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.
The event benefits the Whistler Community Services Society, which among other things runs the local food bank.
There are both two-on-two and four-on-four divisions with a cost of $25 per player. There's also a two-person bocce ball tournament for $10, and a watermelon-eating contest for $5. A silent auction will be held, and the wrap party and awards are at the Dubh Linn Gate.
For an entry form visit www.wova.ca.
Rugby League team holds first home game on Sunday
The newly founded Whistler Rugby League Football Club is playing its first home game of the season this Sunday, July 24 at Whistler Secondary School, playing host to the South Island Rabbitohs.
The game starts at 2 p.m. and everyone is welcome to come out and watch.
Rugby League is a different game than rugby union, which most people are familiar with. For one thing there are no line-ins or scrums and penalties, like knock-ons, result in turnovers. Each team - 13 players instead of 15 - gets six chances to move the ball, after which they lose possession.
The game is more popular than rugby union in some areas and there are professional leagues in places like Australia and Scotland.
Free trail running clinics underway
Every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. the Escape Route is holding free trail running clinics, with registration at the store starting at 6 p.m. From the Marketplace, groups will head to the trails, with programs and courses for everyone from beginners to intermediate and the low advanced level. Gabby DeGagne, a former competitive cross-country and track athlete, as well as a varsity level coach, will be leading the runs.
Logger Days come to Squamish
The 54th annual Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival is set to go from July 28 to 31 with a full calendar of fun community events, an internationally sanctioned logger sports competition and a B.C. Athletics-sanctioned 10K run that is the 10th event out of 11 in the 2011 road series.
Things get underway with the "Into the Woods with Red Riding Hood" art exhibit sponsored by the Squamish Arts Council at the Building In the Park.
Friday is the Squamish Station World Championship Chair Carve (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and the annual Squamish Days Bed Races (7 p.m.).
Saturday kicks off with Children's Sports at Stan Clarke Park at 9:30 a.m., with the Novice and Intermediate Loggers Sports competitions getting underway at 1:30 p.m. The Axe Throw Invitational takes place at 6 p.m. at Chances.
The Squamish Days 10K run is at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, following a fast, flat out and back course. As well, runners can take part in the Flashback Mile, a long-standing one-mile (1.61) run event.
The World Class Open Loggers Sports Show presented by AJ Forest Products takes place at 1:30 p.m., with events including tree climbing, tree topping, birling, the chokerman's race, axe throwing, the underhand chop, the butcher block chop, the obstacle pole bucking, the springboard chop, hand bucking, speed bucking, the standing block cop, tree falling, the Ladies Triple and the team relay.
More information is at www.squamishdays.ca. If you've never been, then this event is not to be missed.
Squamish hosting kiteboard nationals
The top kiteboarders in Canada will be soaring their stuff on Howe Sound from Aug. 5 to 7 as the Squamish Windsports Society and Squamish Yacht Club team up to host the Canadian Kiteboarding Course Racing Nationals Championships.
Unlike freestyle and trick events, the championships are all about speed. Friday is a slalom race (with a Freestyle Expression Session if time permits). Saturday will be a timed race around the harbour.
For more information, visit www.kiteroam.com.