Alexis Guigue won the overall classfication cleanly & the KOM by way of tie-break in the first completed Full Moon Frenzy Ultra.
After a consensus on a slight course change to incorporate Harris Ridge, the racers lined up for a 7:20am start. The weather was cool and the sun had yet to unleash it's full power on the unsuspecting racers. At the sound of the start gun they dashed for the narrow logging road and elbowed to gain position for the start of the first climb, which gains 1300m in 10 kilometers.
The main group crossed onto High Trail at the 1 hour mark and began the muddy traverse to the beginning of the Camel Pass trail
With 70 km still to race there was no time to stop and smell the flowers
After gaining Camel Pass they began the scramble up Harris Ridge. With several false summits, it is sure to frustrate even the best peak baggers. It would take exceptional tactics to bag the peak before the rest of the pack.
Alex Gibbs managed sneak past Alexis in the final 20m of the climb to the true summit and grab the first 5 points in the KOM race.
The next section down Harris Ridge was probably the highlight of the whole run, as the scree provided an excellent surface for quick downhill running on a beautiful alpine ridge.
Alexis running the ridge, with Windy Pass in the background (the competitors next obstacle)
There was some mild bush scrambling at the bottom of Harris Ridge to regain High Trail. After a quick stop at the Aid Station (creek), the racers immediately began their ascent up to Windy Pass, which climbs 400m in less than 3km. It was again neck to neck racing until Alex Gibbs launched an attack on the final steep section of trail. The time by this point was 3 hours 5 minutes from the start, and with a large part of the climbing completed, an 8 km downhill section was waiting for them.
Alexis dominated the descent and after a slight confusion on the route near Spruce Lake, the racers found their way again through the Lower Grasslands trail on their way up Gun Creek
In the lower elevations of the valley the heat was oppressive and Alex Gibbs, not managing his fluids & salt intake well enough, began to cramp. The cramps started in the hip flexors and moved to the groin, crippling every technical move he tried to make. The problem was not solved by drinking more water unfortunately, and his pace slowed considerably. What should have been a fast section of the race, slowed down to a crawl.
On the climb up to Deer Pass, Alexis took a demanding lead. Part way up, Alex's cramps became so painful that he fell to the ground and was forced to rest till they subsided. Some food, salt, water, & stretching helped him recover enough to finish the climb up Deer Pass.
Alexis easily won the next 5 points at the top of Deer Pass by besting his rival in the KOM by over 30 minutes. The field crossed Deer Pass at 7 hours 45 minutes from the start.
A 10 km descent to Tyaughton Creek ensued. Alexis was well ahead of the rest of the field, yet waited out of consideration for his competitor.
There was a short flat section along Tyaughton Creek to Manson Creek, where the competitors began another climb to the head of Little Paradise Valley. The heat from the day had built up thunder clouds against the mountains and thunder could be heard in the distance. Not something you like to hear when you're nearing a 2200m mountain pass with little in the way of protection. Although the clouds did hide the sun a bit, which cooled the competitors and allowed Alex to recover slightly from the cramps that had plagued him for the last few hours.
Alexis grabbed the next 5 points, locking him and Alex into a tie for KOM. Alex & Alexis crossed over into Little Paradise Valley (aka, really muddy and overgrown - bushy valley) at 10 hours 50 minutes.
It was all downhill from here. All they had to do was go out this valley (below), around the mountain on the right, then finish with 10km of logging road to the finish line. But what lay ahead was bottomless mud pits, swollen creek crossings, overgrown blueberry bushes, & alder choked trails.
Alexis took a solid 10 minute advantage over Alex on the logging road until he ran into a big grizzly bear as the light from dusk was fading. With only a couple kilometers to the finish, he looped back to join his competitor, where they slowed their pace slightly and talked REALLY LOUD. The grizz was no where to be seen and shortly after they stumbled upon the finish, 14 hours 20 minutes after the start.
Alexis received a time bonus for graciously waiting for his competitor throughout the latter part of the race, making him the overall winner!
Since the KOM points were tied at 16 points a piece, the time advantage at the top of each climb was applied, making Alexis the KOM winner as well.
gold oatmeal chocolate chip finisher medals were a welcome snack at the end.
After a leisurely day by Gun Lake on Sunday, we scrambled up Grouty Peak on Monday and got to do lots more ridge running in another beautiful location.
Date: August 17th - 18th, 2013
Location: Manning Park (BC) to Highway 20 (WA)
Distance: 112 km
Elevation Gain: 3200 m
Estimated finish time: 21 hours
More details in spring 2013