Race atop Whistler mountain

The Whistler 5 Peaks Trail Race was taking part in the upper alpine area of Whistler and was renowned for its steep climbs, sharp descents and rocky and technical trails. This sounded all pretty good to me, the only real unknown would be running at quite a high altitude of around 16 – 1700 metres.

I got a ride up to Whistler with Mike and Pricey, arriving in good time to register for the run and kick back with a coffee. We then headed up on the gondola to the top of Whistler for the start of the race.

It was a few degrees colder at the top and I could notice the change in altitude, breathing being that little bit harder. We got in a warm up jog, dropped off our bags and were lined up ready to go.

I had decided that I needed to go out hard right from the start, mainly to keep out of all the traffic and also give myself a good chance of doing well. It was not my normal style but being only 10.8k, I had to give it a go. I knew that Mike would be way out in front, but had a feeling Pricey would be close, so the plan was to keep him in site. Thankfully he was wearing a bright red Flight Centre hat, so that made it a lot easier (If only he knew!).

We started with a short loop close to the start line, everyone jostling for position and clear trail. I am sure the heart rate escalated to over 170bpm and I was breathing hard right from the start. I was able to pass a few people on the first downhill, someone asking whether I was a mountain goat, and got myself into a good position.

I took on what thought was water at the first aid station, only to swallow this blue energy drink and there started my stomach issues. I can’t say I was ever that comfortable throughout the whole race, my stomach was not good and trying to get enough oxygen seemed impossible at times. I kept pushing hard and always had Pricey’s red hat in my sight.

The 3/4 mark of the race had a big climb which actually suited me nicely. I was feeling a little better and was able to make good progress overtaking a few competitors on the way up. It was at the top I finally caught Pricey up and we had a steep downhill run almost all the way to the finish line.

I would like to think I am ok on the downhills, but I struggled to keep up with Pircey, he was flying. We were both hurting but spurring each other on and I was loving it. He let me take the lead about half way down and I was focused on the finish line. The course finished with a 3-4 hundred metre climb and from somewhere I got the energy to charge up it, cross the line and then keep going away from the spectators and bring up the blue sports drink (something you didn’t need to know!).

It was a tough day at the office, but I was able to register my first top 10 finish and share the excitement of Pricey’s first trail race, with him coming in 11th, a few seconds behind me (a great effort).

A great way to finish off my trail running season in Canada, one that I will never forget.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: