Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 Golden Ultra (BC) Race Report

2015 Golden BC Race Report - From the Ontario Perspective.

My journey to Golden BC started in January when I applied for a sponsorship spot! I was over the moon to get word on February 4th that I was picked to attend the 2015, inaugural year of the Golden Ultra. From the get go, I just loved the energy Race Director Magi Scallion and the ultra team had.  I can’t even imaging all of the hours that went into prepping and planning this 3 day  event.  It surely was evident on the weekend.  The races, volunteers, photographers, locals, visitors, and their dogs were so nice and inviting. It was hard to leave! Perhaps a 6 day option is in order. ;)

Before I go on any further, I have this to say:

To my dear friend Alan Lam:  Alan, you took care of me in Wyoming in my debut 100 mile race! You outdid yourself once again with your generosity, hospitality and kindness!  THANK YOU FOR ABSOLUTELY everything you did for me, Kat and Kendra.  You truly outdid yourself.  Now, let’s get you to Ontario for a trip!  I’ll show you our mole hills! ;p   PS: Great pictures too!  

Day 1- Blood   1000m gain - 5km - 4pm start

This graph is so deceiving.  
Doesn’t it look like a gentle climb up? I wasn’t! I sure was glad to have my poles!

This race was my first go at a Vertical Mile Challenge!  VMs are big in Europe and I surely was excited to find out was the hype is all about!  

CHALLENGE is surely the right word to describe it.  We started at the  bottom of the gondola and “ran” straight up.  I’m pretty sure I ran less than 1 minute in this whole race!   It’s absolutely impressive to see how fast peoples legs can bring them up such a steep slope.  

My finishing time was 1:06:44 - which was good for 3rd in the overall female standings.  Total calf burner!  Loved it!!

We caped up the night with awards, a mandatory meeting and a delicious meal at Kicking Horse Resort!

Day 2- Sweat - 2500m elevation gain - 57km - 930 am start


The start of this race was in the village.  Energy was in the air; but nerves and fear was also felt.  Perhaps it was just how I was feeling!  I love and respect the mountains! One thing I’ve learnt these last couple of years is - you just never know what the mountains will bring you that day!  

With a quick 2 km road section done, we hit the single track and pretty much climbed the next 34km, with the last ~ 5 km being straight up!  Lung burner!!  I felt wonderful climbing!  Again, very thankful for my poles.  I gained strength with every step and felt totally in my element.  At the top of the mountain, I joked with volunteers about the size of my local ski hill - and the whopping 6 minutes it takes me to run up it!  

It was great to Alan on one of the summits taking photos!  It was funny when he asked me to run, while looking up at the camera.  I’m just glad I didn’t fall on my face for that photo op! lol.   The ridge on top was fantastic.  It was cloudy, so the view wasn’t ideal.  Perhaps that’s for the best as the cliff beside me was straight down.  Way to go mountain bikers who bike up there - you sure do have nerves of steel.  

Time to run down!!  My least favourite part of mountain races.  By the bottom, my feet were sore and my quads were sore.  I, #16,  passed the checkpoint in 16th spot (men and women), with 16km to go.  (16 -16-16) What are the odds!  There was lots of self-encouraging moments in the next couple of hours.  Then, the most demoralizing thing happened.  I got passed at the road (2km to go; at the 55km mark) by a competitor. :(  I tried to stay with her, but couldn’t.  She had me that day.  I finished in 7:46:26…. holding 3rd position in the overall open women standings.  

Super proud of Kat Tupling who completed her first ultra on this day!!  Kendra Olsen also rocked the ultra.  Absolutely amazing ladies!

Day 3 - Tears - 800m elevation gain - 22km

I would love to hit this trail on fresh legs!  One could definitely tear it up.  On this day however, it wasn’t going to be pretty.  The first few kilometers were a bit laughable.  My wobbly legs and not so pleasant words on each down hill were quickly replaced with great conversation and faster pace. The couple of hours of racing went by fast and before I knew it, I came out of the switchbacks onto the gravel path to see a fellow female racer in sight.  My competitiveness took over and I realed her in.  A quick breather behind her and a surged passed got me a 16 second edge to the finish line.  My finishing time:  2:18:09.

With a 3 day combined time of 11:11:19, a small 2 minutes faster than the 4th place open female competitor, I just made the podium! It was a great experience.  I learnt lots and most importantly, I had fun.  A total of 5 days in the mountains amongst friends is a great way to have a vacation!  Thank you everyone who had part of making it possible!

Also, A BIG Thank you Magi Scallion for everything you have done this last year.  It was great to get to know you.  

All of the articles Magi wrote and/or had part in organizing!!  

We finished out trip with a quick trip back to Banff for a beautiful hike up Sulphur Mountain.  What a view!!!!  Now time for a little rest and family time.

Photo credits:  Alan Lam

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