At first I thought, "how bad could it be? It's at SFU". That was a stupid thing to think. The trails were steep, technical, and did I mention steep? Although we ran a loop, I think we ran uphill the whole time. Like one of those Escher paintings. It was an absolutely perfect place for the second 5 peaks race of the year. Great choice, Mark.
Anyway, I ceded myself up front with some big dogs and hoped for the best. We blazed it down the road for about a kilometer and cut hard left into some amazing single track (Gear Jammer). Of course it bottle-necked right away but I managed to get by a good number of racers early on. I was screaming down that section following every step of fellow racer Kim Steed. Four of us came out onto Powerline Trail and headed north up hill toward Dead Moped and back onto Mel's Trail. We carried on up hill for a solid 25 minutes until we came right back around to Gear Jammer. This time I was all alone and the turn over wasn't the same. I could actually hear my feet making a clomping noise. Even though I was alone I was embarrassed to be making so much noise. I tried hard to get back into a rhythm, but it took a while. The second loop brought us all the way around to the north side of Burnaby Mountain and into the zone of lactic hell - Cardiac Hill. Pre-race I thought for sure I would be able to run it all, but no can do. I power-walked about 100 meters and then heard a Kiwi screaming from up top. "Let's go, Tom! You're almost there!" What could I do but start running again. I emerged from the bushes and saw the finish line. It felt great to come in just under 50 minutes knowing I had left it all out there. I don't think I could've done anymore. I managed 9th place overall and 4th in my age group. 1 minute from the podium. Maybe another time.
Duncan Coo, of the Flight Crew, was 3rd place in his age group and came away with a bit of 5 peaks hardware. Amazing run, man!
After the race we spent a bit time in the Salomon tent hearing the stories of other racers. General opinion was that people were surprised at how many steep and challenging hills were on this course. Apparently everyone thought as I had, "It's SFU, how bad could it be?"
All in all it was terrific. I particularly enjoyed the eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, and coffee that I had after the race at Tommy's. It always tastes best when you stink like a runner.
Next race...Test of Metal. I'm quite interested to find out what might happen in that one as I have only been out on the bike about 4 times. Crossing my fingers that running training and cycling training transfers well. Yeah, right!