An awesome roadtrip to Revelstoke, BC this past weekend to race in the Trailstoke 60km Ultra, “A true mountain race”. And by that they meant a buttload of steep climbing and descending, off-trail travel above treeline and getting hammered by rain and wind all the while. It seems the course was modified at the last minute, maybe to reduce the amount of running at higher elevation because it was so stormy. In the end, I pushed myself incredibly hard, spent very little time at aid stations and covered — whatever the distance ultimately was — much faster than expected. I came in 19th place, 15th in my division, learnt a lot about racing, and was wholly inspired by race organizers, volunteers and racers this weekend.
While the course was definitely modified last-minute, it also seems mine and others’ GPS’ didn’t record vertical or horizontal distances entirely accurately. We certainly did NOT climb 7000m during the event, however that’s almost exactly twice the amount we did climb… You can also see the elevation profile I recorded is on a combination of caffeine and cocaine. Need to recalibrate this thing.
That’s right, we joined the Taco Club… Don’t be jealous. Okay, you can be jealous, they were pretty good tacos.
Scoping out the Trailstoke course prior to the prerace meeting at Revelation Lodge at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Looking across the valley on the evening before the race. Due to several wildfires burning in western Canada, the views from Banff to the Kootenays have been quite limited for the past week or so. We registered for Trailstoke expecting some of the finest alpine scenery in a Canadian trail race but knew driving to Revy that wouldn’t be the case this weekend. Rather than hazy views and thirty-degree temperatures, we were pummeled by rain and wind during the race, leaving the skies clear and smoke-free when we were all done.
Runners lining up for a 6am start to Trailstoke: STOKED!
So glad I was around at the finish line to catch Jordan finish his first ultramarathon (a gruelling one at that) in 7h22m with a smile on his face. Heck yeah!
Top-notch Canadian ultramarathoner Adam Campbell asks Jordan what motivated him to come run his first ultra. An awesome reply: “Mmm… Foolishness?”
Rain during the race washed the smoke from the skies leaving clear views when we were finally finished. Obligatory wildflower pic for my girlfriend, Tami.
Our balling crib for the weekend, Sutton Place Hotel at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, minutes away from the race start. Made everything really convenient. And balling, if I didn’t already mention that…
Mount Sir Donald, an epic-looking mountain in Rogers Pass unrelated to this trip except that I photographed it out the car window while we were driving home… So here ya go.
My trusty New Balance MT00V2’s, caked with mud after a weekend of dusty service roads, swamps, miniature creek crossings and churning through heaps of scree and loose shale. Onto the the next adventure! say these little size-7 runners.
Picture from the Revelstoke Times Review of myself and the girl I ran with through most of the race, first-place female soloist Anne-Marie Madden. Here we are ascending through the mist and rain and about to top-out on the ridge section of the race. Photo by Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Times Review.
Post-race glow… This picture isn’t really indicative of how I looked or felt during the race. This picture was taken after a shower, a change of clothes… and a couple other things intended to help me recover Photo by race photographer Rob Shaer.
Racing through the “swamp”, trying not to get my shoes sucked off my feet.
Well, I didn’t win the race; maybe I can beat these kids in a planking competition… Nope.
If anything could prepare my eyes for the scenery I’ll see running around Mont Blanc in The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc CCC next month, it might be this: A 60km out-and-back tour of Mount Robson to peep the Rockies’ tallest peak firsthand.
What was intended to be an “analogue run” two weeks prior to Trailstoke 60K Ultra in Revelstoke turned into a glorious day of warm sun and cool breeze; more roaring waterfalls than I can count on one hand; neon blue tarns with creaking glaciers flowing into them; buttery subalpine singletrack; chossy, exposed ledge running and sprinting up lateral moraines like some dude in a North Face ad; a little hands-on-knees grunting; about three litres of unfiltered mountain water and a near-miss with momma bear and cub. Just another day running around in the Rockies half-clothed 🙂
0:31 Kinney Lake
2:45 Berg Lake
5:01 Snowbird Pass
7:57 Berg Lake
9:38 Kinney Lake
10:23 Berg Lake Trailhead
59.85km | 2400m vertical | 10.5 hrs
Peep the GPS data for this trip here.
Trail running opens the doors to seeing more in less amount of time; what is generally treated as a two- or three-day backpacking trip then becomes a daytrip for the long-distance trail runner.
Buttery-smooth packed-stone trail dropping down from Land Of A Million Waterfalls (my own name for it) to the river flats near Berg Lake.
Berg Lake and the Rockies’ tallest mountain, Mount Robson (3954m), towering two vertical kilometres over the tarn.
Standing above Snowbird Pass (2719m) on the BC-Alberta border, looking down on the NE face of Mount Robson and the valley I just ascended. I am now 30km from my vehicle and feeling fairly fresh, but trying to avoid thinking about the next 30km I need to travel to get home…
View of Mount Robson and Whitehorn from my little perch above Snowbird Pass.
Looking down to the Coleman Glacier on the east side of Snowbird Pass. The pass and ridge I ascended to get here can be vaguely seen on left.
Looking down to Mount Robson’s huge north glacier during my descent from Snowbird Pass.
Back to the soft, cruisy trails of the Berg Lake area which my legs appreciated for the last 20km back to the car. Awesome trails and awesome scenery!