Course

Meet the Courses - Golden Ultra Orientation Runs

With the advent of the summer season - it's looking HOT out there - and the grand summer opening of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, we're stoked to announce some orientation runs on the Golden Ultra courses.  

Sunday, June 7 - "The Tears" Course:  Meet at corner of Bowles Evans Drive and Spruce Drive, we will run the "single track" portion of the course (approximately 15 km).

Sunday, July 5 - "The Sweat" Course: Meet at the CBT Mainline Trailhead (on Kicking Horse Trail & Golf Course Road).  We'll run the "bottom half" of the course, approximately 20 km.

Sunday, July 12 - "The Sweat" Course: Meet at Cedar Lake parking area (Tallis FSR at Cedar Lake Campground).  We'll run the "top half" of the course, approximately 30 km.

Monday, August 3 - "The Blood" Course: Meet at the Gondola base at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.  This will be your only chance to try this course uphill until race day as the ski hill does not allow uphill traffic for safety reasons.

All orientation runs begin at 9:00 am sharp, at the designated location.  Runs are free and are not limited to Golden Ultra registered runners.  There will be a brief course description at the start and then we will set out as a group - if you're especially slow or especially fast we'll try to make accommodations so that you also get the benefit of the run.

We've posted all these runs as events on our Facebook Page - RSVP, post your questions and photos, and invite others!

Finally... The Tears!

Selkirk Slacker in all its glory.

Selkirk Slacker in all its glory.

There's nothing like waiting for it... at long last, we present the detailed course description for day 3 of the Golden Ultra: "The Tears."  

This course was a tricky one to design to make sure we hit all the best trails in the Mountain Shadows network and developed a nice loop with no cross-overs.  The final step of the design process was to literally run the course past a couple local runners, including Roger Smith who describes those very trails as his "church."

While this stage was originally going to be “flat and fast,” it’s not exactly flat and probably not fast (it’s technical) but it will be another great day on the trails, and a fantastic way to cap off the inaugural Golden Ultra.

Similar to The Sweat, runners will start at Spirit Square, but this time head across the historical timberframe bridge across the Kicking Horse River and follow the Rotary Trail along the south side of the river for approximately 2 km before the first challenge awaits.

After departing the river banks, the Rotary Trail kicks steeply upward for about 300 metres of pain, or “tears?”  That short shock is followed by another 1.5 km of nice rolling running on double-wide Rotary Trail before crossing Bowie-Evans Drive and into the beautiful single track of the Mountain Shadows trail system.

"The Big Trees" intersection - you'll know it when you see it.

"The Big Trees" intersection - you'll know it when you see it.

Cruising along Selkirk Slacker is pretty nice until the hard left turn onto Quinton’s at "the big trees" and the subsequent right turn onto Huff and Puff - aptly named.  This “inner loop” gets the juices flowing for what’s next.  Huff and Puff is normally descended on a mountain bike but the views and flow go equally well uphill for runners.  Quinton's and Huff and Puff run through a relatively new cut block so you also get to enjoy mountain views.

As you leave the cut block on Huff and Puff you will take a quick right turn down a steep hill to Kobe's, not far from where you left Selkirk Slacker.  Continuing on Kobe's you head south with a bit of climbing, some nice switchbacks and overall great single track.  

Kobe's ends at Huff and Puff (a section that you have not yet run) and subsequent right turns take you on to Magic Dragon and Trial and Error.  While the trail name descriptions through Mountain Shadows sound confusing it's actually pretty easy to navigate on the ground by mostly "staying right."  

Trial and Error and Rock About are two loops stacked upon each other that are run in a counter clockwise direction.  Trial and Error, the first half, is a fun technical, rocky trail that is mostly descending.  It leads you out to a double track and you'll turn right off the double track onto Rock About.  

Some of the cool rocky slopes on Rock About.

Some of the cool rocky slopes on Rock About.

Once on Rock About you go up 11 switchbacks.  It's a great place to do intervals so they've been counted many, many times.  There's a bit more climbing past the top of the 11th switchback but the primary direction is down along some beautiful rocky slopes, back to Trial and Error.  As expected, these switchbacks are just past the half-way mark on the course.

The "last" half of Trial and Error is pretty lush, forested single track and it leads you right back to Magic Dragon.  This next section of trail, Magic Dragon and Cliffside are some of the nicest you'll run if you like visual stimulation.  There are huge big rocks to run through that tumbled down the mountain years ago and a beautiful viewpoint at Cliffside over the Columbia Wetlands.  You'll see why they're so famous for birdwatching and SUP'ing!

Cliffside - the viewpoint - is a happy spot because it also means that the rest of the course is *mostly* downhill.  There are a few short climbs but nothing of note.

The last 2 km is all about river, sky and the wings on your feet.

The last 2 km is all about river, sky and the wings on your feet.

At the bottom of Cliffside, proceed onto Chute the Duck and then take a right on to Selkirk Slacker.  Here's you're 5 km from the finish line and you'll be running essentially the same trails you started on, but back to the finish line.

Check out the elevation profile and download the Google Earth file at http://www.goldenultra.com/the-tears/.  If you're attempting a pre-run of this course, the Golden Cycling Club app or the trail maps produced by Tourism Golden will be infinitely helpful.  Maps can be picked up for free at Bean Bag Coffee Roasters, the BC Visitors Centre, the Chamber of Commerce or any sport shop in  Golden.

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.  

The Sweat: Vertical and Views

Day two of the Golden Ultra will be no easy feat.  Described as the “Queen Stage” The Sweat features 55 km of running, including 2500 m of climbing. 

(c) Dave Best - You can even see the sweet single track you'll be running along this ridge, far above the Columbia River Valley!

(c) Dave Best - You can even see the sweet single track you'll be running along this ridge, far above the Columbia River Valley!

After a great first day at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, the Sweat moves into the Town of Golden for the start and finish at Spirit Square.  Spirit Square is located in the heart of Golden’s downtown, immediately next to the historical timberframe bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River.  The square will not only have the start and finish, but will also host a Farmer’s Market and (weather permitting) a live concert with awards in the evening.

After starting in Spirit Square, runners will run along the Rotary Trail & Kicking Horse Trail (roadway), heading west, on the north & east sides of the Kicking Horse & Columbia Rivers.  The first 2 km of the long day is pretty flat and “enjoyable” until runners cross the single-lane bridge over the Columbia River and hit the trails.

(c) Dave Best - Your start and finish line are in this square, next to the gorgeous timber frame bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River, in downtown Golden.

(c) Dave Best - Your start and finish line are in this square, next to the gorgeous timber frame bridge that spans the Kicking Horse River, in downtown Golden.

Starting on CBT Mainline and traversing “Take it Easy” alongside the Columbia River the view are spectacular and the running is “rolling.”  Once runners cross the Elk Road and start heading up Gold Rush, things start to get real.  Gold Rush is a “preferred direction downhill” style trail, built for the local cycling club and climbs steadily for a few kilometres.

At the top of Gold Rush, runners get a bit of a respite with the topography flatting but remaining primarily uphill for the next 12 km.  The trails following Gold Rush – Old Age and CBT Mainline – were built in the past 5 years and are buff and flowy.

CBT Mainline meets the Tallus Forest Service Road at approximately the 12 km point in the course.  Runners follow the Tallus Road for about 500 m where they enter the Cedar Lake/Moonraker Trail System and pass the first aid station. 

After getting some hydration and carbs, the course follows Arrowhead, Devil’s Slide and Klahowya out to the famous Canyon Creek.  The views along this section are spectacular, and the trail is rolling, so they can be easily enjoyed. 

Once at Canyon Creek (approximately 18 km into the run), the trail turns uphill for the next 13 km.  The Canyon Creek trail follows the spectacular Canyon Creek canyon and then joins the Little Sir Donald (LSD) trail.  LSD starts in a through a couple cut blocks (familiarize yourself with British Columbia’s logging heritage) before joining the rim of the Canyon Creek canyon again.  Like Gold Rush, LSD is a “preferred direction downhill” cycling trail, but more advanced, so prepare yourself for a bit of help from your hands to get over obstacles.

The end of LSD connects with the Tallus Forest Service Road for about 500 m until the road ends.  This will be the second aid station, approximately 27 km from the start. 

From the second aid station, the course tucks into the Terminator Ridge trail that follows the mountain ridge to the summit of Kicking Horse Resort.  The trail is very steep at times, but watch for cool historical features like the entrance to the Certainty Mine (there was gold in Canyon Creek).

Once the Terminator Ridge trail is the in the alpine it “flattens out.”  Let’s say that there are a few descents, but it’s not super smooth running like runners will be craving at that point.  Feast your eyes on the spectacular 360-degree views of the Purcell Mountains, Rocky Mountains and Columbia River valley, but watch for the rock stairs and technical turns on the trail surface.

The red roof in the distance is your aid station 3 objective.  You'll run single track along this ridge to get there... but watch out for the rock stairs and some technical sections.

The red roof in the distance is your aid station 3 objective.  You'll run single track along this ridge to get there... but watch out for the rock stairs and some technical sections.

The true summit of the day is at the top of the Kicking Horse Gondola and right beside Eagle’s Eye Restaurant.   It’s no mistake that this is the location of the 3rd aid station, 32 km into the course.

From the summit of Kicking Horse there is nowhere to go but down, down and down.  Runners follow resort trails to the bottom of the Gondola, then join a brand new trail that takes them most of the way (hopefully all of the way) to the CBT Mainline trail at Tallus Road.

The return to CBT Mainline will also mark the 4th aid station, at the 42 km point.  After as much hydration and nutrition as their insides can handle on a long descent, runners will continue along the very buffed out CBT Mainline right to the Columbia River.  From the end of the trail, runners follow the same route they did at the start for the final, flat 2 km to the finish line at Spirit Square.

Check out the elevation profile and download the Google Earth file at http://www.goldenultra.com/the-sweat/

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.

Introducing... "The Blood" Presented by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

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.