A trail race one week after getting back from vacation is a great idea, right? Of course! Especially since it’s a Gary Robbins race! It was time for my first ever Coast Mountain Trail Series race, Cap Crusher. I did make a smart decision by choosing the shorter distance. My goal was just to finish without injuring myself since I spent two weeks eating my way through different Philippine islands prior to the race.
Cap Crusher is the 2nd out of 6 races that Coast Mountain Trail Series hosts. It’s held at Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver and explores the beautiful trails around Capilano Canyon. The terrain is mostly gravel with very few technical sections. There are 2 distances: 12k (1 loop) and 24k (2 loops).
What’s great about the 24k is that you go backwards on the same course, which is a completely different experience. They call it a “washing machine” loop. It’s also a bit of a mind game since the halfway mark is AT the finish line. While people are finishing their 12k race, you still have to start your second loop. The course is undulating (hence the name, Cap Crusher). It may not be a technical course but it’s not easy. Given that Gary Robbins is the Race Director, that should be your first clue 😛
How Did I Do?
Cap Crusher fell on St. Patrick’s Day so everybody wore their finest green gear. It was also CMTS’s 6th birthday (Happy birthday). I was happy to see some friends at the start line too.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t rusty. It was tough but fun and I was so glad to be out there with so many inspiring people. My goal was to finish in 1:45. I did feel easily fatigued and walked most of the uphills. There were some long climbs which were brutal. The photo below beautifully captures my discomfort with this short patch of roots. I felt like I lost agility and trust in my legs. Luckily, there were no faceplants that day.
Fellow trail runner and Knee Knackering friend Barb was also out on the Capilano trails doing hill repeats. It was a treat seeing her twice on course. It was a nice little distraction from all the pain I was experiencing.
Towards the end, I was feeling confident that I was going to crush my goal… until I realized I had another climb to do. The last climb was STEEP and something I didn’t expect so close to the finish. I finally made it across the dam and I could feel my calves starting to seize up. I said NO! No seizing at the last 200 metres and definitely not in front of Gary. In the end, all that hard work paid off and I made it within 20 seconds of my goal. I totally deserved the finish line hug from Gary and I managed to wish him luck at this year’s Barkley Marathons.
Organization – This event was very well-organized from the detailed website to package pickup on race day and the flagging. If you get lost, you’re definitely not paying any attention. There are so many flags, signs and course marshals to direct you to the right way. A+++++++
Course – A nice little tour of Capilano Regional Park with water views and lots of beautiful trees. Lots of people come here to walk their dogs so that’s another thing we had to look out for. Share the path! The route is mostly gravel with very few technical sections. There is a steep climb at the end of the 12k route, which means that you’d be going down it if you’re doing the 24k. If you’re not comfortable with downhill it might be a little intimidating (but it’s doable).
Swag – There wasn’t too much. I saw people holding tote bags and there were a few flyers in there and coupons for beer. I decided not to grab one. They had green cupcakes at the finish as well as other food and drink. The aid stations were great and manned by super friendly and enthusiastic volunteers.
Would I Do It Again? – Yes! I wouldn’t mind trying the 24k next year or just going for it on the 12k to see how much better I can do.
Thank you to CMTS for a great race! I look forward to my next one, whichever one that may be. I haven’t decided yet 😛 Have you run one of their races before? What was your favourite? Leave a note in the comments below!