Rewarding. Tough. Epic. Those are all words that will describe “The Blood,” presented by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. This first day, this taster, will be only 5 km in length, but include more than 1000m of elevation gain.
Starting at the bottom of the resort, by the base of the Gondola, runners will have a bit of a warm-up before the real climbing starts. ...if you can call an uphill a warm-up. Leaving the base and heading up the old t-bar road, runners will enjoy some smooth surface and reasonable grades.
After about a kilometer, the course departs the t-bar road and heads straight up an alpine ski run, known as Little Ben. Although this is not a single track... and not maintained in the summer, the surface is fairly smooth and easily runnable. It’s not quite as good as the rough on a golf course fairway.
Little Ben ends at the top of the Catamount chairlift and runners will join the “It’s a 10” service road for about 500 m and a nice kick in the face climb... before it gets even steeper and gnarlier and heads up Show Off. Show Off is a winter alpine run that is directly below the gondola. It’s steep. It’s rocky. It’s UP.
After Show Down, at tower 15 of the gondola, runners hit their first single track of the day, and what a single track it is! Known as the Bowl Over Loop, runners take trail straight up under the Gondola to the top of CPR Ridge and over to the summit of the mountain and top of the Gondola. The last 250 m will be reasonably “flat” so plan to stretch it out with a big sprint... or not!
The finish line is a sight to behold, beyond your elation for completing the tough course. At the summit of a mountain, you’re treated to 360-degree views, deep into the Purcell Mountains, along the Columbia River Valley and back to the Rocky Mountains. Relax for a few moments and cheer for the other finishers before you head back to the bottom on the Gondola for a delicious dinner.
Check out the elevation profile and download the Google Earth file at http://www.goldenultra.com/the-blood/.
The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015. Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately. For more information, please visit www.goldenultra.com.