Conquer the Vedder
Posted by Jordan Curet
Are you ready to put your SUP skills to the test? Or always wanted to try a triathalon but swimming isn’t your thing? Well, this is your chance at the upcoming Conquer The Vedder - a new multisport race with a twist. If you are in the BC area, on the unparalleled trail and water accessof Cultus Lake and Vedder Mountain, you can put your adventure skills to test as a solo competitor (Saturday) or a relay team of 3 (Sunday), May 7-8th. We will be out there to cheer you on from start to finish, with boards to test out, and VPO Abbotsford is the place to go for a SUP rental if you are in need of one (and get a gravel bike and trail running shoes while you are there).
Head over to trailrunning.ca/race/conquer-the-vedder/ to get all the detail and register before the race is full.
We sat down with one of the race founders, Gary Robbins, to learn a little more about what to expect from this event and what inspired them to create it.
What was the inspiration behind creating the event and how did it start?
My own personal journey into the outdoor space initially consisted of doing adventure races, which involve kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, navigation, etc. There is a race in BC called the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR), and while I consistently found myself on the podium at these events, I also went on to become their course manager for a few years. I always wanted to create a multisport race, and when my wife and I moved to Chilliwack in 2019, I saw the potential this area held. I toyed with the idea of an adventure race, which would include navigation and kayaking, but settled on something slightly different that would be a bit more open to everyone.
Why SUP? What was the thought process by adding this activity into the race?
This is a first year race, and our first foray into multisport. Throughout the pandemic we saw a large spike in both SUP and gravel biking in the trail running world, which is where we’ve carved out our niche over the past 10 years. Personally, my family bought two Red Paddle boards during the pandemic, and we spent a generous amount of time on these, along with our child & dog. Having competed in adventure racing since as far back as 2004, the barrier to entry for most was kayaking and navigation. I felt it best to eliminate both of those from this specific race, to make it as friendly to newcomers as possible.
Is this race for everyone?
Oh 100%. The race is not without its challenge, with over 1000 meters / 3300ft of gain throughout the bike & run portions, but we have people of all abilities already signed up to join us in Chilliwack this May.
How important is it for you to encourage people to challenge themselves within the outdoor space?
It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve been doing for a decade now. I didn’t grow up with water sports, mountain biking and trail running as a part of my family’s DNA, I stepped into that world in my 20’s and it changed my life. Outdoor spaces and adventures provided me with a life I’d always dreamt about and I want that opportunity for everyone. We try to get people outside in a safe environment, so that they can challenge themselves while discovering the reward that self-propelled activities hold. Our ultimate goal is to empower people and to hopefully create more educated stewards of our wild spaces.
When is the event and what is your best advice to those who have entered?
The solo race goes Saturday, May 7th, while the 3-person relay happens on Sunday, May 8th. My best piece of advice, grab some friends and have some fun out there! My next piece of advice? Try to replicate the course as best as possible in your home terrain, so you can get an idea of what you’re signing up for. I consider the bike portion to be the most challenging element of this course, so if you’re building a relay team, try to find someone with a bit more experience in that specific discipline.