Lee White is going to embark on a journey that will see him brave the elements of one the most extreme winter endurance snowmobile races in the world.
White, a Stephenville native who has been teaching in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for the past seven years, will join forces with Stephenville’s Guy Styles as Team 49 for the 2018 Cain’s
Quest — an estimated 3,200-kilometre snowmobile race throughout Labrador, beginning on March 2 with the race expected to finish six days later.
White has volunteered for the race in the past, but he’s never competed, so it will be an interesting journey with two rookies trying to ride with the big guns.
Crossing the finish line is all that matters to them. They would love to be the first rookie team to cross the finish line, because that would be a great feather in their cap given the quality of the experienced riders standing in their way.
White doesn’t want the race to beat him. If the machine breaks down or wipes out after hitting rocks, or any other similar scenario, then that’s something he would learn to live with, but he doesn’t want the experience to be cut short because he wasn’t prepared for the challenge.
“My biggest fear is just being too worn out one morning to put on my boots,” White said.
He has been able to get in a few rides and was working on his physical condition to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws their way, but he’s finding himself having to work extra hard on his conditioning after coming down with pneumonia on New Year’s Day.
He’s always lived his life pushing the limit so he’s excited about competing in his first Cain’s Quest.
“I’ve always enjoyed doing things that most people couldn’t or wouldn’t do,” he said. “If anybody can do it then to me it’s no fun, and I know that Cain’s Quest is definitely something that not anybody can do so it will definitely push our limits there’s no doubt about that.”
The duo spent a lot of time riding snowmobile trails when they were growing up together in Stephenville. Two years ago, after the last Cain’s Quest was in the books, White invited Styles to check out the southern section of the race and then, last March, they travelled the northern section.
They decided then that they would go for it in 2018.
Only team members are allowed to work on the sleds so the plan is to have Styles serve as the technician to ensure they have a reliable machine and White will be the navigator because of his familiarity with the area.
Styles believes he has all the bases covered, but he knows the weather can change like the flick of a switch so they will have to be ready for any kind of weather — cold temperatures, slush and open water conditions some of the things he won’t be surprised to run into along the way.
But, he also recognizes that there is so much work to do to get prepared. There is a lot of work involved in getting the sleds ready and making sure they have a checklist of the must-haves for the ride.
“The biggest challenge is getting to the start line, is what they always say,” Styles said.
It’s an exciting time for the two. They believe they can handle it.
They plan on seeing the finish line.