Sunday, January 10, 2016

Winter Update

Glorious bluebird day at Cypress Nordic, Hollyburn Mountain

As you know, 2015 was a rough year. Then again, it curved in an upswing as I recovered from my diagnostic much quicker than anticipated and I do feel stronger having gone through that ordeal, as you said I would. 

Every adventure felt like a win, after battling an Immune/Lymphatic system crash for months.
HSCT photo by Jamie Douglas. Golden Ears photo by Pascal Gray. Tricouni Peak photo by Adam Ciuk.

Fall recap

With regained fitness, I rewarded myself by running a number of local classics including the HSCT, Golden Ears summit, and a first time outing to Tricouni Peak.

In September, I joined Jeff Pelletier as his co-lead for the Fall edition of North Shore Athletic’s trail clinic, which ran every Saturday for 10 weeks. We had two groups of participants, one Intermediate and one Advanced. A handful of past clinic participants and several experienced racers from the community donated their time to help with leading the groups and contribute their knowledge. It was a lot of fun to share our collective passion of trail running with such an enthusiastic bunch on some of the best routes of the North Shore.

Super fun 10-week NSA trail clinic.
Participants and Trail Leaders on Mt Seymour and at Quary Rock.

What’s new

I decided it was time to upgrade my mountain abilities. I joined the BC Mountaineer Club to partake in their alpine touring/backcountry ski, and mountaineer safety clinics. I took a few alpine ski lessons at Whistler Mountain, because, well I don’t know how to downhill ski. And I joined the Hive bouldering gym, luckily benefiting from the expert coaching of my buddy Irish John and our fellow alpinists.

If you’re an ultra trail runner, this probably sounds like a lot of extra cross training. For sure, it’s loads of new things to learn at once. My reasoning is that these skills will transfer over to mountain running. I need more speed on super-technical mountain descents and I definitely must increase my comfort level when scrambling on exposed routes.

To illustrate my perspective, if you’ve heard of Nick Elson or Anne-Marie Madden, both who are accomplished multi-disciplinary mountain athletes have shown that all-season mountain-play can reap as much reward as straight-up road and track workouts. I already love Nordic skiing, so the idea of spending multiple days travelling over mountains on fat skis or dangling on a rope really really appeals to me. And heck, why not. Continuous learning, failing, and getting up again is as good a way to live as another.

Night ski Cypress Alpine. Learning how to link turns and dance on fat skis.
Sliding on snow: happiness. View of Black Tusk from Mt Callaghan on skinny skis.

What’s next

The aim is to maximize my on-snow time to the fullest well into the spring. With that in mind, my trail running races are happening later in the summer with Broken Goat 50K as the key event for my competitive effort.  

Registered 2016 races
Kusam Climb 23K , Vancouver Island, June 18
Broken Goat 50k, Rossland, July 16
Fat Dog 70mi, Manning Park, Aug 13

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