Monday, September 5, 2011

Rockwall Traverse - Fast VS Light...

Suunto Movescount Beta...

PV: "I don't know...what do you feel like running?"

Martin: "Well, if you had to pick one trail to run, which one would you choose...?

PV: "Rockwall... no question."

Martin: "What's 'Rockwall'? How long will it take?"

PV: "Not sure...It's 52km w/ 2,500m gain. My fastest time is 8hrs, but we could easily cut an hour off that. Maybe two... Hikers typically do it 3 to 4 days."

Martin: "OK then... it's settled. Let's go for it!"

And that was it.
Despite having run this trail twice before, I was eager to show Martin aka the 'Goat', one of the most scenic and classic trails of the Canadian Rockies - And with my injuries finally behind me, there was no excuse not to test the body and take advantage of all the high altitude training we had done over the past 3 weeks :)

With near perfect conditions, we set off in an attempt to see what we could do as far as putting a new benchmark on the table for this challenging trail...and after the smoke had settled, we were left exhausted, but content with the effort.

No matter how well you think you're prepared, playing in the mountains can be a humbling experience - You have to be prepared for anything, and anticipate the unexpected. Blue skies can turn grey in an instant...dry trails can become muddy...your trusty pair of trail shoes can give you the worst blisters ever...water bladders can can run out...I think you get the picture. Bottom line, if you're not careful, the mountains will slap you around like a cat playing with it's pray...

So going for a 'fast' time sometimes means you have to make sacrifices - but where? In order to move quickly, you have to be light...But what gear to you leave behind? How much extra food do you bring? Despite all the planning, you still end up riding a fine line and can only hope that nothing goes wrong. With those thoughts in mind, I think we prepared adequately for anything weather wise - all the 'survival' essentials were present in our packs. I think where we were a bit ambitious was in regards to our expected time, and unfortunately ended up a bit lite in the food department as both Martin and I ran out of 'fuel' with 8k to go. And that's where the real fun began...

I'll stop there and let the video speak for itself... In the meantime, the high alpine window is closing quickly and there's only a few weeks of running up high left... is there another attempt in the forecast...? 



Derrick said...

Loved the video. Looked like an amazing run. Not unlike Ontario.....HA!

Phil said...

Thanks Derrick - We probably had as much fun making the video as running the trail...The problem with lugging a video/camera around is that it makes you stop too often - will have to go back and run it again before the snow flies!

Tom Craik said...

Amazing vid, PV. I hiked that thing a few years ago in three days. 6:46 is pretty amazing.

Thanks for sharing and hope you're looking forward to fall running. It's the best.

Phil said...

Hey Tom,
Yeah, lots of hikers over the long weekend...but always good to have a bit of traffic to scare the bigger wildlife critters out there!

I'm heading over your neck of the woods end of Sept - let's hook up for some runs!

Rene Unser said...

Really enjoyed the video. I am one of those 'hikers' who took 3 days to hike it on a my stagette a few years ago and have always wanted to go back to run it. My TAP partner and I just didn't have the time before the race this year. But I am newly inspired and it IS back on my bucket list for 2012. Thanks for the motivation and great job!