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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Okay, so this race report is way overdue.

Work schedule, kids off school, and all the other real life situations as delayed the update, but here's the skinny . . .

Buckin' Hell is a race put on by the super stellar and rock star team of Geoff Langford and Gary Robbins who direct the Coast Mountain Trail Series! Their significant others, Amber and Linda are both behind the scenes wizards also, with Dianna C. as the volunteer coordinator.

The course is brand new for 2014, and in one simple word, it's EPIC! Hands down the most challenging 21.1k distance I have ever run. There's a 15k option also, which is nothing to shake a stick at (or "at which to shake a stick" for the grammar police out there).

Alanna and I ready to represent the back of the pack!
The course takes place entirely on the Mount Seymour side of the North Shore, follows the BP up, then down singletrack to the base of the Seymour Grind, then back up Old Buck trail to the Deep Cove lookout on top of Seymour before descending 3 Chop back into Deep Cove start/finish line.

There were some seriously fast people towing the line on this race. Ellie Greenwood (she won a little race called Camrades in South Africa last month), Chloe Gendron, Jackie Muir, Graeme Wilson, Oliver Utting . . . you know, gals and guys that eat hills for breakfast. It wasn't a huge field, and I was expecting to be taking up the back of the pack on this run.

The weather was perfect, and after the quick countdown which started at 4, 3, 2, 1 we were off. I felt really good on the first ascent and section to Quarry rock, practicing my new found uphill muscles and technique.
Chris Thorn has the moves (photo credit: Solana Klassen)
 I fell into stride with Chris Thorn, and we wove our way up BP to Mushroom trail, passing our friend, field marshall and Altra ambassador Elaine Fung who was rocking a guitar to the tune of "Stairway to Heaven".
Before descending Dale's into Forever After, I tightened my laces and then dropped into the singletrack. I'd not run this trail before, and the signs that read, "SLOW DOWN" were aptly placed before rock shelf drop offs that you had to go down to continue. I ran this section with a lady named Maiggen who had mountain biked these sections, so her savvy on the ups and downs was good to have. We went up the Seymour grind together also, and I felt great on that climb. Fresh as a daisy.

Hi-Five from Andy (photo credit: Solana Klassen)

She split off at the 15k junction, and Solana and Andy were there to direct me up the Ol' Buck. The climb was long. And then it kept going. Before reaching the top, I saw Chris and David Appleby coming down the trail heading to 3 Chop. Both looked super fluid and very strong. Despite my slower pace than them, I also felt strong, despite having run out of fluid for the last 30 minutes. I emptied my backup ziplock of Infinit Nutrition on the climb to get ready for the aid station at the top.

Top of Seymour...need water

Dave Papineau (who recently robbed my Sugar Mountain descent on Strava - damn you Dave!!), yelled at my family who were waiting for me at the top that I was coming. My fam is awesome, always supporting me and my friends on runs and races. My boys ran with me to the buffet, and I filled up on water to mix with my fuel. The view was amazing. At this point, the total elevation was close to 4000' feet! Yup, no wimpy elevation for this little run! (It finishes with 4300' feet total gain.)

I took off, feeling really good and headed to 3 Chop, also a new trail for me to explore. It's crazy. Straight down the mountain, huge drop offs and mega technical. Going down 3 Chop is not for the faint of heart. No joke. Later I found out that a number of 21k runners (including Dave A. who wiped out on this section) and much blood was spilled by many.

David A. knocked his head down 3 Chop, still rocked the course!
Colin Aldous (married to Alanna) marshaled the Indian River Road section, and I shared my disbelief on the descent.
The return to Deep Cove was fast and furious as I know the trail section really well. I moved along at the 80% effort on this race (I had a 10 hour shift at work after, and 7 1/2 long run the next day setup with zero chance to sleep Sat night) and ran into the finish line feeling really good.

Short shorts for the win!

Coming down Dale's

Deep Cove Descent (photo credit: previous three shots CMTS)

The course was super fun, and had about 33 centimeters of flat terrain. It's not for the meek, that's for sure, and I would consider it an advanced 21k trail run. To put it in perspective, my flat 1/2 marathon PR is 1 hour 41 minutes; compare that with the finish time below. Gary says he has plans to have this be a part of a proposed 50k in 2015, which is definitely on my to do list if it manifests!!

The final details:

Official Time 3:24:10 
Placing: 32nd place out of 38 finishers (40 starters)

Strava Report Click Here

After some exciting finish line festivities (with a NKOTB karaoke by Gary that is to this day is stuck in my head), a hand stand that won me a hat, and other such jovial shenanigans, we headed out as I had to work.

This is a must do race for me. It's hard, fun and challenging. Everything I like about trail running.
Plus I WON this race entry for a caption contest so that was extremely rad!

PS: I had an awesome long run in Squamish the next day with another 5,000 feet of climbing.
PPS: Our friends Spring has decided that she's going to become an elite athlete. Something has clicked with her, and she's destroying the trails with a 4th place female finish in a solid field!

Spring and I; it's a short short face off

Up Next: More training before the Squamish 50 in August!