Saturday 4 August 2018

Is the Journey Better than the Destination?

Is the journey better than the destination? That's what I've been asking myself over July, but still can't answer the question until I get to the destination, and right now that's a big if.

What I can answer is that the journey has been amazing, it all started in July on Friday the 13th. I was on the road at 5:30 in the morning, heading towards Whistler, with the wind flowing over my bald head.

The mission was to finally bag Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Park. 

The pictures don't really capture the beauty, it's total worth your time to get up there. By the end of the day I was bagged and had to get some sleep because I was off to Nanaimo, the next day.

One week later, I started my weekend off by being on the road by 5:30 again and was heading into Manning this time. The plan was to bag Frosty on Friday, spend the night in my car and bag Outram on Saturday. 


One week later, in a similar fashion, I was on the road again towards Coquihalla to bag Flatiron & Needle. For those of you that haven't done the Needle, it's scary in some parts. 

The journey was definitely very fun, life 2000 metres above sea level is nice. I encourage all of you to spend more time where the air is thinner. 

Monday 2 July 2018

Quinquennial Vancouver 100

Premeditated suffering is highly addictive, I can not remember when and where I heard that but it resonated with me.

This year I had some doubts about my ability, I was much fatter and haven't been covering a lot of weekly kms, on the plus side I still had a decent about of weekly elevation gain. The real difference was the I have been more consistence.

I plotted my Vancouver 100 as 30 hours of suffering, picked up 2 amazing pacers and the plan I hatched could not have gone better.

I picked up Nancy from the Evo location on Dollarton and we headed into Deep Cove to start our day. We both had ambitious plans for the day. By the time we parked and walked over to the starting fire hydrant, it was about 4:30 AM and the sun was just breaking over the horizon. Nancy captured our picture for the start and we were off. We stuck together for the first 4kms before Nancy took off and I was left on my own.

Look the the happy faces at 4:30AM
I conserved energy throughout the day, the plan was to eat as much as possible during the first 50k, although I had a lot of food on me, I got myself some food from Starbucks at Grouse and 2 slices of pizza from the place that sells bubble tea near Cleveland Dam. If you are wondering about the pizza, I'd advise against it.

I heard that Sammy was going to be starting later in the day and was wondering when I would finally see him, I didn't have to wait long. As I was getting to the cross country area at Hollyburn I hear someone behind me and it was Sammy, going for 200k. Sammy started about 4 hours after me and already caught up to me. That's the difference between a professional vs amateur.

I had a lot going for me at this time, I used Sammy to push myself a bit and kept him in my sights all the way to the turn off towards the parking lot. This is where I started to think about the footlong that Eileen was picking up for me, although I still had to get to Nelson Creek to get it.

The snow definitely slowed me down this year, I struggled to get any speed until I got past the boulder field just below Eagle Bluffs. It was during this time that I ran into Nancy who was looking good and ready to tackle the return leg with Stephanie. It was a short time afterwards that I saw Sammy again.

By the time I got to Nelson Creek, fueled up and started to head back, almost 15 hours had passed. I was now just over half way and heading back with the infamous climb back up to Black Mountain ahead of me.

50k done, fueling up before heading back
Excited Eileen, helped for the long climb up to Black Mountain
I'm in the picture, just look to the right, green shorts
I think I was still smiling :)
Yes that is the actual trail heading up
Some might of thought it was a cold evening but not me, keeping up with Eileen turned out to be a blessing and a curse all in one. She's was like a little mountain goat getting us up to Eagle Bluffs and I did everything I could to keep up.

One of us needed to catch his breath
The beautiful evening view from Eagle Bluffs
We stopped off at the lodge to get some more food in us and for me to add some layers for the downhill before heading back outside to get to Cleveland Dam as quickly as possible. Eileen did an amazing job pacing me that we were back at Grouse by about 3AM and waiting for my buddy Dustin to show up.

His wife Bayly was nice enough to grab me Quizno's so I stocked with food again for the suffer-fest with Dustin.

I knew the next 7ish kms would not be the fastest but I kept trekking along, even Dustin was is good spirits during this time. As we were getting closer to Mountain Hwy, the day light started to hit us and shortly after I had an emergency that I needed to take care of as quickly as possible, I had to make a bathroom break to take care of some stomach issues.

After using the facilities at LSCR, I started looking at the time, I had under 4 hours to get by ass back to Deep Cove to break 30 hours and the way I was moving it didn't look possible.

Making my way down Lynn Canyon, I ran into the other Vancouver 100 runners and everyone provided much needed encouragement.

From this point on it was a lot of self talk to get me moving as fast as possible. With Dustin just quietly pushing the pace where he could. By the time we got to the bottom of Seymour grind things were starting to look good for me, I made it up the climb without falling over and passing out and from here it was all downhill to the finish line.

Having covered the the Baden Powell from east to west and back, I made it back to the fire hydrant in 29 hours and 11 minutes, a personal best.

That fire hydrant gets a lot of action
Some of my highlights from this Vancouver 100, first and foremost breaking the 30 hour barrier. Getting to use a luxury bathroom 3 times, once at Lynn headwaters, once at Cleveland Dam and then once at LSCR. Getting to start and run with Nancy. And the satisfaction of seeing all the other Van100 runners in Lynn Canyon knowing that I was almost done while they all still had a long way to go. And of course having 2 wonderful pacers to motivate me.

Huge thanks to Craig for hosting once again an amazing event, and looking forward to completing this beast again.