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.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wildhorse Pass

Running from Nelson to Ymir via the Wildhorse Pass is a relatively gentle 35km run and a wonderful route to give yourself some confidence for off road running. It's less than 3000' of elevation gain/loss along the way- so gentle on the legs too.
We ran parts of the Stanley Loop out to the HWY then cut through the Nordic ski trails to get to the Clearwater parking area. It's amazing how fast the grass grows in this area that we Cross Country skied on only 2 1/2 months ago

From the Clearwater parking lot it is approximately a 12km climb up to the pass- which is just below the snow line in the photo below

We crossed at least 6 icy cold creeks, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as my legs always seamed to respond with renewed vigor.

Below is the turn off at the top of the Pass- not well marked- but just as you start to descend from the saddle into the Wildhorse Valley

Lex and Liz not as used to the "Cold Water Shock Therapy"...don't worry- it will grow on you!

The trail is logging road to the pass and a nice ATV trail on the way down- all at a nice grade

A great 4 hour run to Ymir. You can even finish it off at the Ymir pub for burgers and beer...

Canada Day

Cold wet Kootenay Spring + Big snow year + it's not raining and actually sunny = Skiing Ymir bowl on Canada Day

I even dressed up in my Canada Day summer shirt for the occasion

Not a bad corn snow day for July 1st.......