“Go Death Racer…”– Jeremy randomly yelled as we dodged mud puddles early in the race. To our amusement an unseen runner behind us responded with great enthusiasm – “GO DEATH RACER!”. It wasn’t until about 13hrs later, when I hit 104th St in Grande Cache, that I smiled like that again when hearing those words…. During those 13hrs I experienced the highs and lows that one would expect during an ultra, but unfortunately for me I was experiencing then in what felt like a sauna. Jeremy and I run 2nd and 3rd together into the 19km check point a few mins down on last years runner-up Ricky Reusser. I was feeling good and quickly (and unexpectedly) pulled away from Jeremy early into the 2nd leg. I run most of the climb to Flood and Grand mountain, unlike last year when I walk most of these climbs, and arrived back into Grande Cache in 4hr30, about 4mins down on Ricky. These 1st 2 legs of the race I run pretty easy and felt great apart from my toes that got mashed from the steep descents. During the next stage I stopped at every one of the small creeks to throw water over my self, wet my hat and fill a bottle that I used to pour over my self. I was surprised to catch a glimpse of Ricky ahead and despite to a few more times at streams I was catching him with ease.We walked a hill together and Ricky told me his quads where trashed from the descent from Grand. As we crest the hill I started running and made a gap – it was strange I was leading that race, something I haven’t done in a long time. About 55km into a 125km race I was leading. I let that sink in and at the same time told my self it didn’t matter to how I wanted to run the rest of the race. I made sure to make a good break on Ricky as I was expecting him to come back and he did pass me as I was running up the highway – he was in a car having pulled the pin on the race. Hmm, that changed things, but Jeremy was still behind me and he had put 1hr on me in 50km at the HK100 in February so I knew I still had a race on my hands. I got into the 65km check point well up on my time from last year and feeling OK, but I was starting to get very hot. The climb up Hamel was pretty slow going, slower than I run it last year, but not as slow as Jeremy (unknown to me at the time) and I put some more time on him. At 88km there is a 5km loop which I did in about 30mins + the time I spend fueling at the aid station I knew I had at least 35mins on 2nd, now with not much more than 30km to go. I was starting to get excited that I might just have this thing. But it wasn’t smooth sailing as my toes where really hurting and the heat was crushing me. Coming from winter and training in freezing temps on snow-covered trails to 27+ degree temps with a warm wind was hard going, even having dumped about 8L of water of myself during the day.
At the final check point I was greeted by Phil and Marcelo who had been taking great care of me all day – Phil was always sure to hurry me out and not let me hang out. I changed in to my SpeedCross3, had some coke and left with multi caffeinated gels and red bull. I was well up on my time from last year at this point, and was excited about what is the best bit of single track in the whole race from CP5 to the river. Last year I closed well but this year I knew I was going to just be trying to hang on, still not 100% how far back Jeremy was. I was surprised to get to the river more or less the same as last year, despite a large amount of walking. The short jet boat ride was fun and I could have just stayed sitting on that boat knowing the steep climb that lay a head – the final stretch home was a bit of a blow out. I was greeted by Ricky Reusser who had hiked in a wee way to see me finishing, I felt like crying when he said 5km to go, but a few minutes later I popped out on a dirt road where 3x CDR winner Jack Cook was hanging out. Jack told me 2.5km togo and offered me “beer or coke”- I went with the coke and hooked into the final km’s. I popped out onto 104th St where every other house had people sitting outside, bbqing, partying and yelling “Go
Death Race”- Thats when I really smiled again. I crossed in 13hr27, about 20mins faster than last year. I had hopped to go faster, but very happy with that time on what I found to be a very hot day. I felt really beat down from the heat in the 2nd half of the race even after dunking my head in every creek on that course.
This trip to Canada has been pretty special. Its been a real fun time getting to hang out with fellow Salomon team mates Jeremy and Julia, as well as our owsome guide and Salomon brand ambassador Phil.We have had a bunch of laughs and taking 3 podium spots made for a succesful weekend for Salomon Running. Jeremy had a hard day of it, but hang in and finished 2nd, while Julia lead the womans race from start to finish!
“Thanks you’s”- Have to give a huge thank you to Phil, Julia and Jeremy for a great trip, as well as Salomon Running for the huge support in getting me here and also Suunto Australia and Udo’s Oil. Thank you so much for the support! And Jane for putting up with and being so supportive of my training and running.
A little relaxing and time with my 2 lovely girls awaits and maybe even a little ski mountaineering race at Broken River in 1 week. Then next running race is Yurrebilla Trail Ultra, a 56km race in the hills behind Adelaide in South Australia in about 5 weeks time. This looks to be a great little race on some sweet trails – I can’t wait!