I signed up for Trail Cross a couple months ago and time just got away from me and now we’re less than two weeks out and I still haven’t talked about this really cool event!
If you’re a Winter Olympics fan you will have heard of Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross, or if you know Crashed Ice as well. Trail Cross is like that, but for trail running instead. It’s a short course (only 1-2 km) so runners of all abilities as well as non runners can all compete in this event.
There’s events across the country but I’ll be participating at the Burlington Ontario event. And as luck has it, the event is being held at City View Park/Kernclif Park, the very location the MEC trail group meets every Thursday.
What to Excpet
The event starts at City View which means the first bit of the course will be on flat wood chip trail. But that’s the last of flat you’ll be meeting. Though the course map will not be revealed until race day, the route will head down into the Kerns (or Bruce side trail and then Kerns) trails. There are a few access points that can be used but all have 1 thing in common, downhill, steep and long. All but 1 access point are nice wide groomed trails. The final is narrow and unevan (has 2 levels) so bit more technical and you’ll need to watch your footing. Once down in to Kerns, no matter were we end up, it was be constant hills (enough to make many MEC runners groan when we do these trails, but you’ll find runners a big group of babies most of the time, these hills are actually nice, some of us cheer about running them), the trails are pretty wide (easier for passing) and groomed but there still the odd tree root to watch out for.
To get back out, well maybe we’ll climb one of the big long steep uphills, these hills out will make you want to curse constant prophabities, no hill you encounter within Kerns will compare to the ones leading out.
Another option I think would be a great route for this course, the rock climb out. These ‘steps’ are big and would definitely appeal to the crossfitters this race also targets. This is not the easy way out, there is no easy way out. Whatever route it chosen, the end is going to suck, suck alot. But then you’ll be out. And the ground will finally be flat again. And you’ll be done… Ready to do it all again! Because this is a heat style event and all racers, even if you come last, get the chance to run it again to see if they can fight their way to the front after knowing the route. Or if they’ll fall to the back after having exhausted themselves in the first heat.
This is a mental, strategic game more than anything. The short course means you can take it a top speed and don’t need to be a distance runner to participate. But the hills and repeats mean you gotta hold back, and find ways to make the most of your recovery between heats. Distance runners have an initial disadvantage over crossfitters or shorter distance runners because we’re not speedy and don’t spend much time training for those short bursts, but remember we’re built for endurance so we may just come up from behind ;).
Learn more and sign up today and use discount code TRAILX20 to get 20% off.
See you there!