Saturday, June 28, 2014

Athlete’s Corner: Knee Knacker Race Preview

Knee Knacker 30mile – athlete interviews

 




When: Saturday July 12, 2014, 6am start
Where: Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove
Distance/Elevation: 30 miles, 16,000 feet of vertical climb and descent
Time limit: 10 hours
No. participants: 200 max (by lottery)


Two weeks to race day. The male and female competitive fields go deep. There are too many talented runners to predict top spots. Contenders could either have a stellar day or a disastrous day, that’s what the Knee Knackering is famous for. You may have your favourites, though don’t dismiss the wild cards who keep things exciting.
For the ladies preview, let’s check-in with Sam Drove, Kathy McKay, and Kim Magnus. A preview from the men’s perspective will be posted on Jeff Pelletier's Blog.


Chloe: How long have you been an ultra-trail runner and how did you get into it?

Sam: I have always been a very athletic person. I grew up on the North Shore playing pretty much every sport under the sun and spending time roaming around on the local mountains. Eventually, I gravitated toward soccer and played for 4 years at college in Florida. I have always run trails, and have spent more and more time running over the past few years. My first 50k was the Dirty Duo a few years ago, and I have raced in a couple more ultras since.

Kathy: My relationship with trails started in my last year of high school (along the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario) and quickly turned to love when I went to University at SFU on Burnaby Mountain.  Although I loved the trails, it took several years of mountain biking and off-road triathlons before I did my first ultra (Tenderfoot Boogie) in 2010. 

Kim: With only one Knee Knacker under my belt as the longest run ever, I’ve got some miles ahead of me before I’d call myself an “ultra” runner. I played recreational team sports (volleyball, basketball) and did some track when I was younger. Then, I moved to Vancouver and loved the hiking. I started running, did a marathon and ran well. I hit the trails in 2012 with NSA (North Shore Athletics) for the Mountain Madness Phantom Run. I actually don’t know why I decided to do this. The main reason I trail run, despite the scrapes and getting lost, is because I’ve met the most incredible people through this sport. At all levels, everyone has this sense of pure bliss in nature and exploration.


Sam Drove


Chloe: How did you prepare up to now, is KK a goal race for you?

Sam: The KK is a goal race for me this year.  It’s something I have always wanted to participate in so I am excited to get the chance.  I ran Diez Vista earlier in the spring and Survival of the Fittest as a warm-up for the season.  I am feeling pretty good about my training so far.  I have been able to cover most of the Baden Powell Trail in the past few weeks, so there should be no surprises.

Kathy: I hoped to make KK a goal race this year, but school, work and other commitments changed that plan for me slightly.  As a result I’m about a month behind on training.  It will be a different kind of goal now. I tend to start too quickly in races and die off, so one of my goals for KK is to stay calm and run a negative split.  I’m building-up for Squamish50 (50/50), so my second goal is to eat, drink and pace myself so I can train the day after KK.

Kim: Last year was my first KK and trail ultra, so I diligently made it to all the training runs (until I fell and smashed my face and knees two weeks before the race). This year, I haven’t been as married to the KK specific runs – only because I have wonderful people and spectacular trails to also train on – and want to avoid Baden Powell Trail burnout before race day.  KK is not a goal race, although I’d obviously like to do well. My taper begins Sunday (June 29) as I’m also preparing for Squamish50 (50mile) – which I’m completely terrified of.



Kathy McKay


Chloe: What is your strategy for the race?
Sam: This terrain is what I love to run on.  Lots of technical trail up and down mountains.  I am not entirely sure how fast other folks will be, so I’ll wait for race day for that.  My main goal is to just take things as they come and enjoy the experience.  For me, making sure my nutrition is consistent throughout the race is always a challenge.  I don’t have a crew out with me, just a lot of moral support from family and friends.

Kathy: I aim to hold back and hit Cleveland Dam at 3h20, and drink/eat 25% more than usual, see how that sets me up for the next day’s run.  I can’t wait to try out my new La Sportiva Bushidos, especially in the fun downhills.

Kim: There are a few things. First, the standard list that Martin (my boyfriend) tells me when I leave the house on weekend mornings:
  1. Don’t fall
  2. Don’t get lost
  3. Don’t hurt yourself
  4. Don’t hurt others
  5. Don’t get chased by a bear
  6. ****HAVE FUN****
Plus: A good taper. Fuel well before, during, after (food, salt, hydration). Don’t start out too fast….but not too slow either. I do better uphill than downhill – so I’ll charge up and meekly trot down. I’m trialling new shoes right now – La Sportiva Bushido. 



Kim Magnus

Chloe: How many times have you done Knee Knacker, and what would be an ideal finish time for you?

Sam: This will be my first time doing the KK. To be honest, I’m not sure about finish times.  I am going to try and stick to my plan and hopefully things fall into place and the day ends up feeling like a success.

Kathy: Once, in 2011, I finished in 6h20.  I had such a fun time, and look forward to doing it again.  This year, I’d be thrilled with 6h30, with a negative split and finish feeling good.  It’s such an amazing course, with amazing organizers, amazing fans, and amazing participants.  Definitely a day where anything can happen!

Kim: This is my second. I said that I wouldn’t do it again ... though entered the lottery on the last day. Then on lottery night, I suddenly had to get in or the world would end. Last year was an absolute wonderful hell. I enjoyed it, but was injured and the inexperience made the last half super hard. Plus I rolled my ankle in the last 2k, sidelining me for 2 months. Main goal is to feel good: I want to enjoy it and feel powerful at the finish line. In 2013, I finished in 5h43. Hoping for the same or better. 

Best of luck to everyone who “Won the Lottery”.

For more on who else is racing this weekend, see the UltraSignup Entrants list, and see race info here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Athlete’s Corner: Adventure Run and Profile

Fast-packing the Annapurna Circuit, interview with Graham Perkins

 

 


Chloé: How did you get into trail running? What was your first ultra? What was it like?

Graham: My first ultra was the Knee Knacker (KK) in 2010. At that time I was running shorter distances, and hadn’t considered anything longer until my mom mentioned she was entering the KK lottery that year. She’s a marathoner with over 25 finishes under her belt, and this was a bucket list thing for her.  I thought it would be cool to train together, and run our first ultra on the same day.
 
We both got in. I trained diligently, going to the group runs and keeping track of weekly mileage. 
 
Race day started out great, I felt strong through the first big climb. Coming down the Hollyburn Chute, I opened it up with some silly looking American kid from Georgia. He called himself Run Bum. We hit it off right away and instead of stopping at the 25k point aid station to fuel up, I blew through it with him not wanting to lose the good conversation.
 
Needless to say, I bonked hard after the next climb (Nancy Green Way) and spent the last half of the race fighting dehydration, cramps, muscle soreness and overall pain. I stumbled across the finish line in 6h27 and was sufficiently ruined for the next several days.
 
I was hooked.
 
I gained an extra level of respect for the mountains that day, and Sean (Run Bum) is now one of my best friends.

With mum, at Iron Knee 25k 2007.

Friends of adventure, with Run Bum (Sean) and Jason Wright.


Chloé: You practice yoga, is this your main athletic background? What else do you do?

Graham: I grew up on the soccer pitch starting with the Lions Gate program as a five-year-old, then joined the West Van Royals in 2005. Soccer has been the most consistent thread through my life. It’s great for maintaining base fitness and also holds me accountable since there’s a game every weekend -- and playing hung-over is awful.
 
As I got more into mountain running, I noticed advantages to being a soccer player, especially when navigating technical downhill. I love going hard on steep single-track, but to avoid falling on your face, it’s handy to know how to quickly process information from the terrain and translate this into movements.
 
I fell in love with yoga a few years ago. It improves your balance, flexibility and strengthens you mentally. It calms you spiritually. Even just learning how to breathe properly has been life changing. As with soccer, practicing yoga has been a phenomenal compliment to mountain running, particularly for injury prevention.
 
I now have my 200-hour yoga certification and teaching is definitely an option for the future.
 

With Alexa Laidlaw at Sun Mountain 50k.

With Sarah Carter and Sean at Orcas 50k.


Chloé: You seem like a wild mountain-man type. What’s your philosophy or approach to trail running?

Graham: My approach has changed a lot since I started testing longer distances. I used to show-up at the start line nervous, go out too fast, and take it personally any time somebody passed me. I was more competitive about it then, almost possessive. Like, I wanted to keep it all to myself: “Don’t tell anyone about Knee Knacker, you’ll inflate the lottery!” I was driven by the idea of getting faster, winning stuff, and seeing my name near the top of a list.
 
That side of the sport has lost part of its appeal for me. Mountain races are hard enough. When you dump a bunch of pressure on yourself to finish in a certain spot, it can take away some of the joy. Now I seek to also test the psychological aspects over just the physical.
 
I don’t follow a training plan, never time my runs, and have a habit of getting lost ... That’s when things get interesting. The most fun ultra for me was at last year’s Squamish50 (50k). Sean and I showed up ten minutes late, laughed like idiots the whole race and somehow still both squeezed in the top 10.
 
Your mind will tap out long before your body, so for me, goofing around is the best way to get through a really tough course.

 

With Jeremy Kinsman in Nepal.
 

Chloé: Talk about the adventure you’ve just completed

Graham: I’ve always wanted to go to Nepal and explore the Himalayas. My plan was to directly make my way to Pokhara and head to the Annapurna Circuit, a 200+ km route which wraps around the mountain range. However within a few hours of getting into town, I hit my head hard on a doorframe and had to get stiches. So, I instead stayed the week acclimatizing in town before departing.
 
I left my hiking backpack at a friend’s (hotel room) and took a light 10L daypack with the intention of resting and fueling at tea houses along the way.
 
I had no idea how long the trip would take, but wanted to cover a lot of ground quickly. It ended-up as an eight-day journey that took me from Besi Sahar to Bahudanda, then to Bagarchap, up to Ngawal, through to Kangsar, up to Tilicho Lake and the Base Camp there, then over to Ledar, up to Thurong La Base Camp, and finally down to Muktinath with a bus to Jomsom and a bumpy eight-hour jeep ride back to Pokhara. Those are the places where I slept, otherwise I was moving from morning to dusk.
 
Altitude is a factor. Tilicho Lake is at 5,200m, and Thurong La pass caps out at 5,416m, so there are plenty of opportunities for AMS to take hold.  My accidental acclimatization on the first week worked in my favour. I had no major issues aside from general fatigue and ‘salad deprivation’. Not big on vegetables, the Nepalese.
 

Accidental acclimatization ... stiches anyone?

"Keeping a loose itinerary allows you to rest when you need it
and push through when you feel good" - GP


Chloé: What advice for those interested in fast-packing/running the Annapurna Circuit?

Graham:  I totally winged it. Just wake up when you feel like it, run, keep going until it starts to get dark, find a place to sleep.
 
As long as you respect the altitude, it affects people differently, this is important.
 
I didn't pack any food. I ate breakfast and dinner at tea huts. In my bag was rain gear, life straw, emergency bivvy, one change of clothes and a bunch of 'local organic altitude medicine'. Distances ranged from 12-30k/day. I went on feel with a buffer of flexibility for awesome shit along the way. The best was when I took wrong turns -- the first led me up a 1,000m climb near Tilicho Lake Base Camp, where I got cliffed-out and had to bomb down a 1,000m scree slope in about five minutes. Another similar “high trail vs low trail” took me to the other side of a river, which led to 45 minutes of sketchy rock climbing down a landslide area, back to a barefoot river crossing. It’s ADVENTURE. Planning is one way to do it, but I err on the side of taking things as they come (I do carry a map though).
 
If you can, explore Tilicho Lake. It’s an offshoot after Manang, maybe a day or more detour but totally worth it. You start the climb in Manang at around 3,700m - it’s the highest lake in the world at 5,200m. Imagine walking through an incredible glacier bowl where the glaciers are at 8,000m towering above you.






Chloé: What other self-supported adventure runs have you done?

Graham: I’ve hiked/run the West Coast Trail twice, in 3-2 days respectively. That coast has a powerful energy you can sense when walking beneath the old mossy firs.

The 64k Kepler Track in New Zealand is on my radar as an adventure run. A few years ago I was in Queenstown with Sean. I tried to get into the Kepler Challenge race but it was full. Instead, Sean convinced me to fast-pack the course during the event. I ran the race self-supported as a through-hiker, not taking aid and filling my water up in streams. I didn’t want to be a bandit racer, and made a point of not taking any runner resources, and just take photos. I did bonk from poor (insufficient) nutrition, but it was an awesome experience.

Most recently, I attempted to run the 180k Sunshine Coast trail with my friends Matt and Alexa (read story here). We had a fun, ridiculous few days involving snow, whiskey, organic cookies, and getting separated on the second night. We called it quits 135k in. Solid Type-2 Fun, as Matt would say.


"Be in the moment" - GP

Rest day in Thailand.


Chloé: Upcoming races?

Graham: I’m heading on a road trip with my Volvo wagon/camper, first to Crowsnest Pass in Alberta to race Sinister7 100 mile. Then, to Leadville Colorado for the Silver Rush50 featuring a 50-mile mountain bike race on the Saturday, followed by a 50-mile run on the Sunday.
 
I am NOT a mountain biker, but signed up to see how I will hold up. This is all prep for my big project of the summer: the Fat Dog Double Cross.
 
Fat Dog Ultra is a 120-mile foot race with 58,000ish ft elevation change in the mountains around Manning Park. I ran it last year. It kicked my ass in a million places, and I managed to cross the finish line in 38 hours. This year I’m starting at Lightning Lake two days prior to the race start. I’ll run to the start near Keremeos, do the race, cross the finish line, then run back up Red Mountain for a cool 400k and 120,000 ft + of elevation change.
 
This project freaks me out. It also keeps me focused. It’s the ultimate test of resilience and a chance to see how far I can push myself in some of the most beautiful single track in the world.

                     
Chloe: Wow, impressive (you're nuts). Good luck Graham ... need a pacer?

You can follow Graham on Twitter: @grahamperkins 



 
 
 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bucking Hell Race Report and Lessons from KK Training Part 2


Saturday. Start of 15k and 21.1k Bucking Hell 2014 - Photo by Adam Gilbert Ciuk

 

Bucking Hell Race Report


When: Saturday June 21, 2014, 9am start

Where: Start/Finish Panorama Park, Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Distance/Elevation: 21.1km, 1300m/4300ft and 15km, 900m/2900ft
Featuring: Favourite trails such as Seymour Grind, Dales, Old Buck, Forever After, Three Chop
See Results


Enlarge
A gorgeous clear day greeted us in Panorama Park. After signing-in, Ellie Greenwood and I did a quick warm-up and decided it was hot enough to ditch our shirts. Ellie opted to carry gels but to forgo water, going minimal. Hmm, hot day, knowing that I constantly take-in nutrition and always thirsty, I went with the hydration vest to be safe. Also, wearing the pack I train with for long runs was intended to remind me that this would be a training day. My goal was to run at 80% effort and to practice quick-feet in the numerous super-gratifying technical sections.
I got excited to see all familiar faces, if not racing helping out as volunteers such as Mike Murphy, Andy Healy, Sam Drove to name a few.  Lining-up at the start, Kim Magnus, Tom Craik and I commented on the strong field with the likes of Graeme Wilson, Oliver Utting, and Keri Mckenzie. And surprised to see quite a few VFAC’rs toe the line considering the Scotiabank Vancouver Half was happening the next day.

In the pre-race announcements, RD Gary warned us not to go out too fast and to heed the ‘slow down’ signage indicating sketchy descents.

By then I was so amped, all I heard was “go nuts”.


Saturday. Speedy Ellie ... catching-up on lost time due to going off course
- Photo by Solana Klassen

Not wanting to lose contact with the race, I latched-on to Spring McClurg on the first climb. I was feeling the toll of the last two weeks’ high volume, struggling to find my pace. Then we hit the first descent and madness broke loose, pony tails and arms flying. Spring and I were having so much fun as we picked people off.

We ran most of the race stride for stride, until I slowly pulled ahead toward Aid Station #2 at the 15k mark. This spot was a double-back section and we could see who was leading. I counted Kim, Ellie, and then realised that Spring and I had a chance to a 3rd place spot.


Saturday. Spring's flying pony. Photo by Solana Klassen

Saturday. Racing with this much fun? Photo by Solana Klassen


At the Aid Station, I knocked into Matt Thompson (RMT extraordinaire), who’s freshly returned to the North Shore from Ontario. He said that he was dehydrated. I said “good you are here - you can pull me to the finish”. And so we bolted together down the mountain, running scared of Spring’s alpine legs in the chase. It was a close race! I crossed the line into Gary, then face first in the grass, done.


Hell was only beginning though. The next day was the definition of training on tired legs.


Saturday. Matt Thompson getting his BC legs back. Photo by Adam Gilbert Ciuk

Saturday. Loving the atmosphere, stoked!
- Photos by Solana, Matt's dad, and Spring's husband Leigh.


Lessons from KK Training Part 2

This Knee Knacker training run was approx. 33k and 2,000 metres of climbing from Horseshoe Bay to Lynn Canyon on the Baden Powell. I started off with friends Jeff Pelletier, Julien Henley, Karl Woll and Tom Craik. We stuck together until Cleveland Dam then we each went into our separate zones. Tom and I agreed we were “in a dark place” and were using each other’s sarcastic commentary as energy to move forward. This run was a job.


Lesson Highlights
In our 5hour slog across the North Shore mountains, Tom and I reviewed key arguments on how to be successful in this race. Regardless of finish time objectives, whether to PB or to complete the course within the cut-off time – go in it with a plan, even a rough sketch, something, at least be mentally prepared.
We settled on this mantra: “run with the course” and “run within yourself”.

The best summary I can share is borrowed from an article in iRunfar about racing the Western States 100mile “running with the course, not against it, was the secret. Pushing only when there was trail for the taking, but otherwise going with the flow.”



Sunday. Jeff and Tom on Black Mountain, Julien and myself, Cleveland Dam.
- Photo by Karl Woll


Presence, Patience, Flow
This week is the beginning of the taper phase, with Saturday being my last significant run. I am optimistic that I will have a good Knee Knacker and look forward to everything about the day.



Next up: Adventure Run in Tibet interview with Graham Perkins, and also Knee Knacker race preview with interviews of my top pick from the female favourites.


More pics on Instagram



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lessons from KK training - Part 1

 

When in doubt, fake it?

Half-way through the season this year, I fooled myself into believing I was a suddenly fabulous downhill runner. In actuality, I am notoriously clumsy and gracelessly hesitant – ask anyone. But I don’t accept this and persist with trash-talking and woot-wooting in dumb bliss down every dip, drop and camber. Does that saying “fake it ‘till you make it” hold any merit?

Although I was very enthusiastic back in April about joining the Knee Knacker (KK) training runs, I had participated in none thus far. It just didn’t fit with my training plan.

Tom Craik who knows a thing or two, kindly reminded me that terrain-specific training is essential in preparation for this race. It is important to practice on the course, as the route is a concert of grinds, a twisty labyrinth of roots with no let-up on the gnarl factor. The Baden Powell is so familiar to me, yet like with any intimate knowledge of an other – friend or foe – it must be treated with utter respect.
 
Saturday. Up Flint+Feather with Aran and Jeff.
Up Dam Mtn, then down to Capilano Canyon Park with Joel and Jeff.
 

Failure keeps you honest

Finally. On my calendar was to join the last two big Sunday KK runs, the first one being Cypress to Deep Cove. I wanted to test a few tactics and investigate where to shave time. Maybe ... on the downhills?

And so fictionally equipped with my fake technical running skills, I shamelessly launched past unsuspecting runners into the Hollyburn Chute, then aggressively slid down the British Properties, and pushed forth this mad gallop toward Cleveland Dam. It was so wild I got whiplash.

In that moment, the fun was over.
Bad tactic. Terrible. You can imagine the rest. The remainder of the run from Nancy Green Way past to the top of Seymour Grind, is essentially a continuous incline with sparse morsels of joyful bits in between. My legs were so fried, every step provoked an ugly wince. I was in justified agony.
And then none other than Ellie Greenwood cruised over, along with Julien Henley and a couple of other guys. Ellie was using this training day to shake-out her trail legs in preparation for Speed Goat 50k and swore that she just wanted to coast-in easy to the end. I know Julien as a strong climber from our 5:30am MTN HWY group runs. And so, I realized it would be a tough effort to get on that bus but what better training.
Sunday. Finish of KK run in Deep Cove. Ellie and Julien are holding me up.
 

Lessons in humility

Going full throttle in the first 8k of a 35k run, on already tired legs, is a bad idea and I know better. I don’t recall who coined “do not sacrifice lifelong fulfillment for short term pleasures”, maybe it was Robin Sharma but he obviously has never ran on the North Shore. Anyway, I’m unclear where I’ll shave time on the course. I have until July 12 to figure it out, until then I’ll pester Tom and Ellie to share their Knee Knacker wisdom.
 
Next up: Bucking Hell race report and lessons from KK training part 2 (Nelson Canyon over Black Mtn to Lynn Canyon)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The understory




“You run all day believing the finish line will arrive. But it won't be a line. It will be a moment. Because every step for the last 10 hours was a line.  A line that can bring anger and hatred, pain, suffering, doubt, confusion, but also laughter and joy, love, friendship. Yet when you can only shuffle one foot forward in the slightest you still know your moment will arrive, and it is close because nothing can stop you.” – Daniel Goddard, 14h50  #van100

So true. It’s hard to capture the full sensation in words. How to best describe the highs and lows? Or the whole ridiculousness of it? What comes to mind for me is: bewilderment. I ask myself “how is this possible … how am I still running ?” … and I don’t even race the really crazy distances, I do just enough to get the idea of what is considered as epic.
Ultras are strange and each one who runs them has their own reasons or impetus -- somehow we all share in it, like an understory.
 
Saturday A.M. ride to Deep Cove to 'warm-up' the legs for my pacer duties.
Saturday P.M. Jackie Muir and Ken Legg at their 75% mark (Cleveland Dam)
 
 
This past Saturday (and into Sunday), I had the honour to serve as pacer for Jackie Muir who was completing her third Club Fat Ass Vancouver 100k run. This is not an official race, although it is competitive and times are recorded. The course is daunting and merciless, guaranteed to challenge the hardiest.


You must know the route and are responsible for your own support. It is recommended to either have gear drops or even better to have friends/family crew you along the way. As a pacer, my job was to get my athlete safely to the finish, especially the last few hours in the dark and roots. A pacer keeps track of time, the pace (obviously), energy/nutrition management, navigation, morale, and provides distraction or brings focus as needed. Jackie and I have ran together often this season, and things went smoothly, despite an early fall (Jackie) and headlamp malfunction (mine), she bested her time with a sprint finish!

Results:

 2014 Vancouver 100 finishers
 
Name
Finish Time
Finishes
1
Hassan Lotfi-Pour
100 km
13:40:00
4
2
Daniel Goddard
100 km
14:50:00
1
3
Kerry Ward
100 km
15:59:00
3
4
Michel Roberge
100 km
17:00:18
1
5
Michael Forbes
100 km
17:24:52
1
6
Jackie Muir
100 km
17:29:00
3
7
ken legg
100 km
17:29:00
4
8
Vera Horsman
100 km
17:35:00
1
9
Charles Yuen
100 km
17:55:00
1
10
Suzanne Johnson
100 km
18:05:00
1
11
Bill Dagg
100 km
18:10:00
3
12
Eric Rannaud
100 km
19:29:00
2
13
Sam Chiu
100 km
19:29:00
2
14
Michael Wardas
100 km
19:43:00
5
15
Glenn Camerson
100 km
20:28:00
1
16
Julie Flynn
100 km
20:28:00
1
17
Andy Healey
100 km
21:03:00
1
18
Doris Leong
100 km
21:29:00
1
19
Claire Bomkamp
100 km
21:45:00
1
20
Kyndra Moeller
100 km
25:05:00
3
21
Craig Moore
100 km
27:35:26
4
22
Sean Lavin
100 km
28:11:00
3
23
Dikesh Khatri
100 km
30:13:00
1
 

Event Details:
Next Vancouver 100 is Saturday June 6, 2015 - 5:00am start

Start /finish at Deep Cove, Panorama Park, North Vancouver BC
100K out-and-back on the Baden Powell Centennial Trail plus a bit

16,300 feet vertical climb and 16,300 descent, out and back

To sign-up for the Vancouver 100 or other Club Fat Ass (CFA) events see Facebook page or more info on the CFA website. There is no cost to join and all abilities of trail running are welcome.


Tuesday 5:30am. Mountain Highway group run - Photo by Erin Donnelly


Understory - refers to plant life growing beneath the forest canopy without penetrating it to any extent. Plants in the understory comprise an assortment of seedlings and saplings of canopy trees together with specialist understory shrubs and herbs. Young canopy trees often persist in the understory for decades as suppressed juveniles until an opening in the forest overstory permits their growth into the canopy.


Tuesday 7:30pm. Sidebar scramble on the 
cusp of Dog Mountain, Mt Seymour

Sunday. Shannon Creek basin, Sea to Summit trail, Squamish
- Photo by Aran Seaman

Sunday. Lower Chief Backside trail, Stawamus Chief Park


The other story

The week’s training went well. I’m slowly recovering from Sun Mountain 50 mile, by incorporating some light cycling, keeping mileage and intensity low. With my next key race 5 weeks out, I will ramp up the mileage and elevation, with judicious speed workouts. I know the course quite well and also where my weak spots will be, and so specificity is also a focus. This will be my third Knee Knacker. In 2010 I ran 6h41, then 6h15 in 2013 and aiming closer to 6h05ish for 2014. Wish me luck!

Jeff Pelletier's video on Sea to Summit trail, with Karl Woll from Outdoor Vancouver 

More of the week on Instagram