On your marks, get set, bring on the snow! Cain's Quest snowmobile race kicks off this weekend
The snowmobilers have started their engines and are off on a long and challenging endurance race across Labrador in Cain's Quest 2023.
But Mother Nature has brought some new challenges for this year's riders, says Chris Lacey, the chairperson of the event.
Weather conditions aren't exactly favourable, he says, as there are some areas in Labrador that have little to no snow.
"As a past racer, I think it's gonna be challenging, it's gonna add an extreme part of the race that we haven't had in a long time, minimal snow conditions," said Lacey.
"But as an organizer, it's always cause for concern from a safety standpoint to make sure everybody makes it through the race safely and without injury."
Cain's Quest is a 3,500-kilometre snowmobile race beginning Saturday morning in Labrador City. The race takes competitors to 18 checkpoints across Labrador, which Lacey says could take five to seven days to complete.
This is the first Cain's Quest in three years, as it was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lacey says it takes around 500 volunteers to help put the race together. It's a lot of work, says Lacey, but it's worth it.
"Very excited, very happy, pumped, tired, all of the emotions are going through now," he said.
'It's absolutely incredible'
Photographer Scott Ronin has had to wait three years to come back to Cain's Quest because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says while he gets to document the race, even he won't see the full scope of the distance travelled.
"Nobody understands about this race, how many fine details there are, how elaborate it is, how complex it is," Ronin said.
"I only have just a small perspective, but I'll tell you, it's absolutely incredible. So happy to be back."
The Corner Brook-based photographer said the event is a perfect fit for him as a snow lover.
"This is about the most exciting thing in the world for me. I love snowmobiling, I love winter, now in like half an hour they're going to put me in a helicopter and I get to chase these guys for the next six or seven days. It's insanity."
Jeremy Thoms from Labrador City was excited to get the race started. He says it's the first Cain's Quest for both him and his partner.
"I got ants in my pants," he said.
"It's going to be a good experience, that's what you sign up for."
His nephew, Lincoln Thoms, was there, cautiously cheering on his uncle.
"I'm kind of worried for everybody, but I feel like they're just all brave, so they're going to do pretty good, I think," he said.
Terri Lynn Saunders-Ryan made the trip from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to cheer for Team 29. It's the first time she's been to the race after her husband helped the team with their snowmobile.
"He was doing a little work to, I don't know, something on their ski-doo," Saunders-Ryan laughed.
"They were over at our place for a little bit in Goose Bay.… They're great guys, so we're going to cheer for them."