|MOMAR SQUAMISH BELONGS TO MARKEZ|
following a frightening fall on his mountain bike, only to turn everything around for this year's event.
"MOMAR is Canada's most enduring Adventure Racing series. Eleven years. Thirty races. I found early success in the other national series, but MOMAR had always eluded me. From every sort of mechanical failure to getting stitched up in hospital, I could never quite put the pieces together - until this year. A win at MOMAR Squamish is immensely satisfying. Having said that, I will be back next year and racing as if I were still chasing elusive success," says Markez.
The 50 km Enduro Course began with a 1 km run around Quest University, followed by a three part, 35 km mountain biking section. The ride began with a steep uphill climb on a logging road, followed by some technical, uphill single track.
Bryan Tasaka, race organizer added a new section to this year’s classic: a ride down the thrilling Half Nelson, a 2.5 km downhill section. "The jumps, berms and tabletops of this trail left many racers saying they had never had so much fun on a mountain bike," says Tasaka.
A series of bike trails ensued followed by an 8 km orienteering bushwhack for eight checkpoints.
Stawamus Chief, the granite monolith was the next obstacle that stood between the racers and the goal. Competitors clomped up 600 meters, only to gear up and hurl themselves over a sheer cliff face, down a 50 m rappel. Tasaka then had competitors wade through waist-high water of the frigid Mamquam River, ending with an urban run through downtown Squamish.
After five years of being a race favorite, and five years of challenging course design, John Markez finally won his first MOMAR title, completing the race in 4 hours and 14 minutes. "In 2009, Markez was leading the race at the halfway point when he crashed during the mountain bike stage, and ended up in the hospital with a gash to his leg," says Race Director Bryan Tasaka. "He ran a really clean race this year – it was great to see him come out on top."
For Markez however, he did have a small hiccup. "Sometime during the navigation section I had dropped my race map and control card. I was not sure if it was near my bike nor how much time I had lost looking for it or as a result of bobbling two of the controls. Finishing the nav and finding my map, I saw the leaders leave transition only two minutes ahead of me. I was sure I could close the gap considering the lead I managed on the first bike section."
Determined to close the gap Markez pushed on and was able to finish 4 minutes ahead of the defending champion, Bart Jarmula of Revelstoke, BC. Placing third overall and first in the team of two male category were teammates and former MOMAR champions, Gary Robbins of North Vancouver and Todd Nowack of Victoria.
"I don't know if frustrating is the right word however finishing 4 minutes behind John certainly is agonizingly close in a race like MOMAR. When I look back at my race I can always find spots where perhaps I could have raced a little cleaner or pushed that little bit harder. The flip side though is that I am happy that I pushed hard to the end and kept the gap stable without losing more time as John raced very strong this year," says Jarmula.
Lina Augaitis of Vancouver topped the podium for female racers, finishing in 5 hours and 30 minutes. Trailing by only 1 minute and 27 seconds was North Vancouver's Lucy Eykamp, with defending female champ, Sarah Seads of Courtenay, coming in third at 5 hours and 42 seconds.
Eykamp, a race favourite was not surprised by her placing. "I (foolishy) took a wrong turn on my bike through town... I knew it was my race to lose (I had a good 5-7 minutes on Lina at the bottom of the chief), but then I took the wrong turn - actually followed last years course instead of looking properly at the map. So I knew she had passed me, I could see her up ahead of me in the run, but couldn't quite catch her up!"
Over $1500 was raised for the Make A Wish Foundation, MOMAR's official charity and a donation was also made to the Squamish Trail Society.
The next MOMAR will be held in Cumberland, BC on September 25, 2010. For more information on racing, volunteering and MOMAR training clinics, check out www.mindovermountain.com/momar/ or call 1.866.912.3331.