PORT SAUNDERS, NL – As the March 2 date for Cain’s Quest fast approaches, Boyd Lavers and Tyson Ryan are hard at work preparing for one of the world’s most grueling snowmobile races.
It will be the first time taking part in Cain’s Quest for both Lavers and Ryan, first cousins from Port Saunders.
They are the only team participating in the race from the Great Northern Peninsula this year.
The two men, who have been snowmobiling their entire lives, will comprise Team 2: Rough and Wild. They will be riding their 2018 Bombardier Freeride 850s as they take that lengthy, arduous journey across much of Labrador.
Lavers tells the Northern Pen he decided he wanted to compete back when the last race was held in 2016.
He was working with people at the Marine Service Centre in Port Saunders who were following a participant they knew.
As he learned about it from them, he grew more and more interested.
“I really wanted to do it then,” said Lavers.
It was he who initially brought the idea to Ryan.
According to Ryan, they’ve been preparing now for the last six to seven months and he says the last two months have been particularly hectic.
“As time goes, you think you’re almost prepared and then you starts thinking and going through stuff and then you gets in a big rush again,” he said. “The last two months have really been pretty hectic.”
In preparation, the two men have been snowmobile riding whenever they get the opportunity, sometimes going on three-day long rides.
But both of them say the longest distances they’ve travelled are nothing compared to what they’ll be doing during Cain’s Quest.
They’ve also been training with their GPSs, going over race routes, figuring out the mileage for their fuel, and have been constantly working on their machines.
Every day, they’re getting snowmobile parts come in the mail.
Preparing the machines entails putting on reinforcements, bigger bumpers, lights, and figuring out how they’re going to store all the material they need to carry.
It’s also important to simply figure out what they need to wear on such a long race with cold and harsh winter conditions.
Training also requires physical exercise, and, in the process, Lavers says if nothing else positive comes out of it, at the very least he quit smoking.
He doesn’t think he’d be able to do the race if he was still a smoker, so it provided him the extra incentive to give it up.
“I was trying to quit for years and when I made up my mind to go on Cain’s Quest, I quit,” he said.
Around the time the race starts, it’ll be a year since he put the cigarette pack aside.
Lavers was also appreciative of the help they’ve gotten from Bradley Leaman of Labrador City, on Team 82. Leaman is a veteran of the race and he’s provided advice to them where needed.
Lavers has never met Leaman but they have corresponded over the phone and by email.
“He offered to haul extra gas in for us to make the race, he’s after answering every question that I’ve had,” said Lavers. “He emailed me the actual tracks I would follow and I just put them in my GPS and I got the same tracks now he got.
“Without him, it wouldn’t be possible for us to do it.”
He wished to thank Leaman for his help.
Cain’s Quest is also a costly venture for the men. Among other costs, there’ll be expenditures for registration, accommodations, travel and fuel.
The team has received some deals from Rapid Tower Powers they say, and Northern Diesel and Hydraulics has sponsored them with $1,000.
They’re still in the process of looking for more sponsors. The team hasn’t done any fundraisers and none are in the works.
Both men are excited to take part in the big event, which begins in Labrador City on March 2.
“I can’t wait to get at it,” said Lavers.
But there are some concerns, as they are well aware it’s not going to be a walk in the park.
For Ryan, the biggest concern is whether the snowmobiles will endure the entire race.
As rookies up against 40 other teams, many which are Cain’s Quest veterans, they both know the odds are against them. But they have big aspirations nonetheless.
Ryan says their first hope is just to finish, but he thinks they’re capable of a top-three finish.
Lavers thinks they’re just as capable of winning as anyone else.
“You might have veteran racers going there but it’s only for them to hit a stump or hit a tree, beat something up and they could be out of the race,” said Ryan. “You don’t know what might happen.”
For more information on Cain's Quest you can visit http://www.cainsquest.com/event-info/