Monday, November 28, 2011

When running becomes a hastle- try ski touring

As much as I miss running, there comes a time of the year in the Kootenays, where it is just not meant to be- yet the mountains are still beckoning my call. So with the trails covered over in their deep sleep for the winter, I suppose we should take that as a hint to go enjoy other gifts we're given. Anyways, if you want to work those quads over the winter with minimal strain on the knees and other joints, then a good day of ski touring is the perfect activity.
Of course some Nordic skate skiing thrown into the mix too, provides a great break on my body before another season of trail running starts. That said; the 2012 season is around the corner with lots of fun adventures to be had starting with a 50km trail race in Nicaragua in February up some volcano on a small island on Lake Nicaragua.
I suppose I better start some long logging road runs again in January?....
Of course I will be going back to the Earl Grey Pass again this summer with some unfinished business as well as the Rockwall trail and maybe even a spring R2R2R run across the Grand Canyon and back, but that might be a little much too early in the season. I also hope I can inspire more local folks to come out and enjoy some of these adventures- you'd be surprised what you can accomplish! If any runs interest you, please let me know.
Hmmmm.....nice for November!

This couloir is looking filled in and yummy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kaslo Sufferfest

The 2nd annual Sufferfest went off this past weekend, bringing in some 300 racers to participate in the biking and running events. Janis, the event coordinator, as well as the whole town of kaslo, did an amazing job of putting on this fun filled festival weekend.
Originally the 5okm trail run was to run through the high alpine and finish in Kaslo and this is what got me excited about checking it out as I love the journey so much more than the race. Although the route was changed to two 25km loops around the Kaslo area, it was quite fun keeping Lex and I entertained for many hours.
We started at 6am in the pitch black in downtown kaslo. It was a perfect 12 degrees out- even a little humid. We started the run with a 5km - 2000' steep climb out of Kaslo before leveling off onto some wonderful rolling singletrack which traversed Mt Buchanan. Before we new it we rolled through the first 25km loop in 2:35 feeling really fresh. At km 35 we definitely started to feel like our legs were now heading into virgin territory at this distance so things started to slow down for sure. By km 45, although we liked descending, the steep downhills were tough on the legs at this point. We did keep up a nice steady pace till the finish, but not with the same pep as we did on the first loop. I think next year we will be ready to handle a 50km race with much more smoothness all the way to the finish line! In the end we were both really happy with our time of 5:40 as my goal was for a sub 6hr day. Other than dealing with some leg cramping I felt great at the finish...Lex, the rock star, didn't seam to have any issues at all.
Being only my second year of running, It was great to accomplish my year end goal of a 50km trail running race. That said; I'm not really looking to race much beyond that (famous last words) but I am really excited about finding more exploratory mountain runs in that 50-80km range for fun next year as I know I am surrounded by so many of them here in the Kootenays and Rockies.
Bill finished 3rd in his age group in the men's 10km
Lex and I at the finish of the 50km race

Lex in the 50km -60+ wins again!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Smallwood Results

Thanks to everyone for coming out and having a blast on the Smallwood Trails and helping to raise over $800 for Habondia's Lending Society.

It was a perfect sunny Kootenay fall day. Everyone not only finished, but all the times were fast too!

Hope to see you all at the Sufferfest in a few weeks.....

See below for the results

12km RaceMens:

Shawn Degroot 1:10:33

Peter locke 1:17:00

Graeme Marshall 1:17:20

Kelly Robertson 1:28:04

Stanley Soukeroff 1:29:39

Sem Marsland 1:39:00

Rob Marsland 1:58:54

12km womens

Jill Winters 1:38:29

Kim Irving 1:47:15

Sarah Dobell 1:50:42

Theresa Southam 1:58:34

Shandi Millar 2:01:52

Kari Kroker 2:06:15

Angie McTague 2:06:27

Irene Brinkman 2:18:45

25km Mens

Nelson Rocha 2:39:00

Sacha Kalebas 2:46:01

Lex Baas 3:03:38

Gerry Moore 3:03:53

Greg Smith 3:17:14


Carolyn Donnelly 3:06:25

Sara Sheehan 3:07:08

Genevieve LaChance 3:12:58

Janis Neufeld 3:19:34

Liz Edwards 3:25:05

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Smallwood Mountain Run Challenge

Please click on the August posts in the Blog archive and scroll down to the Race Page for all details on the Run

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seven Summits

After some heavy procrastinating whether I should drive 5 hours out to Kootenay National Park to run the 55km Rockwall Trail, I opted out for something closer to home that I new didn't have snow on the trail from Thursday's stormy weather. So the next best thing was the Seven Summits Trail in Rossland, which is only a 50min drive to the trail head.
It was the first sign of frost this fall as it was 3 degrees, but gloriously sunny out on the trail.
I was actually looking forward to running this solo (sorry Lex- I know you wanted to run this trail, but we will!)...Because there is no water on this 37km mountain run, I didn't even bring my dog who gave me that guilty "death stare" when he saw me leave with my running gear in the morning.

As usual, I needed all of the first hour climb to settle into the run. I don't think it was the elevation bugging me as I haven't had many days over 7000' this year, I think I was just so excited, that I couldn't contain myself from going too fast to start...Well okay- the truth is- just as I was about to leave the trail head the first car with bikers showed up, and they said something like "see you in a bit down the trail" ...I thought that was rather presumptuous of them, so I said "well maybe"... damn- the race was on...
Cresting the first big climb at around 10km I was feeling- well all you trail runners know- high as a kite on endorphins, as my heart settled in, ready for the next summit up a head as seen in the above photo and happy that the bikers were no where yet in site!
The weather couldn't have been any better, maybe warming up to that perfect 18 degrees up above 7000' and not a cloud in site.

Not easy timing those self-timed photos!

I was hoping to just have to run the 30km seven summits trail to the Cascade Hwy access road, but there was no one there to hitch a ride out with, so I was stuck running the 7km Dewdney Trail down to the Paved Hwy- which is a nice 2000' descent for the bikers, but a pounder on the running legs...
The 37km run took 4:38 Hwy to Hwy...Had to walk a little while I was hitching back to the trail head, but it felt great to loosen the legs up on some flat ground...
All in all an amazing run. I think it is a better trail to run than even bike!...

Monday, August 15, 2011


The Nelson Trail Running Series Presents:

The First Annual 12km and 25km Trail Running Race

Randy Richmond checking out the new 25km course with the Valhalla's behind

Lex Baas ripping it up at Km 13 of the 25km course

When: Sunday September 11, 2011

Where: Smallwood Trails above Beasley (12km outside Nelson) see directions below

Distance: There will be a 12km and a 25km trail running option

Start Times: The 25km race will start at 9:30am (same day registration starts at 8:30am)...The 12km race will start at 10:30am (same day registration starts at 9:30am)

Cost: $30 if you register online by Sept 9th - $35 if you register the morning of the race. All race proceeds will go to the Habondia's Community WISH project. See

Includes: One aid station at the top of the big climb at the 4.7km mark of the 12km race. Two aid stations on the 25km race- one at 6km and one at 15.5km. We will have free BBQ hamburgers (Veggie too) at the finish. Note: All racers doing the 25km route will be required to carry a minimum of 1.5 litres of water. All Aid stations will have water or electrolytes and fruit.

Directions to Start/Finish: From Nelson, drive west approx 12 km on HWY 3A towards Castlegar...Turn right onto Beasley Rd and drive 200 metres to the first intersection... Turn right onto the gravel road called Queen Victoria Rd (There is a sign, but it may be hard to not turn extreme right onto Nygaard Rd !)...Zero your speedometer here...Drive up Queen Victoria Rd and at approx 0.8km it turns into Smallwood Creek FSR...At 2.8km stay Right on same road...At 4.4km where the road crosses creek is the race Start/Finish.
From Castlegar, take the second exit for Beasely Rd off of HWY 3a (approx 2km past the first exit) and then follow the above directions

Car pool will be available leaving from Oso Negro Coffee House: 8:30AM for the 25km, 9:30 for the 12km. Please send us an e-mail if you are interested and we can help set you up.

Click here for Garmin Route Info on 25km Course:

Click here for Garmin Route Info on 12km Course:

If you go to the "Details" screen on the Garmin-Connect link above you can save the Google Earth kml file onto your desktop then open it in Google Earth and tip the earth to really see the climbs and descents. on the temporary places sidebar turn off the laps etc. to de-clutter the screen. Click on the "play tour" for a bidseye flyover of the course.

Route description For 12km Course:
Run up Smallwood Creek FSR for 1.3km and enter the Smallwood trails at the switchback in the road... After 20 meters up this trail, turn left onto the posted "Crow's Nest" DOWN the Crow's Nest trail for 1.2km before you turn uphill for a 2.1km climb...You'll come out on a logging road at the Aid station (fill up here as there is no more water/food until the finish)...Cross the road and head right back into the trail called "Antler"...Antler will wind its way with small ups and downs 2km until you get to a logging road...Cross the road and head back into the trail called "Smallwood"...The trail climbs for 2km until you hit the junction between the trails "Smallwood" and "Bigwood" ...GO LEFT onto the "Bigwood" trail (there are signs posted on the trees at this junction!)...Run down the 2.2km "Bigwood" trail all the way to the logging road...turn left and run UP the road 1.2km to the finish.
The 12km course is 90% trail, 10% logging road...Approx finish times 1:40-3:00 hours

Route Description for the 25km Course:
Run Up Smallwood Creek FSR for 1.3km and enter the Smallwood Trails at the switchback in the road...The trail becomes "Sweet Sally"...Continue straight up Sweet Sally for the 3km grunter climb until you hit the logging road...turn left and continue up the logging road for 1.2km to the first aid station at 5.7km into the race (please fill up here!!! as there is no water food for 10km)...Turn left off the road at the aid station into the trail "Ungulate" (soon to be renamed!)...The next 4.7 km of trail rolls up and down passing a small lake and then amazing views of the Valhala's...the trail then starts the main descent 5.2km down hill until you come out on a logging road (the last 20 metres of the trail before the road is left overgrown on purpose to hide the trail entrance from the ATV'ers...Continue down the logging road for 0.7km until you hit the 2nd aid station...(fill up here as there is no more water/food for 9km at the finish)...From the Aid station go into the trail called "Antler"...For the next 2km the trail rolls up and down until you come out on a logging road...Cross the logging road and go right back into the trail called "Smallwood"...The trail climbs for 2km until you hit the junction between the trails "Smallwood" and "Bigwood" ...GO LEFT onto the "Bigwood" Trail (there are signs posted on the trees at this junction) down the Bigwood trail for 2.2km all the way to the logging road...Turn left and go UP the logging road for 1.2km to the finish!
The 25km course is 85% trail and 15% logging road...Approx finish times are 2:30-4:30 hours...Please note the 25km route is more exposed and you should be equipped appropriately- Rain jacket, extra water/food etc...

SMALLWOD TRAILS: The Smallwood trail network is a Vision by Pat Wray and John Krebbs, former heads of the Nelson Cycling Association. A lot of time and dedication goes into making these trails happen for all of us to enjoy, so please give them a big thanks if you ever run into them or better yet volunteer for the many trail work party days through out the year...

Other Races: Being three weeks prior to the Kaslo Sufferfest this makes for a perfect training day!

For any other inquiries please email:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Smallwood Trail Race Update

The Race will be on September 11th as this seems to be a better day than the Labour Day weekend for some people...I will run the Smallwood route this Saturday instead of 7summits to get the distances and elevation profile out to you. If anyone wants to "explore" these trails Saturday- let me know...It will be a slower fun pace, well because Bill is coming :) "(what the hell Richmond, I think its time for a paddle to work with me!!! I will be running the short loop so I can GPS it...Bill)" , so all are welcome. We will meet at Oso at 8am...Randy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smallwood Trail Running Race

It seams as though everything is a little late happening this year, but we've finally got our act together to put on a great trail race September 4th at the Smallwood Trails which are just outside Nelson. There will be two distances for the runs- one 12km and one 22km- approx...I will post more information and get a poster out in the next week- so check back.
I figure this will be a great training day for those who are signed up for the Awesome Kaslo Sufferfest 4 weeks later.
The trails will guarantee to keep you entertained and challenged as this whole area is off the beaten track with beautiful views of the Valhalla's on the 22km course.
All proceeds will be donated to the very worthy Circle of Habondia Lending Society. For more info see:

On a different note; I am running the 7 summits trail in Rossland this Saturday, so if anyone is interested, let me know....Randy

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kokanee Glacier Park

I didn't think I'd have to wait until August 9th to finally get a run in up at Kokanee Glacier, but the snow has finally melted and it is as beautiful as ever up there. Although the road up there kind of sucks as it seams to deteriorate more and more every year, it is still worth the trip as you never get tired of the terrain and scenery. My legs only had one slow speed in them as the trip to Slocan Chief Cabin and back took 2:30. I was definitely still tired from the Earl Grey Pass. It was great to just take in all the "grandiose" of it all and even stop to talk to the many hikers on the way up.

The nicest part of this run is that I can get a great 2 1/2 hour high alpine run in, swim in a beautiful lake at the end and still slip into work before 10am!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Running the Earl Grey Pass

Wow I don't really know where to start with this story. All I can say is; there are "Fun Adventures", and then there are "Tough but rewarding Adventures", and then there are "White Light Adventures"! This was the name of my Adventure racing team that I had through 12 glorious years of adventure racing from 1995-2007. The name was derived from trips that we've all encountered from time to time where the phrases "Shit Happens" or "And then it all fell a part" or in last weekend's case "It was all going so great"...
The Earl Grey Pass is a 63km trail that crosses the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy from Argenta in the West Kootenay's to 20km outside Panorama resort in the East Kootenay's. I knew it wasn't going to be a "quick" 63km, as the Earl Grey Pass Trail is deemed a wilderness trail, so I recruited my best adventure buddy Patrick from the coast who I was confident could handle anything I could throw at him.
We left the trail head in Argenta at 2:47am figuring that this was going to be a 17-20 hour day and not wanting to do too much in the dark at the tail end of the run. The first 2-3 hours of the run in the dark went by in a flash as we crossed a ragging Hamill Creek by cable car several times. It was actually a little daunting pulling yourself across the river in the pitch black while it raged below you by only a few feet.
The next 2 hours we started to cross many slide paths where the trail became non-existent in the 6-12 foot high walls of Slide Alder, Devils Club and an assortment of other shin ripping vegetation.
Then the trail became non-existent as this years blow down was an exceptional mess...
Couple that with a BC Parks map that I got online where it shows the trail on the wrong side of the river and that it had been rerouted several years back! Although we didn't know that you no longer have to cross the creek anymore, we found creative, but very dangerous ways of crossing it twice that we never had too...Actually 4 times, because we came back the same way :(
To make a long story short, we were forced to make the tough, but smart decision to turn back at 40km into the route because of the incredible amount of blow down. Not knowing how long it would take to reach the pass with no trail and the thought of getting caugh out up high where it was much colder at night made this decision painful, but easy.

One of the many cable car crossings

At 17 hours into the run, although 5 hours of that were spent at a snails pace bushwhacking, we eventually were forced to stop as it got dark as we were both exhausted and knew that finding the trail in the dark was just too much energy. Oh and I failed to mention we were essentially out of food with only a few things left to eat, but were needed for the rest of the run out. I was happy I threw a lighter into my pack as well as an emergency blanket which was graciously supplied by my friend Chris' mother- Thanks Barb!!! ...She actually sent it to me after hearing from her son about an adventure last summer that I froze in the mountains after going too light on a three day trip with only a down jacket, but no sleeping bag...

Although we only shared one bagel between the two of us for dinner, lying by the fire wrapped up in Pine bows in my foil blanket for 5 hours until day break was quite pleasant.

A lot of the trails were great running though

So in a nut shell, We ran 40km in, then 40km out back to the trail head, which is in the middle of nowhere, then another 15km to the HWY to hitch a ride back to Nelson...In total 95km of running and bush whacking.

The Bad:

  1. Not worth doing the trail until they clear it out again

  2. Using the wrong BC Parks map

  3. Must bring a bigger reserve of food next time

  4. Need some shin protectors

The good:

  1. Made amazing time to the back of the valley in 8 1/2 hours and were on a pace to finish in under 15hours

  2. Beautiful remote terrain

  3. Was finally able to put those boy scout survival skills to use

  4. Had a great running buddy who never complained when the shit hit the fan

  5. Looking forward to trying this unfinished business again next year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Catching up with RTNX race in the Valhalla's

Once in a while you need to blow a day off work, so I thought I'd head off into the Valhalla's to catch up with some of the teams doing the RTNX 7 day adventure race. I figured since I helped design the course, I'd better get out to see how the teams were managing the big traverse through the heart of the Valhalla range from Beatrice lake to Ice Creek Lodge to Gwillim Lakes through Drinnon Pass etc...
Neo and I had a blast crossing creeks and very shortly into the route hitting the snow line.

I was lucky enough to run into the one Kootenay team doing the race- The Kootenay Kaos. For 3 of them it was their first adventure race and being an expedition style race, meaning non stop for 7 days, they had a monumental goal to take on. They had just finished the "Crux" of the race and could smell the finish line 48 hours or so away. In great spirits and great navigation, they seamed to be having an amazing adventure. I am super proud how they are moving through this amazingly challenging course.

Climbing the knife ridge of the Lucifer Pass

Team Kootenay Kaos heading down from Gwillim Lakes through Drinnon Pass.

Hard to believe it's almost August !
Looking down Lucifer Pass north towards Evans lake

A great run/hike that I highly recommend for it's dramatic beauty. Probably the 3rd week of August with the snow gone and the wild flowers out would be the best time...

...Well I hope the weather holds as I am running the Earl Grey Pass this weekend with a friend from Vancouver. I've been looking forward to this run all year so I am now filled with nervous excitement being my first real "adventure" run.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Mystery Traverse

As a part of the Raid The North Extreme, a 5-7 day adventure race being held in the Kootenay's this year, I was out checking some of the route that will form part of the race. The race is all back country using map and compass only and is comprised of trekking, Mt. biking, canoeing and ropes. Teams of 4 are given coordinates from point A to B on a topo map and you find your way there, travelling 18-22 hours a day until you complete the 400km-500km course!
Because the course is not reveled until the day before the race, to avoid teams from checking out the route, I can't disclose the location for another week until the race starts. What I can say though, they are up for quite a reward as some of these valley's are remote and pristine, littered with old growth cedars, snow capped peaks, and no logging or mining roads. That said; no reward is handed to you on a silver platter, as they must perservere through long sections of mind f**king bush whacking to eventually be rewarded with mind blowing vista's!!
I lost count how many rivers/creeks we had to cross. This was the only one we didn't have to get wet on.
The cedar forest was amazing although littered with devils Claw
The Alder was relentless, many times down to a crawl on our hands and Knees. There were sections that took us 2 hours just to go one km.
We would break through the Alder onto these little rock islands of mental reprieve for 30 seconds only to put our heads down, literally, and go right back in.
It's amazing how much snow is still up there, although we carried snow shoes, running shoes seamed just fine.
It took my friend Chris and I 12 hours going hard to complete this section through the mountains, which forms only a small portion of the race course.
For you trail runners out there, getting out into the mountains on a big off trail day of hiking, I find does wonders for your mental strength and physical endurance, without being hard on your body. Definitely helps get you ready for those bigger running objectives/races and should be added to your training.