July 6, 2022

Race Recap: 5 Peaks Alice Lake 2017

The 2017 5 Peaks trail running series has officially started and Cuski and I were there. Here’s how 5 Peaks Alice Lake went.

Registration, Shuttle and Swag

5 Peaks Alice Lake sold out pretty quickly. The race director was very clear with communication, especially since there is limited parking with strict enforcement at Alice Lake Provincial Park. It was great that they opened up extra spots in the race if you were willing to buy a round-trip bus ticket ($25/person) to shuttle you to and from the venue. That’s what we did and we’re glad we did it that way. It was so convenient. The shuttle left Burrard Skytrain Station at 6:15-ish and arrived at Alice Lake by 7:30. Though we had to wait an hour and a half before racing, I would still rather do this over driving. The bus left promptly after noon and we headed back home.

5 Peaks Alice Lake has nice swag as usual. This race gave out gloves and for the first time (that I know of), they made you work for it. We got the gloves after we crossed the finish line. They had some merchandise for sale too, including a new 5 Peaks BUFF® that I was eyeing. Bring cash though, I will definitely do that at their next event.

Only the top overall finishers & top in each age group will receive these gorgeous ceramic medals.

The Course

The 5 Peaks Alice Lake course starts flat around Alice Lake and you eventually venture out into the parking lot. Wave goodbye to the campers and soon you’re in the first trail. The first 4 km are an undulating but gradual climb. Soon enough you’ll be going down a long technical trail called Credit Line, dubbed one of the premier descents in Squamish. It ends with about a mile of climbing up and once you hit pavement, the finish line is just a couple hundred meters away. I didn’t get to take many photos of the course as I had other concerns. It was well-marked though and had course marshals along the way to ensure you’re going the right way.

Photo by Rob Shaer Photography

Get great photos & give back!

I should also mention that 5 Peaks photographer Rob Shaer is generously donating 50% of this season’s net photo sales to local Search and Rescue groups. If you needed another great reason to buy his photos (other than how amazing they are), this is your chance to give back. You can find Rob’s 5 Peaks Alice Lake gallery here.

Photo by Rob Shaer Photography

How Did I Do?

The first half of the 5 Peaks Alice Lake course was great, no problems. It was relatively easy and rolling… unfortunately that included rolling both my ankles. Thankfully I don’t think I damaged my bad ankle further but it did add to the clusterf*ck that this race had become for me. Just to be clear, this is NOT a knock on the course. I appreciated the beauty & challenge of the course, but I just had other problems…

I suck at technical descents.

This subheading is an understatement. I’m AWFUL at technical, steep descents. This is where I lost the most time. While everyone else was having a blast descending Credit Line, it was probably one of the most stressed I’d ever been. I didn’t know about Credit Line when I signed up. Turns out, it was steep, people fly down it & there have been nasty spills. I got worried instantly and started researching the descent. Upon watching some YouTube videos, I saw that there were at least 3 steeper sections on the trail. I was prepared for that, at least. I was slow, I had a little panic attack, so many people passed me, and I just kept going. The faster I got out of there, the better I’d feel. Once I reached the last climb, I became happy and relieved that I didn’t break anything. I have to work on my fears and need to gain some confidence for the next race.

To tell you the truth, this made me question if I should even do the Squamish 50 23k race at all. I’m determined to improve by going on more trail runs and attending some clinics. I guess we’ll see closer to August if I’m confident enough in my ability. After all, I don’t want to come out of Squamish injured when I have Berlin just a month later.

Photo by Rob Shaer Photography

Final Verdict

5 Peaks delivers a great race with a great course, excellent volunteers (thank you), useful swag, and just an overall amazing vibe. It brings together a community of supportive, yet competitive runners. 5 Peaks Alice Lake is well-run with great communication. There was a risk of course changes due to snow and ice but they informed us ahead of time. They had a great idea with the shuttle service. Everyone had a great time. Even I, during the toughest parts of the race, was still persevering with some sort of smile lol. I would try this course again but I do warn newbie runners that Credit Line is steep and you should be careful if you’re not built like a mountain goat (like me). It says a lot when I still recommend this race even though I found half of it scary LOL.

What was your most difficult experience during a race? Can you relate to my fear? I’d LOVE to hear from you.

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