Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Iron Knee - All Bets are Off

Traditionally the Iron Knee has been quite the bench mark for the season to come. It tends to act as a bit of a check up for many of us North Shore runners as we approach our summer racing season. Most of us have a general idea what our time should be and it helps us gauge our fitness for the summer.

I had a look back though Race Headquarters archives and realized I'll be racing this race for the seventh time this year. I first raced it back in 2005 when it was called the Half Knacker (which it truly isn't). Since then all my times have been within a ten minute range from 1:59:40 in 2005, down 1:49: 18 last year. It's taken me seven years to improve by 10 minutes and now that I feel like I understand this course they've decided to change it.Course and Profile without new section up Nancy Green Way

The course is generally the same as it goes Grouse Mountain across the powerlines to Baden Powell which carries runners through to Lynn Headwaters. At that point runners head over the bridge to the North, right along Rice Lake connector, past LSCR gazebo and down Twin Bridge Hill. The new-ish bridge has runners moments from the start of the famous Power Line climb. Personally I start my chrono at the bottom of the Mystery Creek climb off Fisherman's, but the Power Line climb doesn't really start until you cross Mystery Creek bridge. This is where you have to decide if running this will benefit you. Walking might be the right choice because once you've reached the top, you still have six or so kilometers down the Baden Powell Trail before the finish in Deep Cove...and we all know how long that section from Quarry Rock to the finish can be when we're wrecked.

You're right if you're thinking this sounds the same as every other year, but I forgot to mention that you have to run to Grouse parking lot before starting. The official start this year is about a mile down Nancy Green Way at Cleveland Dam Park. It'll do wonders for the single track sections that used to bottleneck, but it's a second tough climb in one race and will definitely add some time to overall results.

Ultimately, it's a brand new course, and more like a true Half Knacker, with all new expectations so all bets are off. I'll still be working my ass off and it'll be interesting to see if I can still come in under two hours. I hate setting public goals, but there it is - sub two hours.

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