Alike to many local trail races, at Run Ridge Run I anticipate crowding around the start line wishing fun times and good luck to my large extended trail family. This race has 15+ racers from the Abbotsford Trail Running Club alone, not to mention the awesome crew that will attend from Vancouver, Squamish, and Chilliwack! I truly can’t wait to see so many familiar faces and kick off the trail racing year with everyone.
So, with so many people attending I thought it would be helpful for others (and realistically help me focus as well) if I outlined by previous experiences with this course. I have only ran the 25km course and am not very familiar with the shorter course, however at least the first few kilometers are roughly the same.
This race kicks off on the sand at White Pine Beach. (Gary says: NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THE BEACH, don’t say he didn’t warn you)…seriously though guys, no dogs.
Ok, ok on to the racing part. So as you see above with the photo where I do not have my dog on the beach, you will start on the middle of the beach. The main reason I mention the start line is because, despite it being moved back further there is still a very short distance to the single track entrance to the trails. The trails decently wide for the first 3km as you run around the lake to the bridge, but if you’re planning to get out in the front pack, toe the start line and race to that merge.
Ok so, the first 3 or so km is a nice warm up, cruising trails with little to no climbs — one set of stairs, but this is all very minimal, get into your groove.
Then you cross the main road and head up the jeep track. Do not be fooled by this wide loose gravel/rocky road.
You will gain a couple 100 meters of elevation over this wider track. Then after a few kilometers you will hit TTT –> read as: Ted’s Torture Trail, its the real name I promise. This is your first bout of technical single track, with a good amount of incline taking you back to the jeep track. Cruise along again (I think it heads up…so cruise, slog, whatever you need to do) up towards the first aid station and split ways with the short course runners. It is time to head up the upper half of Diez Vistas. Here you will being your work.
Climbing our way up, through multiple switch backs (some with runnable flat stretches), and eventually wind to the right. If you have done this route before there is a good chance you have gone to the left near the top, Gary doesn’t send us that way. There is a false summit I will call it and then a few steep rocky steps and then you can cruise across the ridge (hence the race name!). This ridge is closed into the forest, but beautiful and will give you the diez (10 right?) views along the way. Again, there is elevation to be gained here as well, but mostly in short little jabs …or that’s how they feel anyways.
Eventually you will begin your technical decent down, down, down..Watch your footing!!! And please leave space between yourself and the people around you (dear runner who trailed me loudly and closely last time on this course.. hahah). Enjoy this long descent. Afterwards you hit the wide road beyond the end of Buntzen Lake. Here you will travel the main Buntzen lake loop trail, until you go up Lake view.
Gary. Really? — that’s what we all said when he changed the course last year. Lakeview will gain you another 300m of elevation gain. Did I mention there’s elevation on this course yet? So pace yourself friends, there is ample time to gain time you have lost and ample hills to crush those quads.
After Lakeview you hit the main Buntzen Trail again, hit the second and final aid station and have your FINAL climb!! Wahooo! This is the lower Diez Vistas climb, and will take you to the wide jeep road again — then to TTT (spot the car wreck off the hillside, spray painted TTT). Seriously, at the jeep road: Cruise! Now there are a few rolling hills on the jeep track, but lots of elevation loss and then you cross the main road, and cruise 1.5ish to the finish line at the beach. Then, celebrate, you did it!
MY RECOMMENDATIONS: take enough fuel, the aid stations are spread out and this course has serious elevation gains. Each time I run it I find I wish I had a little more water/electrolytes on hand. This year I will carry 1L with 1 tailwind portion per 500ml, and a few gels.
Prepare for the weather, but know this is a warm course due to all the uphill. I will anticipate leggings and a light long sleeve, gloves, a Buff for my ears, and maybe my Norvan SL depending on the weather on race day. — who knows we might even need spikes. Oh do I ever hope not..
If you’re choosing between shoes, this is a technical course. I recommend a snug fit, grippy shoe. There are tons of roots and rocks on the way down and you’ll want to know where your feet are. I will likely race in my Salomon S labs.
Stick around after! Then, let’s hit the unreal local Port Moody Brewery’s. Take your pick, or pick them all.. Yellow Dog, Moody Ales, Parkside, Twin Sails..I’m probably still missing some.
Questions? Thoughts? Let me know! Hope to see you at the start line.
Official Run Ridge Run photos by: Brian McCurdy Photography.