All posts for the month April, 2019

The golden ultra was my first multi-day staged race.  Its late in the season so weather can be warm and sunny, or cold and snowy.  This year, it happened to be the latter.  I wasn’t concerned about the weather, I was just thrilled to be out in the mountains for 3 days.

The key when its cold and wet is layers, you can always add and remove them to regulate your temperature.  I’m tend to bonk when over heated, but can run in cold weather all day, so for me this was perfect.  

I checked in prior to the day 1 race and received all 3 days bibs.  Lucky number 13.  My favorite soccer player Michael Ballack was number 13 (so was the world cup winning Thomas Muller), my favorite hockey player at the moment, Johnny Gaudreau is number 13 (he was also born on the 13th day).  So, in light of this, I was actually quite thrilled to get bib #13.

3 Bibs for Blood, Sweat and Tears, all lucky number 13

Day 1 – Blood

Day 1 was a wet cool day.  The course goes straight up Kicking Horse ski hill.  Its only just under 5km, but extremely steep to where a few sections were scrambling on all 4s.  

I totally over estimated the amount of water I would need.  Being the first day on a new course, I brought over 3 liters of water, but drank closer to 300ml during the race.  Extra water is extra weight and the water strapped around my body was beginning to feel like a weight vest as I climbed.  In hindsight I would have brought a hand held 400ml bottle at most.

Overall my legs were strong, no issues fading and I actually struggled to keep a reasonable pace, even though I understood this is a 3 day event.  At the steep parts of the climb you are locked into a stream and have to accept some much needed break time as people in front slow down.  I didn’t panic as my mantra for the entire weekend as “just finish”.

As we reached the summit the fog set in and it was snowing heavily.  I love it.

Looking back down the hill from the summit:


Day 2 – Sweat

Day 2 was the longest day of the weekend.  It was cool and drizzly, but it is fall in the rockies, so what would you expect.  I showed up early at the race, I prefer to show up early and mentally prepare for the race.

It starts early and flat for the first few kilometers.  There is always the few who blast out of the gates.  The elites you never see again, the rookies you reel in and see again after 20, 30, 40 kilometers.

After half way we climbed up into the snowline and the trail became ankle deep snow.  It got cold and a bit treacherous to run along the ridges, but enjoyable nonetheless.

As we dropped back down the hill it turned into long stretches of single track in the woods.  It started to get a bit tedious, but the aid stations were amazing.  At one I stopped for a while and loaded up on empanadas.

The trail from the bottom of the ski hill down to Golden is a series of switch backs.  At one point I started to hear a group gaining on me, every switchback they seemed to get closer and closer.  So… I decided to run hard for what I thought was 3-5km remaining.  In reality is was closer to 8km and as I got into Golden I was physically spent and mentally depleted.  At the last 100 meters I just needed to get through the gates.  My kids were waiting about 50meters out and wanted to stop for hugs.  Afraid I would stop and be unable to continue I opted for high fives and blasted with by with them running at tow.

They were champs though, while I was out racing, they participated in the kids race and did amazing.

I crashed into the finish line feeling spent, but great.

Day 3 – Tears

I had assumed by day three my legs would have been spent, but I woke up feeling pretty good, a bit rubbery, but good.  I showed up at the last segment early again, ready and eager to get going.

I was looking forward to another day on the trails, and spent an hour prior to start walking around the town of Golden.

The race started and the pace was fast.  I went out harder than I normally would have, considering it was a much shorter race than the previous day.  The initial pace was much faster than I anticipated.  I has going hard, and starting to hurt by the 6km.  It was then I saw the sign that split the 10km racers from the 22km racers.  I had not realized that most of the people I was racing with were only going 10km – doh!

I made a few wrong turns later in the race, but each time had someone behind yell out, I’m not sure what would have happened had there not been someone to redirect me.  I ended up running to almost the end with the guy who got me back on the right trail.  He pushed a hard pace adn I went much faster than I would have otherwise. 

I wrapped the last day up with a strong kick through the last 2km.  I felt great and was happy with both the day and the weekend.

Thoughts on Race:

Overall the event is amazing, very well organized, great volunteers and stunning scenery.  I met lots of great people (Dave, Andre, Sebastian), which is always part of the experience.  The course was very ‘runable’, and even though the weather was bad this year, this was one of my favorite races for sure.

See you next year Golden Ultra.