Saturday, October 18, 2014

Videos: Weekend Film Fest!

Happy Weekend!  
I hope you got out to play in the puddles today like I did:).  The trails are beautiful right now...tacky singletrack and the biggest range of colours we get to see all year.  Get out and enjoy it!  You're not made of sugar...sorry...hate to be the one to break it to you, sugarcube;)

Onward with the weekend!

en Morgen pa Stranda   from Ryan Harris.  I stumbled upon this film today and it is lovely.  A short film that portrays the great beauty of a simple mountain run on a regular morning in Norway.  Enjoy!
en Morgen på Stranda from Ryan Harris on Vimeo.

Huayhuash from Joey Schusler.  The bike adventure of a lifetime.  Awesome.  Thanks to National Geographic for sharing this one.
Huayhuash from Joey Schusler on Vimeo.

And one for the bikers...and dog lovers!  Watch Casey Brown and Poppy the Dog rip it up! Thanks to the Adventure Blog!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Videos: Weekend Film Fest!

Happy Friday Friends!
I hope you are looking forward to a weekend celebrating thanks with your family and friends!  Here are a few great video's to remind us all how lucky we really are to be a part of this great world and this great life.

This weeks video's have a Euro flare...we are dreaming of a BIG adventure in the Alps and have the mountains on our minds...

Some questions for ya:
Do you dream of running in the Alps? ELM is working on our next big travel adventure and would love your thoughts!
If so:
Would you join a 7-8 day trail running camp/retreat in the Alps? 15-25km/day on mountain trails in one of the most scenic places on earth.
If Yes, would you consider this retreat for July of 2015?
Would you prefer to run the famous UTMB route or travel to more 'off the beaten path' trails?
Would you like to experience a Euro trail or sky race as part of this type of adventure?

If you know someone that may be interested in this running adventure please pass this on!
Thanks for your feedback! Email with your thoughts!


Running the UTMB with Anton Krupicka via Victor Rins
"A few weeks back, hundreds of runners lined up to take on the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a grueling run around Mont Blanc that crosses through France, Italy, and Switzerland. It is widely considered to be amongst the toughest foot races in the world, and a true test for ultra-runners"-The Adventure Blog

The Ridge is the brand new film from Danny Macaskill... Just in case you haven't seen this one on facebook yet!  For the first time in one of his films Danny climbs aboard a mountain bike and returns to his native home of the Isle of Skye in Scotland to take on a death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline.

An Alps Travelogue To Mont Blanc
" Shot in the Alps near Chamonix, France this past July, this video follows a trio of climbers as they head to Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe. It is a wonderful three-and-a-half minute film of the journey to the summit, complete with mountain lodges, glacial traverses, and spectacular views."-The Adventure Blog

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Perseverance Party for the Forest!

There are only 50 spots left in this years 10th anniversary trail run for the Cumberland Forest!  Be sure to head over to the Perseverance website to register for the race and purchase your After Party Tickets asap!

Are you ready for a community fundraising celebration of epic proportions??  This years Perseverance Trail Run is a BIG deal and we hope that you will be a part of it!  Here is how you can help contribute to our exciting 'double your donation' fundraising campaign for the Cumberland Forest:

1.  Enter the Perseverance Trail Run!  Only 50 spots left and NO race day registrations!  Choose from the 3k Cross Country Romp or the classic 10k mountain run and put your climbing to the test.  Fun community event supporting a great cause, awesome draw prizes, yummy post race snacks and a costume contest are just a few reasons to come out and play!

2.  Attend the Perseverance After Party for the Forest Following the race from 1-5pm at the CRI beside race central in Cumberland.  You will not want to miss this 5 act, 5 hour fundraising celebration complete with a gourmet chili cook off, craft beer, circus performances and a massive silent auction with all proceeds donated (and doubled!!) to the Cumberland Forest Society. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online via race registration or in person at the Wandering Moose Cafe, Riders Pizza and Extreme Runners.

3. Raise funds, collect pledges or make a donation via our Canadahelps fundraising page for the Forest!  Once again, all donations collected will be magically doubled this year by our generous forest fairy!  Please take a moment to make or collect donations as every dollar = two!  Every dollar counts!

4.  Buy a raffle ticket (or two!) for our Perseverance Raffle for the Forest!  You could win an awesome prize from one of our awesome sponsors: 2 return tickets anywhere West Jet flies, 3 hour guided Hornby Island mountain bike tour with Island Mountain Rides, limited edition, framed Tracy Kobus print!  Tickets are $20 and they are going fast... available at Wandering Moose Cafe, Riders Pizza, Extreme Runners and ELMs classes!

With so many great ways to support this years special 'double your donation' drive, we hope that you will be able to join the celebration!  Thank you for helping us spread the word to your friends and family! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Videos: Weekend Film Fest!

Here...we...go!!!!!!!!!!!  It's Friday!! 

Happy Friday folks.  I hope you are already relaxing, laughing and enjoying the moment...and planning your adventures for the weekend:).  Well...I am, anyways! 

Here are my favourite videos from the week...there is a theme here...can you spot it?  Not very hard, I know.  But these 3 video's jumped out the most at me this week so I wanted to share them with you.  Regardless if you are a runner or not, these videos are sure to inspire you to your next adventure too!

No introductions...just sit back, relax and watch them...

The Ginger Runner: 'Squamish 50/50'

The North Face: UTBM: 'Curiosity'

Rob Krar: 'Depressions'

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Do you have a Need For Speed?!

ELM's Annual Need For Speed Clinic starts October 30th!

 Do not miss this opportunity to take your running to the next level this year! 

 If you are serious about your running, you want to run faster and further without injury.  ELM's Need for Speed Clinic will teach you the smart way to reach your running goals.

Runners who think that more mileage and longer hours are the only ways to improve end up frustrated or sidelined with injuries. The secret to running faster and further is training smarter not longer! Making simple changes in strength, flexibility, technique, and program design will help you reach a new level of performance.

In ELM's Need for Speed clinic, Kinesiologist and Coach, Sarah Seads, demonstrates the key training principles and techniques designed to improve your running form, decrease your risk of injury and personalize your running program. Learn how the science of Kinesiology and biomechanics can help you reach your running goals in this specialized clinic.

12-Week Program Includes:
  • Weekly coached group running sessions with Sarah Seads.  Sessions will focus on specific running workouts designed to improve lactate threshold and VO2max using speed and hill work.  Workouts will also focos on improving running economy, turn over, mid-foot technique and sense of pace.
  • Weekly coaching topics and 'homework' to develop your own personalized running plan.
  • Field tests for lactate threshold and VO2max and heart rate zone creation.
  • Strength and flexibility exercises designed to improve running technique.
  • Running skills and drills to increase efficiency, decrease risk of injury and improve performance.
  • ELM Running Clinic Manual
  • Running Gait Video Analysis complete with personalized technique and exercise prescription.
This unique running program is divided into two 6-week sessions. 
Part 1: After a long training or racing season it is time to take a step back and develop a plan of attack for the coming year.  This is the time of year to focus on technique, muscular imbalances and program design. 
Weekly Education Topics include: Fitness Testing, Biomechanics of Running & Mid-Foot Running Technique, Cadence, Barefoot Running, Periodization: Annual Program Design, Strength Training For Runners, Muscular Imbalances: Identification and Correction

Part 2: In the second half of this clinic we will continue to focus on techniques for building speed and power.  Learn additional training techniques that will allow you to make a breakthrough in your running ability.
Weekly Education Topics include:  Dynamic Strength Training for Runners, Speed Training Techniques, Exercise Physiology, Key Training Principles, Injury Prevention and Nutrition for Optimum Performance. 

Next Session: FALL/WINTER 2014/2015

Times: Thursdays 5:30-7:00pm
Part 1:: October 30th-December 4th, 6-weeks & Video Analysis Saturday November 1st 9:30am-10:00am (Vanier Track this session only)
Location: Comox Recreation Centre, Noel Ave.
Part 2:: January 8-February 12 , 6-weeks
Location: Comox Recreation Centre, Noel Ave.
Prerequisite: Ability to run 8-10K distance or a minimum of 60 speed requirment!
Yoga for Runners Time: 7:05-8:00pm *See details below*


 Winter Yoga for Athletes!
Running & Yoga...the perfect combination.
Complete your fall & winter training runs with a relaxing yoga session designed specifically for athletes with tight muscles!  Lengthen and tone muscles, improve core and postural strength, focus on deep breathing techniques, and enjoy a serene moment in your busy life.  This class is the perfect compliment to any fitness enthusiasts training program.  Runners, bikers, hikers and other adventurers will not want to miss this rejuvinating weekly yoga practice. 
*Option to come for only the Yoga as well.

Next Session: FALL/WINTER 2014/2015

Part 1:: Oct 30-Dec 4th, 6-weeks
Part 2:: Jan 8-Feb 12 6-weeks
Time 7:05-8:00pm
Prerequisite: None!
Instructor: TBA
Location: Comox Recreation Centre, Noel Ave


Friday, September 26, 2014

Videos: Friday Film Fest!

It's baaaaaack!  I know you missed my Film Fest Videos!  I have been busy living my own real life adventures, so I hope you can't blame me for slacking off a bit on the blog.  Have no fear, I have an awesome list of videos to share with you over the coming weeks and months...ideas, adventures and inspiration to get you dreaming, planning and doing:). 

I, for one, am always dreaming and scheming of my next adventure.  The dreaming is just as fun as the doing IMO!  And so, I have created a FB support group for all of us who live to dream, plan and do... Check it out and share your bucket list dreams so we can all dream, plan and do together!

 Beautiful Scotland by John Duncan.
Sit back, relax and let this video take you on a tour of beautiful Scotland.  You may just be adding this magical country to your bucket list...

Beautiful Scotland from John Duncan on Vimeo.

Above Sea Level: Climbing Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya by Miguel Compos Unique video idea that takes you on a climbing journey with friends who appear to be having quite a fun adventure in Africa!  Is Kili on YOUR bucket list?  It's definitely on mine... Thanks again to the Adventure Blog for sharing such great videos!

The North Face: The Explorer
This is an awesome video.  Thank you North Face for creating The Explorer and reminding me of one of my main purposes in this life... Thanks to the Adventure Blog for sharing it!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hinde Sight

I climbed the Golden Hinde.  

The weather was perfect, I had a wide open schedule and the mountains were calling.  I needed to clear my head and figured a nice, long, solo 'walk about' in the mountains would be the best place to do it.  

And so, I packed my pack, planned my route and drove out to The Park for a grand finale summer adventure.  This would also be my very first solo overnight journey...

The Golden Hinde is the highest point on Vancouver Island at 2195m and sits in the heart of Strathcona Provincial Park.  Most people take 4-7 days to travel in and out to the peak from the Myra Falls mine but I have heard of FKT (fastest known time) peak baggers hammering the route in 16-20 hours.  I must say the thought was very tempting, once I knew it was humanly possible to get there an back in less than 24 hours... But now that I have travelled the route and experienced the pace of these ridges and mountains I know a speed record or fast pack is not truly the best way to reach the Hinde.  This is a magical place.  The magic is not only in the summit, or the 360 degree panoramic views or even the dynamic path under your feet.  The magic is in the the spaces... between the ridges and the valleys.  The magic is in the dawn and in the dusk.  The magic is not in the peak- but truly in the journey itself.  

The route to the Golden Hinde is approximately 60kms round trip and forces you up and down 4800 metres of elevation along the way.  This is NOT a walk in the Park.  This is NOT a trail.  This is a back country adventure in remote terrain that should be given the respect it deserves.  Although the majority of the route is well marked by cairns and a beat-in path, there is route finding and navigation along the way.  There is scrambling up and down chimneys, loose shale, root ladders and steep rock.  And the remoteness of the terrain exponentially increases the potential risk.  Back country experience, preparation and safety measures including emergency communication, are necessary to manage the risk.  If you are ready, however, it is a world class, spectacular adventure, sitting right in your back yard.

The journey from Phillips Ridge to the Hinde is a relentless route that taunts you down and up and down and up and down again.  It is a path that humbles you and makes you feel invincible all in the same day.  And it is a place that gives back as much as it takes (if not more).  It was just what I needed.

Myra Falls Mine to Golden Hinde via Phillips Ridge Route: 3 days, 26 hours on feet.

Sidebar: Oh the freaking irony of starting the most amazing wildlife journey IN a fully operational mine (that just dumped acid in Myra creek I might add), but is a massive scar that may serve to remind us WHY we must fight for our greenspaces.  

I hit the trailhead at 7am, tuned in, tuned out and began putting one foot in front of the other up the 80 plus switchbacks to Arnica Lake.  It took approximately 2.5 hours for me to reach the lake at a nice steady pace.  Loved having my hiking poles for this section.  Although my body and mind are used to travelling for hours and days, they are not accustomed to carrying a 35 pound pack.  My legs felt fantastic.  My body, however, was covered in hot spots and blisters from new levels of friction by the end of the trip.

The trail travels counterclockwise around Arnica lake and there are a few tent platforms at the north end.  From there, the trail pitches upwards again and climbs up to Phillips Ridge.  Time for a quick breakfast while overlooking the lake below.  Then it was Up Up Up...with a few bonus downs between each of course.

First view of the Hinde!  Seems pretty far away to me.  Better keep walking.

I stopped for another snack at around 11(in the spot above) once I got my first view of the Golden Hinde.  One of my last opportunities for shade over the next few hours.  It was smokin' hot but I loved it.  Anything is better than rain IMO.

 My little pack.  Less is more!  I had everything I needed for a 3-4 day trip in this little 28 litre pack including my giant bear spray, bear bangers, InReach comms, stove, cooking kit, food, tent, sleeping bag, pad, warmth, down jacket etc.   Light gear does help, but so does knowing what you need to be safe, warm, fed and as comfortable - and not bringing the kitchen sink. 

Once up on the Ridge the views were unstoppable.  The trail disappeared amongst the rock, but the cairns were always there to lead the way.  Trust the cairns.  Don't try and guess.  They are there if you look and will show you the way.

View of the Ridge as it heads north towards the Hinde.  '3 Humps' along the way.  Up down Up down Up down...oh my.  This aint' Flower Ridge people!  I'd say the 3 days of relentless up and down with a multi-day pack were just as hard as an ultramarathon.  Multi-day backpackers are tough and don't get enough credit!  Props to the group of three, 60+ year old men I met along the way who had just finished their mission of summitting every single mountain over 2000m on VI!  Those dudes are tough!  I see my future...

Chimney to scramble down along one of the 'humps' on the Ridge.  Somehow I managed to avoid having to climb back up this on the way home.  I realized there was more than one route to take on the way back!

 My destination for day one.  I was on my way to the first lake in the distance-Carter Lake.  Schjelderup would be another hour beyond and I wanted to get my pack off and camp set up sooner than later so I chose the smaller, closer of the two lakes.  I bumped into two tired boys who were nestled into a tiny patch of shade at this point on the Ridge.  They had just climbed up from Schjelderup and were beat from the smokin heat on the ridge.  They gave me a much better idea of the time frame and terrain ahead of me, en route to the lakes.  I had another hump to climb before I reached the low point on the Ridge.  Then I would be looking for a trail that dropped down through the bush to the lake.  Better keep moving...

 Time to drop down into this lovely bushy gully!   Steep!  Grab onto some trees and pick your way down.  My only wildlife spidey sense experience occured at the very bottom of this gulley.  Just as the trail reached a small creek (outflowing from Carter lake ), a series of big slabs of rock/boulders lined the trail.  I had been feasting on blue berries the entire drop down and suddenly got hit with a very strong odor of animal eating animal or such.  I looked down and saw a nice little animal den directly below my feet!  Had to hop right over it to continue on.  YO BEAR!  YO MR COUGAR!  Likely the critter wouldn't be back until a bit later in the season but the primal scent sure lit a fire under my butt.  When I got to the creek I had been out of water for nearly 2 hours and was desperate to fill my supply...but NO WAY could I crouch over and wait right there!  My spidey sense insisted that I move on and up out of the area, and get up to the lake.  Onward!
 Home, sweet home:). After a 9.5 hour day I reached my my little camp at Carter Lake... Not a soul in sight- so awesome to have it all to myself.  A quick wash in the lake then it was time to get settled before the sun dropped behind the Ridge.  Thanks to my buddies Gen and Kim for lending me a couple of very light pieces of gear for the trip!  They were awesome!  All settled in and enjoyed my Annies Mac & Cheese as the sun went down...

Preparing for darkness...I was given an awesome surprise...a giant moonrise!  Magic.

 Schjelderup Lake, just a short walk from my camp at the North end of Carter lake.  Took nearly an hour to travel to the far side via boulder scrambling and forest walking.

I slept in until 7 (well, you know how that is when you are lying on the ground with a 4mm foamy under you...let's say I got UP at 7) and planned to head out for a shorter day on the Ridge, walking towards the Hinde.  Maybe 4 hours on my feet.  Still recovering from the Squamish 50 mile run and our epic Tyax biking trip the weekend before, I didn't feel the need for anything too epic.  No intention or pressures to reach any specific spot...just wanted to get up high again and sit face to face with the some thinkin...enjoy the energy on the Ridge.  I just started walking...and, well, it's hard to stop when you start sometimes...

Schjelderup Lake at about REALLY did look like that.  The water in these alpine lakes was breathtaking.  And not too chilly for a dip:)

From Schelderup, there was a short steep trek back up to Phillips Ridge, and the shoulder of Burman Mountain. I was getting closer.  It was right there!  I could see the remainder of the Ridge leading to the Hinde.  How long could that take?  Up down up down up down...

I stopped to chat with a couple who had just camped out at the very base of the Hinde beside 'Climbers Lake'.  Just below the scree slope in the image above.  There is a beautiful gem of a little lake hidden there.  What a spectacular spot to sleep over!  They told me they weren't planning to summit...but they managed to scramble up without too much difficulty the day before.  Said it took them 4 hours up and back from the little lake.  I started doing the math...  If I could get to the lake by 12, I decided, I would climb a little higher.  My 4 hour short day suddenly turned into a 'must turn around at 2pm to get back by dark, possible 12 hour day'... It was so could I turn around now?

 After a very challenging drop down to the gulley at Burman Lake and then back UP to the Ridge I had arrived at Climbers Lake.  It was 11:30 and I had been walking since 8:00am.  It was go time.  The image above shows my view of the scree slope and south gulley approach.  I would never have guessed this to be the natural route but there was a little path in the scree, winding its way all the way up.  See the little gap on the right at the top of the scree (small saddle)?  That was my destination... Poles out, slide and step, slide and step and try not to destroy my shoes and legs on the sharp shale too badly...

Made it!  Just turning up the final bit of the scree slope and taking a breather before scrambling up the saddle.  The saddle was thick with vegetation and the pitch was getting steeper...hands and feet now...pick your way up...

Up and over the saddle and then UP some more!  Look at Burman lake way down there now!  The Ridge in the distance is where I had just come from (see the big drop down to the gulley at the same elevation as the lake?  Brutal!).  This is the first photo I took after I returned from near the summit to catch my breath.  Above this point  I lost my ability to comfortably pull my camera out.  It got steep.  It got loose.  It got steeper.  It got looser.   I made it to the East gulley with a mini snow field - within 50 metres of the summit.  When I started slipping I called it good.  I was not comfortable going any higher on my own.  When my belly did it's first flip I said good enough.  What the heck was I doing up there anyway?  How did I get up there?  I was just planning on a little walk about lol.  The plan was always to turn around once it got too sketchy- and well, it got too sketchy.  And...I still had to get back down, safe and sound:).  It was 1pm and time to turn around.  I took it slow, sliding down the scree and trying not to release mini rock slides (not for fear of falling to my death but rather wounds due to impalement!).  I took my time, picked my way back down and spent a few minutes catching my breath once I returned to the spot in the image above.  Good enough for me! 
Down the south scree slope I went...returning to this lovely little Climbers Lake after a 2.5 hour adventure on the Hinde.  My feet were absolutely on fire from travelling in the hot scree for the last couple of hours.  I soaked my legs in the lake and was overcome with pure bliss.  Ohhhhhhh...did that ever feel amazing!  After my little break, it was time to return to my walk about...and back from the way I had come.  I knew exactly what was coming...every down would become an up...every up would become a down...

 It was a lovely walk back to my camp and I arrived by 5pm after about 2.5 hours from Climbers Lake.  I decided to move my camp to the other end of the lake so that I could enjoy a view of the Hinde...(see above!).  Made camp, enjoyed my supper on the lake and watched the sunset on the Hinde.  Once again...the moon surprised me as it rose over the Ridge above me...even bigger than the night before!  Magic.  Pure magic.

Day 3...I so wanted one more day in the mountains.  But, I was out of Annies Mac & Cheese;).  I had blisters on my heels. I had cuts on my hands that were covered in duct tape and hot spots from my pack on my hips, neck and shoulders.  I was sun burnt and my hair was in dreads.  After only 3 days, I was already being absorbed into the wilderness.  I absolutely loved it and wished I could stay forever.

I left camp at 8:30 under the burning aches and pains of my house on my back.  I walked slowly, taking it all in.  Repeating my steps inversely.  There were even more ups and downs on the way back out.  I swear.  The entire journey I had been immersed in the moment...but once I reached the high point on Phillips was all I could do to stop myself from running back home.  

I was suddenly obsessed with getting my hands on a grilled cheese and fries.  Yup.  Obsessed.  

I couldn't eat my snacks.  I just wanted that grilled cheese:).  I haven't had a grilled cheese in years!  I went from travelling without purpose on my magical walk-about to marching onward, one determined foot in front of the other.  I tell ya- time passes a heck of a lot slower when you are on a mission!  

I regrouped and worked hard to tune out the 'mission' and simply enjoy the last miles of my  journey.  Would I ever be here again?  Maybe not.  Would I ever experience something quite like this again?  Maybe not.  Would I ever have the chance to feel this magic again?  You never know.

I settled back in to my walk-about pace and enjoyed every last step.  I ate the blueberries.  I felt the rock.  I listened to the wind.  I smiled at the Hinde when I caught my last view (cheeky dude).  Then I turned down to Arnica Lake and let the grilled cheese pull me back down the 80+ switchbacks and all the way to my car.  Which...was filled with mouse shit when I opened the door.  Nice.  BONUS.

I cleaned up myself and cleaned out my car and made my way to Strathcona Park Lodge in search of that grilled cheese and fries.  They didn't have that, but they did have a wall filled with lovely salty snacks and cold drinks and organic ice cream sandwiches and such.  That did the trick:).  

The shock of a sudden transition from true wilderness back to the mainstream always catches me off guard.   Deer in headlights kind of thing.  Wondering how exactly I found myself driving when hours earlier I was building cairns and eating blueberries in the wind... I desperately wanted to go back.  But the pain of my blisters, the smell of my feet and the thought of sharing my tale with the love of my life sent me running madly back home.

There is magic in those mountains.  Between the peaks and valleys and cairns.  In the sun and in the moon and in the wind.  It's there... just waiting.   Go get some;)