27 September, 2010

Rubble Creek Classic Race Report

6 am, dark still, raining hard, and race day.  We had 30mm of rain overnight, and after finishing a quick cup of coffee with breakfast, I jumped in the car to go pick up my neighbour and fellow racer Dave Booth.  Driving down the highway to go drop a car off at the finish line of the race, it seemed like we were in for what was to be expected, a day of misery.

Fast forward to 8am, shivering under a tent The Escape Route setup for waiver signing, 70 racers are all awaiting the start.  It's my first running race, and not really knowing what I'm doing, my plan was to treat the race like any other ski mountaineering race.  The 25km course itself, winds up around 1000m (3200 ft) from Helm Creek in Whistler, across Taylor Meadows under the Black Tusk, and down a knee jarring lactic acid burning 1225m (4019 ft) descent to Rubble Creek.  The perfect way to mimic a skimo race course and shake some cobwebs out of the closet before race season.
Taylor Meadows Trail.  Photo courtesy of vancouvertrails.com
We start out, Seamus Frew, Mark Bennett, and myself leading up the climb.  Two other racers catch up and the battle begins.  Back and forth through mud, muck, and foot soaking puddles, we continued up to Taylor Meadows.  Through the Taylor Meadows flats, we were forced to cross a knee deep river of snow melt, drenching our shoes and socks.  Crossing the river, I cringed at the thought of my brand new Suunto foot pod being submerged and breaking, but was lucky enough to see it still calculating my pace and speed despite being underwater.  By now the pack has thinned out, and running alone, I began reeling in Kevin Hodder who had gotten ahead earlier.  Unfortunitely, I made the mistake of veering left, when I should have gone right dropping the gap between myself and a chase group.  Luckily realising the mistake, I had enough juice to make up the mistake, and pull back in front.

The descent down was painful.  Lactic acid began building and building, with the unrelenting pounding downhill, going fast and trying not to slide in the mud.  With legs cramping up near the end, and putting the hurt on the keep the gap, I was just fast enough to sneak into 1st place in the Under 30 category, and take 2nd overall with at time of 2 hours 23 minutes, 30 seconds.  Mark Bennett had finished 1st overall, with a blistering time of 2 hours 15 minutes, 20 seconds.  A few minutes in the icey Rubbly Creek cooling off my legs, and an interview with the newspaper, and a quick bite of food I was stoked to have had a great run where everything lined up.  Stoked on racing running now and will definetly have to look into running more trail races like this in the next off-season.  Hopefully I can score some pictures soon as well!

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