What do you get after dedicated months of training and a strong desire to toe the line at the Knee Knacker in July? For some people, you get the desired result. For others you get pain and anguish.
We met at Deep Cove on a slightly cool morning to prepare for our carpool to the Cypress Top Lookout. It was another beautiful day in a long string of mostly sunny and very warm days. The day before had been hot so a temperature that was a couple of degrees cooler was very welcome.
Once we got up to Cypress Mountain and assembled for the run briefing I counted around 70 people. We would start the day with the Skyline Trail that is somewhat well used but has fallen into disrepair with many blow-downs and new branches to block your way. And there were a couple of very sketchy bridges that I’m sure would not have held up well with more than 2 or 3 people running across. I had been on the trail the day before so I gave a fairly thorough warning to everyone and I didn’t hear of any casualties along the route. Once we came to the BP Trail it was clear and quick as usual. But of course it’s still a long downhill run to Cleveland Dam from the bottom of the Hollyburn Chute where the two trails meet.
As I was making my way down I met up with Glenn who had kindly driven some runners up to the start point and then he went down to Cleveland Dam to do a shorter one hour run. Not long after he passed me going up the trail. Then he zipped by on the way down. Looks like he’s ready for another individual strike at the 24 Hour Relay next weekend. Good luck Glenn.
I also caught up with two other runners that were clearly experiencing the ‘pain’ part of training. Fortunately one of them had been able to call for a ride and the two of them went back by car together. It’s a drag but sprains and twists and sore tendons are a reality when you’re on a tough course like the BP week after week.
By the time I chatted with and gave free advice to all those runners I found myself way behind the others. It was quiet at Cleveland Dam so I got my bottle refilled and only had to hold my ground against a big dog at the water fountain for first dibs. It was then up to Grouse for a mêlée with the Grinders and a steady run to Lynn Valley where I had planned to finish for the day. Only one interruption I found was at about 20 minutes into that section. There were two hikers, husband and wife I think, who were looking for the BCMC. “Old or new”, I said. “Ummm”, I got back. “If you don’t know then you best go back to the beginning and take the new one”, I offered. He was already sweating a whole bunch and they were clearly not familiar with the area. I hope they made it to the top okay before sundown …
I saw a couple of other runners I know, Ran K. being one. He was doing the run from last week (Grouse to Old Buck Return), perhaps for the second time because he loved it so much I’m assuming. And just before I got to Mountain Highway a woman caught up with me that was leading her group of six. They apparently started up on Hollyburn by the Ranger Station. She was very curious why they hadn’t crossed paths with us before that time. But she and I eventually figured out that we had different starting points so all made sense.
I finished up my second of two big runs this weekend by stopping at the pipeline bridge by Lynn Valley Road. Surprised at how good I felt I was happy to walk out to home from there and give my legs a chance to rest finally. But I wasn’t happy to see Bill D. sitting at the side of the road. Jessica was there with him and I felt like something was up right away. And it was. Bill did in his ankle while coming off the steps of a bridge. From his story I got the feeling his foot moved seriously in a way it wasn’t intended. I saw them leave in a taxi and didn’t envy Bill in the least. This one’s gonna leave a mark for sure. Bill was kind enough to send me some pictures later. Just imagine a purple baseball on the side of your ankle. Yup, that’s about all you need to know. Double ouch and a bagful of anguish.
So I won’t be surprised if our group is a bit smaller next week for the First Three Quarters run. We’ll be meeting at Lynn Canyon and carpooling to Nelson Canyon Park. Finding the start of the Knee Knacker is a very minor challenge and parking should not be a problem even though you may have seen some strange goings on at the highway there. There are instructions to the start at Nelson Canyon Park here. Please come well prepared for this run as you will be out for a very long time and can’t get more water until Cypress Bowl. If the weather is inclement then bring extra clothing. It can be cold, wet, and very miserable. This is not a Sunday walk in the park although the snow is likely to be less of an issue than usual with all the hot sunny days lately. Bring lots of water, food and patience. And once again, please plan to stick together with at least one other runner. This is not an easy route to follow. I hope you are still paying attention since you won’t have to pay for parking this time around.
So, we’ll see you at Lynn Canyon at 7:30 am on Sunday June 21 to meet for carpooling. The parking lot is usually open but, if not, please meet right outside the gate and be mindful of the sleeping neighbours.
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