Trails

Rookie Phenom Joining Golden Ultra Field

Travis Weller may not look like your typical rookie, nor have the running resume to match the rank, but he's only been running since January 2014.  Fuelled by the runner's high, a passion for the outdoors and a world class beard, Travis is coming to Golden in September to test his shoes north of the Border.

Where do you live & train?

I live in San Francisco, CA and train in the Marin Headlands. 

What are your goals for 2015?

My main goal for 2015 is to continue progressing as a stronger and faster runner. I just began running in 2014 and it served mostly as a learning year. I've been coached by Sally McRae since January of this year and have entered more competitive races. My other goal is to race strong enough to begin securing sponsorships for the 2016 racing year. My passions are traveling and running and I'd love to continue traveling to more competitive races in 2016 with the help of sponsors. 

What are some of your career highlights?

My ultimate highlight is becoming part of the San Francisco Running Company family. I've worked there for the past year and it has presented me with countless opportunities. Our local running community is amazing and I am so lucky to be at the center of it. As I am still very new to running and racing, my 2014 racing highlights included a 5th place finish at Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Mile (my first 50 miler) and a 6th place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K. I've raced twice in 2015, winning the Folsom Lake 35K and placing 4th at the Whoo's in El Moro 50K. 

What are you most looking forward to at the Golden Ultra?

Like I mentioned earlier, traveling and running are my ultimate passions. I have never traveled North of Vancouver and I cannot wait to see the landscape that awaits me in Golden. The Golden Ultra courses look breathtaking, both in difficulty and scenic beauty and I can't wait to hit the trails up there. I am also looking forward to meeting the other runners who will be taking part in the races and experiencing the local community in Golden. Last but not least, I'm looking forward to the challenge of running with a competitive field during the Golden Ultra. 

This wasn't enough?  More Travis Weller here:

website: www.tsweller.com

instagram: @beardedgull

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. 


Volunteers - We Can't Run Without Them

Volunteering is better with friends!

Volunteering is better with friends!

Volunteers!  We love them!  Events simply would not happen without a huge number of volunteers putting out a helping hand.  Just like most events, the Golden Ultra is also in need of some super stars to help us bring all the runners home safely with giant smiles on their faces.

There are lots of volunteering opportunities and we encourage you to select something that interests you.  The more detail you provide on your sign-up form, the better!  The volunteer sign-up form is now online (or click "volunteer" under the Details menu). 

Here are a few of our critical and very interesting roles:

Aid Station - if you have a group of 5 or more people (and a vehicle) you can qualify to host one of our aid stations!  We will provide you with all of the required supplies, a $150 donation to a charity of your choice, and a small budget to get some more food, costumes or bling to really make your zone memorable.

Course Marshal - Course marshals are a critical part of our safety plan.  We need singles or pairs to stand on course to assist in directing runners in the right direction, recording runner numbers & times for our timing and safety program, and cheering.  If you've got some knowledge of the Golden trails (or are good with maps) this could be a great role for you.  It's also fantastic for somebody who can only volunteer for a partial day.

Course Crew - You like to combine your volunteering with exercise?  Well... have we got a role for you.  We need some keeners to help with marking and cleaning up the course.  You get to do it all (on foot or bike) and you get some swag in return!

Finish Line - Ideal for the person who likes to get sweaty hugs and be on the front line of celebrating huge achievements.  We need a few superstars to welcome runners to the finish, make sure they get some nutrition, refreshment and their finisher award.

Registration & Information - If clerical duties at a high rate of efficiency and cheer is your forte, we'd love to have you on our registration and information team.  You'll be the front line of of answering questions, providing information and handing out bibs, swag and smiles.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC, Canada.  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.

On Yoga and Golden Love: Jessica Pyper Profile

The yoga and trail running retreat is filling up fast and now only a few weekends away, so we thought it high time we shared some information on our Golden local yoga instructor, Jessica Pyper.  Jessica will be working with Kristen Stuart leading the yoga classes and Elinor Fish will guide the running practise.

Tell us a bit about yourself... 

I am a yoga student and teacher. I grew up in Grimsby, ON and moved to Golden, BC in 2009 to spend more time in the mountains snowboarding and studying and I just never left. A typical day for me looks like this: wake up, do some computer work for my business (marketing, social media, planning retreats, etc.), practice yoga, eat breakfast, get outside (either snowboarding or mountain biking- seasonally dependant), garden/house work, dinner, more computer work or work at the restaurant or hang out with friends. For work, I teach yoga classes, SUP yoga classes, workshops, and retreats. I also give Reiki treatments and currently work at a restaurant in town, too. 

When did you start practising yoga?  Why?  What do you love about it - what keeps you practising?

I started practicing yoga when I was 19 - only a few classes here and there. I gradually began practicing more and more and now I aspire to practice everyday if I can. I starting practicing yoga for the physical benefits and kept developing my practice because of all the other amazing aspects of yoga. I love yoga because it centres me and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin. I have an identical twin sister, so growing up was quite a challenge for me - I never felt like I had my own sense of identity and I didn’t really like myself too much. I was always wanting to be someone else- which sounds sad, but it wasn’t, I was very loved… just not by myself. Practicing yoga has really taught me to love myself as I am- it’s the best thing in the world.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

Jessica with some garden rewards.

What do you like about teaching yoga?

My favourite part of teaching yoga is teaching my students to love themselves, teaching gratitude, and helping them release their fears. My class is very physical, too, but my biggest focus as a teacher is teaching love.

Where do you find your inspiration for your classes?

I find inspiration for my classes all over the place- usually from my students. I never plan my classes and I base my teaching on the energy level of the group and I always teach a class around the needs of the group that day. Music also inspires me a lot, whenever I create a new playlist, I get pretty excited to teach! 

Why Golden?

I like Golden because of the amazing mountains here. We have such awesome mountain biking and snowboarding- Kicking Horse is the best resort I’ve been to yet. I LOVE the small town vibes and the people here are so rad. If the mountains don’t humble you, the people here will for sure.

What do you think are the most important poses for runners to practise?

Some yoga poses I enjoy after running are hamstrings; any type of forward fold either standing or seated will stretch out your hammies and your lower back. Downward dog is great because it stretches the calves, hamstrings, and back. I also really enjoy low lunges, with the back knee on the ground; if its available, grab the back foot for a deeper thigh stretch. Lastly, legs up the wall is my favourite all-around restorative pose.

Thanks for sharing, Jessica!

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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. 

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.  

ScatBelt Keeping You Safe in Bear Country

(c) Scat Belt - The Griz, featured in the Golden Ultra monthly prize packs.

(c) Scat Belt - The Griz, featured in the Golden Ultra monthly prize packs.

As passionate trail runners and nature advocates the Golden Ultra organizers are super excited to partner with ScatBelt.  ScatBelt manufactures belts that comfortably carry bear spray and other small items while you’re out running.

“I carried bear spray in my hand for years until I got a ScatBelt,” shares local trail runner, Sabrina Grecu.  “There was just not a good option for runners.  All of the existing holsters were designed to hook onto belts – great for hikers, not so much for runners.  The ScatBelt is awesome because I can also put my phone and car keys in it and it does not chafe or bounce.”

While it is unlikely that you’ll be greeted by a wild bear on the trails of Golden during the Golden Ultra, organizers are recommending that all runners consider carrying bear spray in the event and as part of their training.  Bear spray is the most effective deterrent for bears and other large animals that pose a threat to runners – including deer, elk or large cats. 

In a recent study in Alaska, 72 people used bear spray on a bear at close range and 98% of people who used it were uninjured.  The minor injuries that occurred didn't require hospitalization.

Our monthly prize packs feature the Griz Scat Belt.

Our monthly prize packs feature the Griz Scat Belt.

It’s always better to just avoid bear encounters by making noise, traveling in groups and being aware of your surroundings.  Consider training without ear buds or with only one in.  In case you do have a bear encounter, know that the bear spray you are carrying is the most effect deterrent for stopping an approaching or charging bear.

“I run with bear spray because I’d just rather have it with me if I see a bear.  It’s kind of like my insurance policy.  I love to be out in nature and do some pretty big mountain runs so it’s the safest choice when I think about coming home to my 18-month-old boy.”

Scat Belts are available online (www.scatbelt.com) and will also be available at the Golden Ultra.

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.