Running with Rhyno: Elk Valley Ultra and some hiking

Running with Rhyno: Elk Valley Ultra and some hiking

My memories of running the Elk Valley Ultra in Fernie are a little foggy.

Climbing, climbing and more climbing is pretty much the gist of it.

It’s been nearly three weeks since I finished my most challenging 50K to date. For good reason, I was worried about the elevation and the vertical. Picture 2,800 metres of climbing and most of it in the first 11 kilometres.

Not fun especially when the race start is at six in the morning.

But I slowly got over being undertrained in the elevation category and pushed through the climbing. I was probably the slowest person on the first leg out of the 136 finishers. I could look at the results, but I don’t want to confirm my fears. I finished in 11:35, under the 13-hour cut off. It wasn’t pretty, but I’m taking several positives from the experience.

Namely, I finished strong. I didn’t get injured, and I didn’t run into a bear like others before me. This race was training for my first 100K race next month. I’ve never been on my feet so long for a race, and I could be moving for anywhere from 16 to 20 hours for the 100K.

My next race — Iron Legs 60K Saturday — will be my longest distance. I’m crossing my fingers for rain and for the smoke to dissipate. I went for a run the other night and I had to pull the plug at six kilometres because I was coughing so hard. This course in Kananaskis should be challenging, but I am looking forward to being in the mountains.

I didn’t waste any time or take time to recover after Elk Valley. Who has time when you have another race in three weeks? I had some holidays so I spent it visiting friends and climbing mountains.

Canyon Creek Ice Cave

To mix things up, my friend Karen Jaques and I explored a popular ice cave in Kananaskis, which was discovered in 1905. To access the trailhead, you must run, walk or bike five km down a gravel road. There you hike a bit through the forested hillside before you begin navigating the exposed rocky shale trail. Inside the cave, we were immediately cooled. While we donned headlamps, we were a little spooked by the blood on some rock and the dark caverns.

Tent Ridge Horseshoe Loop

Mark this beauty near Canmore on your “to hike” list this summer. Days later and I am still in awe over the spectacular views. This rocky hike features some scrambling, a ridge walk and fantastic views of Spray Lake, Shark Mountain and much more.

Some sections are pretty intense if you are afraid of hikes. But I definitely recommend hiking the entire loop because then you get the views from all over, and, believe me, you will be stopping every few minutes to take photos.

***

Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to yourfinesthour@gmail.com

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Running with Rhyno: Elk Valley Ultra and some hiking

Running with Rhyno: Elk Valley Ultra and some hiking

Running with Rhyno: Elk Valley Ultra and some hiking

Running with Rhyno: Elk Valley Ultra and some hiking

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