The 3rd Annual Harvest Hustle was a throw back to the inaugural event. In other words – rainy, wet, and totally typical of Vancouver. I spent the entire week leading up to the run checking the weather forecast and silently praying to the weather gods that the forecast would improve. No such luck. Saturday morning rolled around with oppressive grey clouds and a steady downpour.
Jacob Grossbard, Relu Harau, Jan Prchal, Michael Stone, Roger Wang and I met at the Old Buck Parking Lot at the base of Mount Seymour. I called Nathan Starzynski before we left, and he said that he would try to catch us somewhere along the route. Due to some logistical issues, we ended up starting around 2:30 pm instead of 2:00 pm, but with Relu’s incessant joking and the promise of good times on the trails, the stoke level was high and we started off strong.
Aside from a few mountain bikers and other runners, the trails were quiet. We followed Bridle Path to the Baden Powell, tromped up Seymour Grind, then practiced our downhill sprints on Good Sir Martin. Jacob had a solid wipeout along Rapid Transit that resulted in a ripped glove and a decent knee gash, but he was a trooper and ignored his bloody knee for the rest of the run.
We ran down the Baden Powell to Fisherman’s trail, then up Mystery Creek to Ridgerunner. When we came out of Greenland trail, we turned the corner, and I saw a soaked figure in front of us. It was Nathan! Through a combination of Strava and pure determination, he had finally managed to intersect us. After a quick snack, we continued towards the next big climb.
When we reached the turn off for Dale’s Trail at the end of Forever After, I made the call that we should cut out the final climb of the run. Typically, the route goes through Mushroom parking lot, across Mount Seymour Road, and reaches maximum elevation at Vancouver Lookout parking lot. However, the combination of a late start, non-stop downpour, and a variety of running fitness levels meant that cutting off a couple of kilometres was the safest choice. We bypassed Dale’s Trail, crossed under the powerline, then booked it down Baden Powell and Old Buck back to the cars. With this modification and two other minor route tweaks, our final distance was slightly over 17 kilometres, about 4 kilometres less than the original Harvest Hustle route.
Back at my house, there was foam rolling, Strava faff, and an embarrassingly inept fire building session while dinner was prepared. This year, our feast consisted of pulled pork and buns, squash, pasta with pesto, greek salad, and coleslaw, with pumpkin pie, vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. The combination of the warm fire and full bellies led to some serious food comas and a relaxed night of sharing stories and chatting about our shared passion – trail running.
As always, it was an amazing experience to run with VOC friends and meet some new people who don’t mind my crazy route planning. Here’s to many more years of Harvest Hustling to come!