Let’s change things up a bit and talk about trail running, shall we? I realize that the 5 Peaks trail races were months ago but better late than never right? Since I apparently only wrote about the first trail race I did, let me do an abridged version of my Cypress, Whistler and Buntzen Lake experiences.
The bottom line… after the Seymour race, we were hooked. So we both signed up for Cypress and Whistler and then I decided to spring for the Grand Finale at Buntzen Lake. Cuski couldn’t because he had a race the following day so he just cheered me on 🙂 Anyway, here’s how it all went.
Cypress was not as technical as Seymour and luckily it wasn’t as wet either. It was still cool and damp but it wasn’t raining, which was AWESOME. I found the second climb pretty challenging but the most difficult part for me was going down the last hill… it was long, gradual, and with lots of loose rocks.
My inexperience and cautiousness didn’t help either so it took me a while to get down (baby steps) meanwhile other people were just flying down the mountain. I had to improve this technique for sure. I just need to get over losing my balance and falling. Easier said than done.
It was fun, loved it… Cuski hung around with me. He was urging me to sprint the last few hundred meters and suddenly I noticed my shoelace was untied. Rather than risk tripping on it (and downhill) I stopped to tie it. He hasn’t let me live that down ever since.
Whistler was next and it promised the best views! Let me tell you that it didn’t disappoint. Instead of staying overnight we just drove up there early in the morning. It worked out. We had breakfast at the top and off we went. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining but it stayed cool.
So what did we see? Blue skies, single track, mountains, trees, everything! It was amazing. Looking around at all the beautiful scenery was a nice distraction to the tough course ahead. I mean look at this… I would go back just to run this (not for a race).
The Sport racers had only one major mountain to climb (thank goodness) but it was still the toughest of the series. It really didn’t seem to end… but I do remember I was nursing a sore hamstring as well so that probably didn’t help either. It wasn’t a long course, about 6 and a half km but a lot of that was climbing lol. Ouch, my legs are hurting just thinking about it. My favourite was running single track and seeing how open everything was. The last two races were mostly in the trees but being out in such a wide open natural space was such a thrill.
After the race we treated ourselves to a nice afternoon at Scandinave Spa. Needless to say we took many many much needed naps lol!
Grand Finale (Buntzen Lake)
I’ve been wanting to run Buntzen for a while… just for fun. Last time I went there, it was the day after the big storm in 2015 and they closed the trails due to downed trees. So when I found out that the last 5 Peaks trail race is there, I jumped at the chance to do it. It is the longest trail race I’ve done so far and it’s also the first on my own. I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, can’t be as hilly as the other mountain races. While that is true, there were still some sections that had steep uphill climbs. The trail was compact and mostly non-technical. My strategy was to run the flats and downhills and walk the uphills (or try to run as many uphills as I could). I think it worked. I paced myself with some women who were going a comfortable pace but later on I managed to pass them.
There were lots to see: the lake obviously, bridges, narrow paths, wide paths, pretty straightforward stuff. I’d go back and do this trail again, I had a great time. Too bad it’s just way out in the boonies. The thing is, I used to live not to far from here. Too bad I wasn’t into running then. I would’ve really made good use of this trail. Apparently some runners doing the Enduro course saw a bear! I’m just so glad I didn’t see one because I don’t know what I would’ve done. But I emerged unscathed and with this awesome photo by Rob Shaer.
I can’t even tell you which race was my favourite because each race has its own personality. All I can say is that I can’t wait until next season… with Cuski in tow… 😛 Thanks for a great series 5 Peaks! Sign up for the 2017 races now!