I didn’t get in. Even with 50/50 odds I still overestimated the likelihood my name would be called. But that’s OK! I’ll try again next year. Congrats to all those who got in!
In any case, I’ve re-focused my attention on the Ultra-Trail Harricana (UTHC) 65k this September. UTHC is held deep in the Quebec backcountry on a point-to-point course stretching from Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie National Park to the Mont Grand-Fonds Ski Center in Charlevoix, covering half of La Traversée de Charlevoix. Oh, and it’s the only Canadian stop on the Ultra Trail World Tour. And it’s a UTMB qualifier. Basically it seems like the best trail event in Eastern Canada.
The remoteness of this race is a major attraction for me, as is the requirement to be semi-autonomous. For the 65k distance there are 5 aid stations, meaning you need to be able to support yourself for a while between them, especially given the range of weather possible at this time of year in the region. And I might even see a bear! Awesome. I had a hard time deciding between the 65k and the 80k, which is only offered every two years, and would have been my first 50 miler. In the end I realized there’s no rush to move up to that distance, and that the 65k certainly looks like a big enough challenge. But then again it is only another 15k…
Given that UTHC is later in the year than the Knee Knacker, I haven’t started a true training block yet. My plan is to not swing for the fences until I have to, primarily to reduce the strain placed on my family when the miles start to add up. At this point I’m laying down a base of 30-35k and 500-750m of vert per week. I’m taking 3 days off per week and going for one “longer” weekend run topping out around 13k.
Ideally, I’d like to build up to a couple weeks as close to 100k as I can get, including some back-to-back long runs and a couple build-up races. I’d peak mid-late August and taper from there. BUT training rarely goes to plan so we’ll see how it plays out.
In the near-term, I’d like to run the MEC hill climb challenge in June, and (if it happens) potentially the North Face Endurance Challenge in July. I’ll probably keep my running flat through March, then build up a bit starting in April, mostly adding vert and a bit of mileage in advance of the MEC race.