then off to the sand castles.... again! This time we actually paid to get inside instead of just looking through the fence.

Marc and Jarrid looked a little like evil twins this time around. Here is what their mug shot would look like if they ever got arrested together.

We also gave Jarrid a flute we had purchased for him in Egypt. Marc took this video......

...... while I was in the kitchen making this face.

I am not a fan of the sound of the Eygptian chamfer. (Who knew that was another word for flute!)

We are off to Vancouver Island this weekend for Marc to run an adventure race. Have a great weekend!


parental guidance strongly advised

september is half over and visitors numero dos have come and gone. my parents came through chilliwack after visiting shareen and craig in victoria and my uncle gil, aunt helen and cousin marcie in surrey.

we picked my parents up from my aunt and uncle's place where they had already been shown a grand time in vancouver, biking all over stanley park and granville island.

on our first day with them we got a picnic lunch and set out to explore tynehead park in surrey. what we found were blackberries... lots and lots of blackberries.
after completely filling our stomachs and upper esophagi we found we could not stop ourselves from picking these brilliant black bulging buds of berrylicious bonbon so we started filling doggy bags (and i dont mean paper bags from a restaurant) to take home and bake with.

after gorging ourselves on blackberries we proceeded to langley where we first visited oma g (no relation), who has recently moved from lethbridge to a stunning new seniors village in the valley. we surprised her and she was so excited to see us alberta imports!

after a nice visit (and a nap in a chair for me) we moved further up the valley to our good friends martin (oma g's son) and sonya and jannessa and mike, and their dog chester.

there we had a fantastic dinner (bacon wrapped steak - oh joyous juxtaposition!) and martin enthused about their new house and its location right next to a gorgeous little ravine where we walked our dogs.

(warning - this next paragraph may sound familiar to regular blog readers)
the next day was anchored by a hike up mt cheam, the most prominent peak in chilliwack. we saw no bears along the way and stopped to eat some of their huckleberries while they were or were not otherwise occupied.
yes, that's right... we hiked up cheam for the 2nd time in a week, and we may do it again tomorrow... it is that beautiful. my parents loved it and my dad couldnt stop taking pictures of the peak from various vantages throughout the valley thereafter.

after cheam we travelled see our friends and my mom's cousins gerry and anne. they are always a fantastic time and this night was no exception. at my parent's request we watched the final of canadian idol to witness the crowning of theo tams... lethbridge pride! at gerry and anne's we feasted on icecream cake and blackberry/apple crumble.

the next day involved a hike on harrison lake to a nice little beach

and while my parents and kylie continued along the harrison river i ran back and rented a kayak to come out and meet them.

after enjoying an ice cream cone while perusing the world sandcastle competition entries we took a sunday drive (on friday) back through fraser valley farmland to our house where we hosted our friend dave, who introduced me to some sweet tunes and caught up with my mom.

all in all another great guest visit. i really loved hosting my parents and watching them enjoying all the beautiful sites and great friends.


more mister multiple molten motes

sept is a busy month for us. and by that i do not mean to imply that i am working very hard. i mean to imply that we are having many guests and are being sorely taxed having to ferry them around and show them all the sights of the fraser valley. our first guests are a case in point. fraser and kara stayed with us on their way home from seeing dave matthews at the gorge in washington.

on the first full day of their stay i took fraser downhilling on vedder mountain while kylie and kara walked around cultus lake and picked blackberries. fraser was a natural downhill rider. with nary a day of downhill biking experience he strapped on my friend chad's armor and proceeded to storm the mountain, complete some huge stunts and fly over his handlebars on multiple occasions. unfortunately i was too busy biking to document any of these events. the testament must be born by the length of time it continues to hurt fraser to breathe deeply.

then we trekked out to the chilliwack river where we had a fire, enjoyed eating hotdogs
and watching a young beaver show off in the current.

after that it was back to cultus lake for a late night dip.

the next day was anchored by a hike up mt cheam, the most prominent peak in chilliwack. we saw 4 bears along the way and stopped to eat some of their huckleberries while they were otherwise occupied.

mt cheam is a stunning hike with beautiful new views at every turn.

the views off steep drops well above roiling clouds were particularly awe inspiring.

once home we enjoyed my favourite food, kylie's (version of r ray's) italian stuffed pizza, along with a stunning salad and a nice bottle of wine courtesy of mister motes himself. oh, and and blackberry tart... mmm... thanks kylie and kara!

as you can tell, it has been a difficult week for us. if it wasn't for fraser and kara doing all our dishes we would be at our wits end, because my parents are coming in to town tomorrow and we are going to have to show them around all over again!