On Saturday, my friend Rich and I zipped north of the border to run the Diez Vista 50k. I’ve wanted to run Diez for several years, and Rich was game and the best of company. I had heard good things, and the rumors proved true. Diez is an absolutely outstanding event—low-key, with sensational over-water views of Vancouver, great technical trails, and a fun barbq afterwards.
We left my place at 4:30 AM. The start line from my doorstep is 80 miles away. Canada is so close and yet it seems so far away. Why is that? I-5 was empty, remarkably dark on a moonless morning. We made three stops--for coffee, then to pee, and then for more coffee. "Dumb Americans" was our theme song, scored to Bowie's Young Americans. No line at the border. We crossed the Fraser River over the Port Mann bridge, and the breaking dawn views of the mountains and river portended a special day. We made the start line by 6:30, a whole hour early.
The first 10 miles or so of the course are the best. After circling Sasamat Lake, the course climbs through creek beds with running water, and eventually turns to switchbacks of the steepest sort. The switchbacks climb was reminiscent of going up to Lake Serene on Mount Index. The trail eventually pops out onto a high ridge, with clear views of Vancouver, the Fraser River, Burrard Inlet, snow capped mountains, the ocean. World class stuff.
The ridge trail stretches for miles—or kilometers actually ("dum Amerikans...they was a dum Amerikan")--and there are so many roots and rocks that after a while I just started cracking up. Laughing at how ridiculous it was; laughing at how fun it was too. Every step was a game of chance. The mountains were freshly snow capped, and boats could be seen way below making wakes. I took my time, taking pictures, and kind of nursing a tight hamstring.
Eventually, the course drops back down, to Buntzen Lake, which has a suspension bridge crossing to the next aid station. I met up with Charlie there—nice to find an American on foreign soil--and we ran the next section along the lake together, him filling me in on WS. We broke off at the next aid station, and I ran the next section with LuAnne, a first time 50ker from Chilliwack. I ran the last 20k alone, pushing a little and catching views of Mt. Baker from Canada, while seriously hopscotching over roots and rocks towards the end.
I came in just under 7 hours. I could’ve ran a faster time, but I really like how my day went. Rich knocked out a sub-6. Major props to him---I think this is quite fast for the course, which is tougher than C-nut, with 6k+ in elevation gain and plenty of roots, rocks, and mud. Afterwards, there was a terrific barbq and lots of great conversation with friends, old and new. RDs George and Gayle and their team put together a really wonderful day. A few more pics here....