It starts with a 4000' climb in the first five miles. That took almost two hours. Then come the downhills, but they are so technically challenging that you don't get to make up much time. In fact, it's hard to ever get into much of a consistent rhythm before a new mass of rocks and roots slows you down as you gingerly pick out a route.
Running the first downhill, through a ski area that will be part of the 2010 Olympics, I was following a veteran runner who was later described to me as a sort of kamikaze runner- fearless on downhills. He did pretty good for awhile but eventually I got impatient with him and zipped past him. Someday I'm going to take a spectacular fall on a downhill, but fortunately today wasn't the day. I passed people (71 of them!) the rest of the way and the last four miles were such that I was able to really let go and run all out.
Because I had been going relatively slow most of the day I finished the race feeling fresh and ready to keep going. I finished in 7:24 after aiming for a sub-7 finish. I ran the first half in 3:47 and the second half in 3:37. 7th out of 27 in my age group.
The views were fantastic, the forest was beautiful, the alpine sections had a bit of snow and mud but all in all this was one of the most beautiful courses and funnest races I have run. Not many Yankees head up to BC for this race, but Vancouver is a great town and y'all should consider a summer vacation to BC sometimes soon, with KK as part of your plan (if you get selected in the lottery!).