06 December, 2009

First Race Of The Season - Tiki Torch Dash

The race season is officially underway.  Golden's Kicking Horse Resort is hosting the Tiki Torch Dash, a double event, starting with a Team's Relay Race, and finishing with a 1500ft vertical sprint.  Just to make this race even more exhilarating, it's all happening at night!

Just a week after the Team Canada training camp, I'm driving back from Whistler to Golden, driving through part of the night and the next morning. This year, there will be no bivying in parking lots, sleeping on buses, and having an absolute epic just to get to and from a race.  The van is setup for racing and ski touring in general.  I've been carrying my pre-race-day food, and pre-race nutrition, and am ready for anything.

First heat of the night was the Team's Relay.  I partnered with Steve Sellers, who had designed his own full silver race suit, just for the fun of it.  Jeff Colvin had brought his best redneck sports jacket and Davey Crockett wine skin pouch for hydration to race in as well (photo right). There a bunch of people dressed in different costumes, and it was a different dynamic than most races, which was a fun change of pace.  The Canadian Team, some dressed up, were there to keep the hammer down.

The start of the Relay, everyone bolted from the start.  Brandon French (USA) took the lead, with James Minifie, Ian Gale, and myself chasing behind.  A blistering pace, for such a short course, was difficult to maintain.  Ian and I battled against each other on a few spots, before hitting the transition, and skiing down into the darkness.  Upon arriving to the finish line, anaerobic and ready to puke, I tagged Steve and took my rest.  The second lap, hammering out with Jeff Colvin, I unfortunately lost a skin, and was forced to stop to throw on a spare.  We finished 5th overall, and the race was won by Brandon French and Ben Parsons.  I even hit a new Max Heart Rate at 199 beats per minute!

After a short break, we headed out for the vertical race.  Worked and painfully tasting my lungs from the last two interval races, I decided to hold back a bit.  The race started fast, feeling okay, but not great I settled into a pace just behind the lead pack.  Canadian Reiner Thoni took the race in the end, with Brandon French in second, and James Minifie in third.  Well done boys!  The crazy burly performance of the evening was Melanie Bernier.  She clawed her way through the field and finishing in the top times. Keep watching her in Europe, as she will be at the top of the field!

Another amazing event put on by Kicking Horse Resort.  The night time racing and first Relay in Canada, dare I say North America, was something different altogether.  Reviewing your meal between intervals was painful but fun, and was made fun by all the competitors out racing together.  Full Results here.

 (Above:  Stano Faban and Steve Sellers taking off on the Vertical Start.  photo: Melanie Bernier)

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