Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stayed Low - No Snow!

Liza and Neil checking out our route options.

Today was our last long run before Vancouver 100km next weekend. We all met up at Craig's at 10am - slight diversion on route due to the Lynn Valley Days Parade! A brief interaction with Wendy was a nice surprise. We seized the moment to discuss crewing for next weekend - it was brief but I'm confident we are under control. Dave and Craig were off to check out the snow conditions between Hollyburn and Cypress. Neil, Liza, Marla and I were keen to stay out of the snow knowing that we will have to do that section next weekend - twice! Liza had a good route in mind starting at the gate at Mtn Highway - that darn parade...the roads were all blocked. Quick change of plans to start in Deep Cove for an out and back for aprox 4 hours. We all agreed to meet at the Black Bear afterwards to discuss plans for next weekend. Neil and Liza put together a great route for us that kept us moving for 4.5 hours. The sun made an appearance which warmed up the air and brought on the sweat. Good reminder for us to drink more and take in those electrolytes! Craig reported back that the snow conditions were pretty well the same as the previous weekend. Vicky joined us to discuss the support plans for V100 - I think we have it all organized.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Deep Deep Snow and Misty Cold Conditions.

After of glimmer of hope that Spring was here - the weather today was disappointing. Craig, Liza, Marla, Neil and I did a car drop at Cleveland Dam and drove to Nelson Creek to start our adventure for today. It was raining lightly with hope that it would clear - not! I haven't been on this section of trail for a year and forgot how peaceful it is. The weather was very humid for the climb up Black Mountain - I overheard Neil say is this rain/mist or am I really sweating? We were wet! Once at the top of the Bluffs we stopped for a bite to eat and to put on our Yak Tracks and gaiters knowing from the previous weekend the snow we were about to get into. In one week the snow had receded a few feet. It was softer on top and we started off post holing - it was tough going. The snow would vary and at times we could ride across the top and then a few steps later we were sliding and falling deep with each step. With our bodies touching the snow and the mist in the air I really started to feel wet. My feet and hands were numb. My core started to feel cold but I could push the pace and warm up my body but really could not get my feet out of the frozen solid stage. I kept moving and stayed up front - quite anti-social but very concerned how frozen my feet were. Once we arrived at Cypress I decided to call it quits as my clothes were soaked and I couldn't warm up. Liza decided she had enough as well (4 hours). Neil asked a complete stranger (though respectful looking!) if he was going back down the hill and could give Liza and I a ride. He agreed and was a very nice man from Calgary - his son was in a hockey tournament here and he decided to go for a drive up the mountain. It was so misty he couldn't see a thing. Our ride down the hill was a little scary as the fog was pretty thick and it was difficult to see. He very kindly drove us back to our cars at Cleveland Dam. I changed into some dry clothes - my gaiters were full of snow! Liza drove me back to our car where we started. I knew I had a couple of hours before Neil, Craig and Marla would arrive at Cleveland Dam so picked up a few groceries etc...I was just about to have a nap in the car when they arrived! Highlights of the day were shared over some food and drink at the Black Bear. My fingers are still tingly as I type this - very borderline conditions for hypothermia for me today.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Snow Shoeing in Vancouver in May!

Neil taking our photo at the top - Craig capturing it all!

At the top of Black Mountain

On our way to the Bluffs

Going up Black Mountain - myself, Marla and Liza.

Dave and Craig going up Black Mountain.

Craig going up!

Marla, myself and Liza at the top of Black Mountain

The Baden Powell markers on the trees. Easy to miss them!

Craig trying out his new camera!

The Destination - the Bluffs! Much deserved lunch break. Awesome views!

In preparation for Vancouver 100 we decided to check out the section of trail that we knew would still be covered in snow. Neil, Marla and I met Craig, Dave, Liza at Cypress Bowl. We brought our Snow shoes, Yak Traks/Kahtoolas, gaiters, poles, and an extra layer of clothing. Once on the mountain it was obvious that we were wearing our snow shoes. Our destination was the Bluffs on Black Mountain that over look Horseshoe Bay. We found the Baden Powell trail and went straight up the mountain. The snow was really deep - so deep the orange triangle markers that mark the Baden Powell trail were under snow. Fortunately for most of the trek up Black Mountain others had been there and we could follow the tracks. The views were spectacular from the top of Black Mountain with all the other snow covered peaks. We have only been here in the summer so it really was fascinating to see it in the snow. Once we left the top of Black Mtn and carried on to the bluffs the trail was not so easy to find. Dave led the way and with all our eyes in search of markers, tape and signs of human tracks we found our way. The weather was threatening to turn nasty but we only experienced the odd rain shower. Our feet were cold at times from being so wet but I found that every time they started to go numb I would pick up the pace and they would warm up again. It was a beautiful journey and I had to keep reminding myself that it was the middle of May. Remember the lack of snow here for the Olympics? Grouse Mountain announced they are staying open for weekend skiing until Canada Day - July 1st. Looks like we will have plenty more outings with our snow shoes over the next few months. I need some work on my down hill technique. ;-) I tend to lean back and fall on my butt and go for the slide down the mountain technique. We were out playing in the snow for 4 hours. Next outing we will check out more snowy sections of the route.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Baden Powell is WET!

Size 13 and Size 6

The crab technique to get over the water.

The dam at Mosquito Creek

Me, Marla, Liza and Craig

This week the email plans were to go from Cleveland Dam on the Baden Powell into the Cypress area to see the snow higher up on the Baden Powell trail. Neil, Craig, Marla, Dave (absent today) and I plan to sign up for the Vancouver 100km which takes place early June. Craig is actually the race director and rumour is that he needs to sign up too! The wet weather changed our plans to run with our Yak Tracks/Katoolas in the snow. It was raining and cold at the base of the mountain. Common sense prevailed and we decided that going too high up was not a good idea today! Neil, Marla and I met Craig and Liza at Cleveland Dam. We headed up the road to Grouse and continued on the Baden Powell in an easterly direction for 3 hours and then turned around. It had been a wet and cold morning on the trail but thankfully the sun came out briefly for our return trip. There was so much water on the trail. I have never seen it so wet. Craig showed us the dam on Mosquito Creek - the water was shear torrent here. We were out for 6hrs 15min today - great training run.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Deep Cove to Lynn Canyon Return

Marla and I on the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge - we don't really like it!

The view off the Bridge.

Marla and I coming up the Seymour Grind.

Saturday we had a good long run on the Baden Powell trail. We started at Deep Cove and turned around at Lynn Canyon. Trail companions were Dave, Marla, Neil and at the last minute Wendy was able to join us. I was a bit tired as we stayed up late watching the Royal Wedding that we had recorded the night before. We turned it off at 1am and still have more to watch! The temperatures were cool to start but the climbing out of Deep Cove quickly brought on the heat. Dave lead us out of Lynn Canyon and we were soon on the Dirty Duo route. I had no idea how that happened (not that familiar with the network of trails in this area) but it worked out nicely and we joined back onto the Baden Powell. We came upon the aid station set up that day for the North Shore Enduro which generously supplied us with some much needed Kokanee! Now that's a good aid station! We had some good laughs along the route. What happens on the trails...stays on the trails!;-) After the run we went for some well deserved sustenance at the Raven Pub in Deep Cove. We were a bit tight for time as we had a party to attend back in Maple Ridge but it all worked out. This morning we had an hour run at Hayward Lake then I went in to work and Neil cut the grass. Funny we were driving down the road for our run first thing, the neighbourhood watch dog asked Neil - "did you sell your lawn tractor"! Sign of an ultrarunner spending too much time on the trails rather than cutting the grass ;-)