Written by Heather Macdonald, Mountain Madness Trail Running
120 miles is not only a daunting distance for the racers but it’s a major undertaking for the race committee to make sure the route is ready for race day. So we divide it up into six imaginary legs and tackle it that way: 1) Cathedral, 2) Trapper, 3) Bonnevier, 4) Heather, 5) Skagit, and 6) Skyline.
In conjunction with BC Parks, we set up a tentative schedule for May to August, prioritize our tasks and create our work calendar. Some of that work is done by our core group and some days include volunteer racers. Racers have a pre-requisite for the race and must contribute 4-8 hours each depending on the race option they have chosen; the longer the event, the more maintenance required.
Here’s our schedule for 2012.
|Sun May 27||5 Skagit||Skagit from Sumallo Grove|
|Mon June 11||4 Heather||Skagit Bluffs and Dewdney to Hwy 3|
|Sat June 30||4 Heather||Hope Pass to Grainger Creek|
|Sat July 7||5 Skagit||Skagit Centennial Trail|
|Wed July 11||5 Skagit||Skagit Centennial Trail|
|Sun July 15||2 Trapper||Calcite Aid station to Trapper Lake|
|Sat July 21||2 Trapper||Easygoing Creek in two directions: to Trapper Lake, and to Centennial Trail down to Ashnola River Road.|
|Sun July 22||1 Cathedral||Lakeview and Centennial|
|Sat July 28||5 Skagit3 Bonnevier||Skagit Trail from Sumallo Grove.Bonnevier|
|Mon Aug 13||5 Skagit||Shawatum: trail to Centennial|
|Tue Aug 14||6 Skyline||Skyline: Despair Pass|
|Wed Aug 15||5 Skagit||Skagit Centennial Trail|
Over the past two years, we have seen an increase in volunteers and hours committed.
In 2011, 35 people contributed 256 hours. In 2012, 44 people contributed 294 hours. Typical work includes brushing, pruning, rebuilding cairns, redefining the trail where overgrown, clearing fallen trees, shoring up retaining walls, replacing bridge planks, and improving sightlines.
One of my favourite work days was July 22 with 2 teams starting at the top at Cathedral Park and working down to Ashnola River Road. Dorothy and Charlotte went down the Centennial Trail side and Don Scott and I went down the Lakeview side. Don had never seen Lakeview and he had the advantage of seeing it from the most scenic location before it descends into the trees.
Somehow it doesn’t seem like work when we get to be on the trails and take in the fantastic views. And to hear what racers have to say about the route makes it all worthwhile.
“It is an incredible race in truly stunning country.”
“The scenery on this course is AMAZING!”
“The people, views and trails were spectacular. I had a blast! The finish area is possibly the best finish I’ve ever seen. Acres of grass to stretch out on with a great lake and BBQ to boot.”