The weather forecast for this past Weekend was for clear skies and high temperatures. This years edition of the Vancouver100 had to be completed by Sunday at 4pm and with temperatures reaching 30 degrees over the weekend, Neil and I made the last minute decision to start early on Thursday morning when temps looked to be a bit more moderate and our work schedules presented a golden opportunity to go play on the trails! We had planned to do the V100 together as a great and perhaps unique way, to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary! We were married on June 9, 1990. How can 25 years go buy so quickly? It just emphasizes that we all need to enjoy our journey, no matter what that may be.
The event this year was open to various custom versions. We had already completed the distance in training runs but wanted to pull it together in one continuous outing. So with Thursday the chosen starting day, on Wednesday evening we dropped water/gatorade/iced tea and coke at various points along the route. Historically we have had the help of Wendy for crewing but with this being a last minute decision and it being a work day for most, we opted to be self sustaining out there.
We prepared our food for the journey which consisted of pizza, sandwiches, soup, chips, nuts and a few sugary things. Knowing that we had fluid along the route was very reassuring as we filled our packs with food. We parked Neil's monster truck on Nancy Greene Way on the way to Grouse Mountain. This would be the midpoint of the 100 Km's and so a good spot to refuel and recharge.
6:00am starter photo at Cleveland Dam. Go Team!
The route follows the Baden Powell trail.
The trail climbs from Cleveland Dam all the way to the top of Black Mountain. It was cloudy and very humid. It was raining with humidity!
There was a detour where the former Holyburn Lodge was, plenty of construction in the area.
Once back at Cleveland Dam we were looking forward to seeing Neil's monster truck that had all our refuelling supplies for the next 50km. The skies had cleared and the sun was low in the sky and hot! We were really feeling the heat. A quick change of shirts, socks and consumption of food items from the cooler and a restocking of Neil's pack (another Team Dodgy joke) and we were off for the next 50km's.
When we approached Grouse Mountain the after work Grouse grinders were heading home. It became very apparent to me that I was covered in mud, bug spray, sunscreen and sweat and a few funny looks were focussed our way as we beat a speedy path back onto the Baden Powell trail.
The sun set as we were just finishing traversing the Baden Powell across Grouse. This is a particularly knarly section that seems to be really eroding badly with no trail maintenance and an increasing amount of traffic that uses it. It's a morass of tree roots ready to catch the toe of an unsuspecting trail runner. I think one can say that generally for the Baden Powell the trail erosion and general wear and tear are making it very technical. Anyway, it's not just tree roots that one needs to look out for! Just as we arrived at Mosquito Creek, we had an almost classic collision with a mountain biker who came flying down the trail in the dark without any lights on. I thought for sure it was a bear and let out a scream that probably woke the neighbours! Now that got me pumped for the dark! And dark it was...the skies were clear but when in the woods you only get glimpses of the sky.
I was so thrilled to reach Deep Cove in the dead of night. All was quiet as the cosy neighbourhood slept (lucky folk!) and the water of Indian Arm was almost translucent under the light of the Moon. Again, Neil cracked the whip and we didn't linger long before heading out for the final 25km. It was a real challenge to get moving up the climb out of Deep Cove. I was surprised how I was struggling so much. Once up onto a flat section my body settled into it again and I was moving better. Neil did remind me that we had now completed 75 Km's of a tough course so I had every right to be tired! Neil was complaining about his back and shoulders from "that pack". I think his only solace was that he had free access to the potato chips of which I heard frequent munching as we tromped along in otherwise silence. It got to the point during the final 25km that I couldn't remember what section was next! (Even though I had just been here a few hours earlier!) Neil had to keep reminding me what came next and provided estimates of time to the next major trail junction and finally, for the finish.
The birds were really singing as the sun came up and it was uplifting to hear them joyfully welcome in a new day of bug catching! For us, it only meant that we were close to the finish! Once we arrived at Grouse the morning Grinders were now there. Weird. I actually wondered if some of them were the same folk we saw the previous night?!
There was no sprint to the finish for Neil and I. No large cheering crowd of well wishers waiting with a morning coffee and a Starbucks breakfast sandwich. Just an unassuming walk into Cleveland with the realization that we had completed the V100 and had truly celebrated our 25 years together in amazing fashion!
Congratulations to all who participated in this awesome event! Thanks Craig for pulling it all together. It all worked out with many happy participants. The post event party was great - it was nice to see everyone and hear their tales of their journey. I think we are onto something special Craig with this "non event".
Not many couples can say they did 100km together to celebrate 25 years of marriage. Thanks Neil for a great 25 years and for another journey together at V100.