Friday, July 29, 2016

Creemore Vertical Challenge: One Week to Go!

Okay, technically the CVC is 8 days away.

With help from friend Everhard who is running the 25K, the trails are ready to be flagged.  Creemore Springs Brewery is back on board to stave off life-threatening thirst for runners after their race.  The race has reached cap (250).  The week leading up to the race is a hectic time for me, so I stop making changes to registration at 23:00 on Sunday (this year, July 31).  This gives me time to focus on race set-up without incurring 18 hour days.  As such, I decided that creating a waiting list would not be of much benefit or worth the time and effort.

Please note:  No changes will be made, such as dropping from 50K to 25K, after Sunday.

This also allows me to provide the information to Enfield Timing, race kit set-up, aid station supply estimates, etc. at a more leisurely pace.  In the past, I have found it is the "last minute" changes that create registration and timing havoc.

Race entries are 175 for the 25K, 51 for the 50K and 26 for the 75K.
Race bibs will be 1 - 175 for the 25K, 201 - 251 for the 50K and 301 - 326 for the 75K.

The above does not factor in complications that are almost certain to arise!

Again, I would like to emphasis that the course is more challenging this year.  Since the Creemore Vertical Challenge is now part of the Canadian Skyrunning Series, there is more vertical.  The old course was approximately 850 meters vertical gain per (25K) loop.  This year, the figure stands closer to 950 meters.  Hence, the 50K runners will enjoy about 1.9 kilometers of vertical gain...  And love every minute!

In the past 4 days, the forecast for Creemore has changed from a high of 24, to 25, to 26 and now it is 28 degrees.  This is the part where I tend to lie, so my prediction is that we will have a gentle rain and a high of 22.  Bring a light jacket!

Parking at the start/finish (my house) is always a bit dicey.  Please try to carpool with your running buddies.  Think of the drive up as a pre-race meeting where you discuss strategy and who will draw the first beer.  In that order.  Laneway parking (the driveway) usually fills up before 7:30 AM, so if you arrive later, expect to park on the shoulders of the road.  Please follow the directions of the parking marshal and note that the driveway will be closed at 6:00 (75K start), 8:00 (50K start) and 9:00 (25K start).

Most importantly, enjoy the day.  If it is a hot one, walk the hills.  You are not going to set a PB on this course!  Try to enjoy the views at the top of the hills.  I'm usually too busy trying to get oxygen into my lungs to look about, but I hear the views are splendid.  With the exception of deer flies, the bugs are not bad.  There will be sunscreen at the aid stations, but consider putting it on before you start.  The creeks and river are low this year, so little chance of getting your feet wet, unless you actively try to do so.

For those going long, Kinga Miklos will be sweeping the course, starting at about 2:00 PM.  For 75K runners, 2:00 PM is the 50K cut-off (must finish 50K within 8 hours), so hopefully no one spends the night in the wilds of Creemore.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Creemore Vertical Challenge: Under 4 Weeks To Go!

How did that happen?  I start work on the CVC in November.  The pace is relaxed, just like a long training run.  In March, activity is stepped up.  Initial contact with various organizations, confirmation of key requirements (chip timing, toilets, police,...) and of course, making 60 litres of maple syrup.  Around June, I start spending serious time on trails and administrative duties; planning and doing.  Every year, I need to cut new sections of trails or remove vast quantities of downed branches and trees.  This year, thanks to requirements for the Canadian Skyrunning Series and an ice storm in April, I had plenty of both!

So, I plug away with my head down, trying to visualize what signs are needed and where they should be placed.  There are 2 new trails (the Cunningham and Harvey trails) and 2 trails that needed rerouting.  I made 250 finishing medals before I realized that sign-up consists of more 25K runners than anticipated.  I am now creating another 28 - 25K finishing medals.  This year, the shirt order was placed on the morning of July 2.  It is the only way I can guarantee that those who signed up by July 1 will get a correct sized T-shirt.

So, suddenly there is less than 4 weeks to go!  I am itching to get on the tractor to mow the tall grass and whipper snip the trails, but if I start too early, runners will be navigating foot high vegetation.  Not ideal for setting a CVCPB.  Yes, I speak of a CVCPB.  There is little point in runners attempting to better their 25K, 50K or 75K PB.  It ain't gonna happen!  Actually, there was a fellow who set his 50K PB at Creemore, but he had upped his training by a considerable margin.

I am thoroughly confused about the current status of Canada Post, but would highly recommend that people do not mail in any more registrations.  It would really suck to mail in your registration and show up on race day only to find you are not in the race!  Note:  All mail-ins are added to, which sends an automatic email to the runner.  Speaking of registration, there are less than 75 spots remaining.  If you want to run Creemore, now would be a good time to sign up!

We ran the CVC course last weekend with friends Agnes and Saj Moktan, Derrick and Everhard.  We took our time and a few pictures, but were surprised to find out we ran it in just over 4 hours!  I run the course about once per month (less when there is 3 feet of snow) and I am always surprised at how much effort is expended to cover "only" 25K.  The new pitch and inclines slowed us down and the new course is (sorry!) closer to 26K, but still - bushels of effort to complete the course.  I decided not to add any more hills; 4 is enough thank you, so the new elevation gain entities will be called The Pitch (about 100 meters vertical gain) and the Harvey Incline (a mere 40 meters VG).

Friend and neighbour Stephen Bridson's (wins the Ontario Ultra Series with annoying regularity) daughter Noa has volunteered at CVC in past years.  This year, she is following in her father's footsteps and running the 50K.  Noa is also raising money for Global Citizen Year, an organization that helps to round out life experience of recent high school graduates.  If you would like to help Noa, take a look at the website or donate by clicking on the second link:

Well, with under 4 weeks to go, I better get back at it.