Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Gutbuster #4 Race Course

Westwood Lake is a nice little lake on the edge of Nanaimo. It has a nice flat trail that goes around the lake by the waters edge. It’s also the home of the Gutbuster #4, the fourth race in the Gutbuster series. Today I wanted to try the route.

Whenever I’m in a strange place I always look for running routes. I start with the hotel directory that you would find in the bedside table of most hotels. This usually has parks or walking routes that are close to the hotel. If that runs dry I go online and look for running races for that city. If you find a race that got a website then that’s a bonus. If the website has a map then you are stylin’. Today I hit the jackpot!

Gutbuster #4 starts in the parking lot of Westwood Lake goes east to the eastern most edge of the lake where you find another trail that somehow gets up to Westwood Ridge trail. I say somehow because at this point I took a wrong turn and followed the Lake Trail eventually getting the Ridge Trails. I’m not sure but I took a steep incline to get to the Ridge and followed it along.

Many a time was I slowed by the thought running through my head, “This can’t be it!” and many a time I was answered by coming across landmarks from the trail map. I never actually took a copy of the trail map. I memorized it. (Read as: Mistake #1- Always bring a map when you’re new to the area). But I hit the sign for Kilpatrick Trail in 23 minutes and later came across the Cabin in 31 minutes both were landmarks. Most of the way on the Ridge I was following the occasional paint marks on the tree, two baby blue hash marks. After I topped out there was a fork, one went south toward the lake and the other went north. Because I was at about 45 minutes, I thought I’d better turn towards the lake even though the blue hash marks were the north. I vaguely remember the map showing this fork and the blue route was for a half marathon.

The route south was pretty kick ass steep downhill. But I got back to the Lake Loop none the worse for wear. My time for the route was 61 minutes. According to the Short course map this was suppose to be 8 km or 5 miles. The route around the lake is 5.7 km

The race for the Gutbuster #4 is August 4th. I understand they get quite a turnout which would make this a very busy trail the day of the race. This would be advantageous in navigation but does nothing for the serenity factor.

Someday I hope to get back to this trail and start the Ridge where I was supposed to. I may even take a map!

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