Rick Burke, 38, grew up in Labrador West. From a young age, he has known the feeling of a throttle under thumb and the sound of a sled accelerating.
While snowmobiling has been a staple of his life in the big land, Mr. Burke, along with his team parter Rod Tobin, have decided to take their passion for the sport one step further by participating in Cain’s Quest 2012.
The decision was a natural one for Mr. Burke, although he does admit he might have underestimated just how much work went into preparing for the event.
“We’re big fans of Cain’s Quest,” he said. “Last year I was involved in the face as a member of the support team for someone else that raced. I’ve always wanted to do it, and I needed to do it before I got too old, so we made a commitment, we spoke to our families about it and then began planning.”
Mr. Burke says that preparing for the race is more than half the battle.
“We haven’t stopped,” he said. “The people that have done it before know what to expect. They got their snowmobiles done, they’ve got all their gear bought, they got their tents, their sleeping bags, their stoves, but it’s different for us — we had to go out and buy everything brand new.”
While the race is still doesn’t begin until March 17th, Mr. Burke says that the experience of getting ready has been an eye opener already.
“Every night the two of us are together,” he said. “Whether we’re doing work on our snowmobiles or planning scouting trips. Even just the upgrades that you have to make to your sled are crazy.”
Aside from making sure everything is in working order, Mr. Burke and Mr. Tobin plan on scouting our their route pre-race.
“We have six weeks off work and we’re planning on doing most of this race before the actual event,” he said. “We’re trying to plot routes now and then once we have them plotted we’re going to go try it out to be sure we can get through.”
As for his hopes for how the race will go, Mr. Burke called it like it is.
“I’m not doing it just for the adventure,” he said. “If I wanted to do it just for the adventure I’d go on a long skidoo ride of my own. We’re spending a lot of time, effort and money on this so we want to do well with it.”
First and foremost, Mr. Burke says he wants to complete the race, and preferably in top place.
“I want to be able to go up to my two little kids and say look what Daddy did!” he said.
As for what has affected his teams ability to participate the most, Mr. Burke says it all comes down to family.
“Without your spouses support, it really wouldn’t be possible,” he said. “Everyone has family and children and I don’t know if anyone really understands the time this takes up. Without the support of the families, I can tell you right now there would be nobody riding.”