Saturday morning (28 April) I took part in the SuburbanRUSH 30km Adventure Race at Buntzen Lake, which is about a 1 hour drive from Vancouver. I had heard great thinks about the hiking trail network and amazing lake views so was super excited to check it out for the first time.
In fact I was rather excited at the unknown challenge that lay ahead. The race course details and distances are not announced until you pick up the map at the start line, while the mystery challenges remain just that until you happen to stumble along them out on the course. It was refreshing to enter an event with no idea what lies ahead, no idea how long it will take and no personal best time to try and achieve. No pressures, just hit the trails and have fun!
The event started with a 6km (ish) trail run. One of the rules is you have to carry all the mandatory safety gear with you around the course, so running uphill with a half-full backpack was a defiante shock to my system! I certainly did not race around the trails, but I still put a decent pace on, finishing the run in 30 ish minutes.
Next up I hopped on the bike and hit the singletrack immediately. This was the most frustrating part of the race as the track was so congested and the trail so narrow that it was impossible to pass people. Note for next time – run harder to get away from the crowds! Luckily after 2/3km we hit a road section where locked out the front suspension fork and managed to zoom past some of the other competitors. Just a wee note on my bike – its AWESOME! Perfect for this type of event, I actually saw many other Giant Trance X1 bikes on the course.
The hardest section of the bike came about 2/3 of the way through with a 500m (1500feet) climb up a very loose gravel fire road. Hardest, but also the most enjoyable section for me. I love the challenge of me vs. the hill and rode up the whole way. My legs were on fire at the top of the hill, I was so happy to hit the flat and excited knowing it was all downhill from now on. Well I soon found out that’s not the way these adventure races work. The relief of finally making the top was washed away when I had to jump off the bike and run through the forest to find the hidden checkpoint!
Back at the bike it was all downhill singletrack back to the finish line. Awesome smooth lines, berms, a few small jumps over drainage channels on the trail, whizzed passed a few competitors fixing punctures and prayed that wouldn’t happen to me too. Nothing difficult, all ridable. Best of all – no people in my way. I guess the climb up the hill gave me some breathing space and I was luckily able to take the downhill at my pace.
Back at the start line I was handed another map with 7 checkpoints to find. Simple navigation around the hiking trail network for 4km and I was soon crossing the finish line for a total time of 2 hours 30 minutes – a full 30 minutes faster than I expected.
Although this was just a ‘fun event’ for me and not a ‘race’ I was eagerly waiting for the results to come out next day. I was very surprised to finish 19/146 overall. Now I am left pondering ‘What if I try to race it next year?’…