Monday, June 20, 2011


(Me at the start)

While listening to 107.1 MTN FM on my drive home from work, just shortly after Peter and I moved from North Vancouver to Squamish, they announces that registration for the TEST OF METAL was going on at 6:30pm that evening, and to act fast because it usually sells out in less than 30 minutes. One of my goals for 2011 was to try new things and mountain biking was number one on the list. You see, the trails here in Squamish are made up of a lot more cross country riding versus the rugged downhill terrain that is the North Shore. Perfect for a newbie like me. However, the purchase of the bike didnt come as soon as anticipated and I went into this event a little undertrained.

"Don't worry, you'll be fine, you have great cardio, there isn't much technical riding involved at all...except the plunge, but no one rides the plunge"

These were the words uttered most from those I talked to about the event and more specifically about me doing the event, underprepared. Thus, I felt confident that I could tackle this beast no matter what. I managed to get a bike a little over a month before the event, however, running and a little racing were taking up most of my time and concentration, which left little room for biking. Not to mention the weather hasn't been all that fantastic and I'll admit, I'll run in everything, but when it comes to biking, I am a fair weather rider.

Here is what The Organizers say about the event:

June 18, 2011: 67 kilometers, point to point. Over 1,200 meters of climbing and 35 kilometres of singletrack. On paper it’s a 67-kilometre course with over 1,200 meters of climbing and 35 kilometers of single-track. Off paper it’s an unforgettable day for everyone involved from the organizers and volunteers, to the thousands of spectators and of course the riders. For those in the saddle it is in every way a test of mettle. The unrelenting course will take the fastest just over 2 hours, the average competitor 3-4 hours and the humans 5-6 hours."

The test of metal would be my 3rd ride ever on my new bike. My previous MTN Bike experience consists of 6 rides, which were 2-4 years ago. So yes, I am BRAND NEW. As the day drew closer, I was getting more and more freaked out. I kept thinking that this might not be the best idea. I would never recommend someone do a 67km run with only 2 previous days of training, how was this any better? Running is all I really care about, what if I get injured? All these negative thoughts were floating around in my head but in the end, I figured, what do I have to lose. I can always just bike home if things weren't going well!

(All the bikes lines up, seeded, at the start)

Peter had expressed interest in doing the ride with me. I was a bit apprehensive at first because I didnt want to hold him back or be pressured to keep up, but in the end, I said yes and I am really glad I did. I had ZERO expectations for this ride, except to just have fun, enjoy the surroundings, and take it all in. I signed up months prior because it was a fun local event in our new backyard and that is how I had to treat it.

By race day, I was actually pretty excited as it was all so new to me. 800 people lined up at the start and we seeded ourselves pretty far back. I think Peter had a better idea of where we would finish up then I did. I couldn't believe how many people were lining the streets, cheering us on. I was smiling from ear to ear.

To get straight to it:

1. There were moments of utter joy
2. There were moments where I didn't know how the hell I was going to get down the steep rocky/routy path ahead of me, but I just let the bike do the work and most of the time, I really surprised myself.
3. I almost cried once.
4. I think I was the only person who couldn't wait to get to 9 mile!
5. I remembered to turn my shocks on once we got back into the trail from the road sections!
6. I have A LOT of bruises and fell into a lot of bushes
7. I ran my bike down the plunge, congrats to those that can ride that!
8. I didn't compare myself to anyone.
9. I rode a lot more than I thought I would.
10. I loved how I was the only one who ever really stopped and got off my bike at aid stations to eat. I rarely do that in running races, so I made sure I took advantage.
11. I loved having my boyfriend there with me every step of the way. On that note, he would ride ahead and wait for me at junctions, we weren't side by side, which is why I think it worked.
12. Will I do it again?....that's a great question!

Great event, great volunteers, and great ambassadors out there for bike aid. I would recommend this event to anyone. It is a great begginner course because it isn't all technical. The biggest challenge of the weekend was that I doubled it up with a 5.5 hour training run the next day (first 3/4's of the Knee Knacker). It was perfect because I was fatigued from the ride but not too sore. Tons of climbing (both days)!!!! I wish I could say and now I rest but there is one more week of building before that gets to happen!!!!

Looking forward to Comfortably Numb 25km this weekend in Whistler!!!

See you in the trails!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


(Peter and I taking time for lunch on BelleyGood Ledge...It's a good thing I am not afraid of heights!)

My boyfriend Peter notified me that it has been a while since I have blogged and to his credit it has (for my standards).

This has truely been the spring of diversity and I have been loving every minute of it. I had to throw out my routine of running both days on the weekends, so as to enjoy long days out on the climbing wall with my main man/climbing partner. You don't understand how difficult it is to mentally and physically break a routine such as weekend double long running, but I've done it!

(View at the top of Lava Flow before going down Ring Creek Rip)

AM: Run/Hike with client in the Headwaters
PM: 3 hour MT. Bike ride with my friend Cathy (2nd time on new bike, 2nd time riding in quite a few years). This ride was super fun and challenging. We went from my house in Valleycliffe, up 9 mile logging road all the way to and down ring creek rip, and back home so as not to bike the plunge. My bike was having some gear issues and after bonk hill, it would no longer go into my granny gear. This made riding uphill from there on in very taxing, but I managed! The way down ring creek was fun but I forgot to turn my shocks back on. I thought the ride felt a bit stiff! The hockey game was on but the canucks were in boston and we lost bad anyways so I was happy to have been out riding! This ride was kind of my test to see if I could manage the test of metal on very little MT. Bike training and I think I should be fine.

(My bike posing for the camera)

(Cathy trying to fix her cleat)

TUESDAY: PM: Easy shake out run, 50 minutes. Legs a bit tired from the previous day.

WEDNESDAY: 3.5 hour trail run. This run was to make up for the weekend day I was going to be missing climbing. Peter and I carpooled to Nort Van today and I had a bunch of hours to kill after my work ended (10am) and when his ended (3pm). I went out for a killer run which started at the headwaters, up BCMC to Misquito creek, powerlines to Grouse, back up BCMC to Skyline, up Skyline (steep ass incline) to bottom of the cut, down old MT. HWY logging road to secret 7 MT. Bike trail, and back to headwaters. There was still a bunch of snow at the base of the cut but none going up skyline which was nice!

AM: Afternoon strenth session (which I happily felt the next day)
PM: Multi-Pitch Climbing up Jungle Warfare with Peter

(At the top- I swear I am not posing, I was actually trying to bend down.)

FRIDAY: I had about a 90 minute gap in between clients and I had to get to the bank so I decided to run up to the bank from the automall to Lynn Valley, deposit some cash/cheques and return back. I had done this run the week before and it took me just over 50 minutes, I knew that if I hauled ass I could do it in under 50min. And haul Ass I did! It's an awesome run because you work hard up hill for about 20 minutes and then tempo along lynn valley road (flat) and then it's flat back and all downhill. I love ripping on the descent back....ouuuuu weeeee! My official time was 49:10! That night it was back to watching another hockey game! This time we won!

SATURDAY: Peter, our friend Mark, and I were suppose to head up a 15 pitch multi-pitch sport climbing route this morning but the weather kind of crapped out on us. Luckily Mark, who is also training for Knee Knacker, brought his running stuff. Peter hasn't really been running due to injury but he trooped it out and kept us on our toes. Man can that guy powerhike! We went up the Chief (in record time, for me)and did a circuit of the 3 summits (thanks Mark for the beef jerkey at the top) before making our way over to the Squaw Trail and ascending the Squaw Peak. We eventually came out onto a logging road which joined up with 9 mile and we were back home in just over 3:30.

SUNDAY: The weather was much better today so Peter and I did the route which we cancelled on the day before. We were climbing by 7am (the route goes from the base of the Chief to the very top where the hikers would be sitting) and were back at the bottom by 4pm. All I could think about was yam fries from the Living Room, a local venue here in Squish.

(A little scramble on the approach to get to the base of the climb)

(Climbing the Black Dyke)

(Peter at the top of the Chief, it was super cool to just pop up and over the top to all those hikers...some guy even hiked up a fake Stanley Cup!)

I'm pretty pooped from the week of activity. I feel like I could use a rest week but this is the last big week before Knee Knacker tapering so I might as well go into it feeling a bit tired and push through. I am sure I'll come around by the weekend! I am really looking forward to all the races ahead, next up is Comfortably numb 25km not this Sunday but next. I haven't done it for a few years but just like Iron Knee 25km, it is one not to be missed!

Peter and I signed up for test of metal (67km) which is happening this saturday. I know it's going to leave me feeling a bit wasted, which is perfect because I'll double that with the Knee Knacker run on the Sunday. I love running the first 3/4's...but...who knows....when you've done that much, might as well do the whole thing!

See you in the trails!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


(The start at Cleveland Park)

My boyfriend Peter and the North Shore Athletics crew were putting on the Iron Knee 25km (as well as the Tender Knee 12km). I have done this race every year since I started, this one being my 5th year. The first 3 times I did it I came 2nd, the most memorable being a sprint finish against Ellie Greenwood. I think we can all imagine how that played out! The last 2 times I have ran it just for fun.

On saturday, Peter and I marked the 12km course, so I had the chance to re-live powerline hill before the race. It seemed way longer walking and marking it then during the actual event.

Due to the fact that I ran the 50km the week before and felt pretty tired all week, I rounded up my friend Shauna to run with me, "for fun". I just couldnt stay away from this awesome event, tired or not. The course start changed slightly from last year, where it used to start at the base of Grouse, it now started about a km down the road, and by down, I mean, straight down. The beginning of this race was hard enough and now we had an extra km uphill to run. Shauna and I took it pretty casual going up the hill and by the time we got to the rolly stuff up in Grouse, I was feeling pretty damn good. We quickly started to pass poeople on the descent and that inner demond inside of me was starting to show it's face. I think I am usually red-lining by this point and although I am usually moving the same pace, I think in years past it has just felt harder. This day however, it simply felt effortless.

(My aunt who is turning 50 this year!!! She is such a rockstar!!!!!)

Meanwhile Shauna is doing a great job hanging on and at one point she says "Is this your fun pace?". I had to laugh and remember that I had dragged another person to do this with me. Shauna is an awesome runner, I dont even think she knows how strong she truely is and I had no doubt that she would be able to handle a little increase in pace. We cruised all the way over to powerline and worked pretty hard getting up this hill, power hiking of course. I forgot my regular La Sportiva Crisslites and instead grabbed my skylites by accident. I have only wore these shoes once and the one time I did, I ended up with a blister. Needless to say, they have sat on my shelf ever since. So here I was, having a blast, working hard uphill, and I started getting a blister. It was pretty painful but I just ignored it knowing that I would be going downhill soon and the pressure on my heel wouldn't be so bad.

(Such an amazing setting for a race: Deep Cove Panorama Park)

I kind of lost Shauna up powerline for a bit and just before we started up powerline she told me to go and do my thing if I felt good. I got to the top, no Shauna in sight, and started to head downhill solo. Realizing that this wasn't as fun and that I had set out that day to start and finish with one of my best friends, I waited for about 20 seconds and down she came. We continued to laugh and run hard all the way to the finish. We crossed the line, holding hands (shauna's request) and heel kicking as high as we could. However, what we didnt notice was that there were 2 blow-up arches, with the second being the true finish line. After our skip heel kick finish, we realized/were yelled at, that we weren't actually at the finish and had to re-do it all over again!

(The finish line arch)
We ended up coming in 4th, 1st in the couples division! Ok, we were the only one's in the couples division, and I may have made up that category, but still! It was such a fabulous day, great weather, and it was so awesome to hang out by the ocean in panorama park. Thanks to everyone who helped put on this race and to all the awesome volunteers. Can't wait for next year!!!!

Whats up next? COMFORTABLY NUMB 25KM!!!! This is such a gem, you do not want to miss out!