The 5 Peaks Cypress Mountain Enduro on July 26th was to be my 2nd race back since getting injured a few months ago, much shorter and faster than I’m used to, especially given that I haven’t done anything even resembling speed work in a while. I went a little off-course last year to say the least, so I was still looking forward to a better result – provided I could put in a solid effort and suffer a little.
The course had been completely changed from previous years. It now stays entirely within the boundaries of Cypress Mountain, including a fairly technical out-and-back to Eagle Bluffs – the only race other than Knee Knacker to include that incredible view of Howe Sound – with 560 metres of gain plus equal loss over 11 km.
Lots of friendly faces were out from the community, but the ones that I had my eye on were my friends Karl Woll, Mark Green, Herman Alagao, and of course fellow Salomon athlete Tom Craik. As usual, we had the Salomon Flight Crew demo fleet setup so that people could test out some shoes during or after the race. And as expected during the race, I got the workout I’d been missing!
I managed to pass Karl on one of the earlier climbs and then catch up with Mark on the flats near the Howe Sound Crest Trail, Herman and Tom both still (wisely) hanging back a little. Mark and I yo-yo’d for position until I finally dropped him on the out-and-back to Eagle Bluffs where, right on cue, Tom flew by me on the technical stuff like I was standing still, followed shortly by Karl.
All I could do was to hang on until the turn-around point where I could finally assess my overall standings. Herman wasn’t too far behind at this point and I accepted that I might not be seeing Karl and Tom again.
I did question at one point whether I’d missed a turn, but a passing runner coming the other direction confirmed that others had passed ahead of me. It was at this point when I heard Herman’s voice behind me who seemed content letting me continue to lead for a while and it definitely helped having someone to run scared from to motivate me through the final couple of miles.
I wasn’t sure how my ankle would handle the final, long descent down the ski hill. I’m a strong downhill runner when it’s a little less technical, but this stuff was no joke. Herman and I passed a few runners together but as we rounded the final turn I just couldn’t keep up and had to watch him pull away to finish a full 30 seconds ahead of me for 16th place. Shout-out to Herman though for being so sportsman-like in trying to get me to pick up the pace down that final section.
I crossed the line in 1:12:44 for 18th place (another runner from a later starting wave must have beat me on chip time), 6th in my division, and completely drained. Just two more months to prepare for another showdown with Herman, Karl and Tom at 5 Peaks Buntzen Lake!