Starting at 5:08am from McDonalds on Banff Ave, I headed up Cascade with my first pacer and good friend Alison. We encountered a thin layer of fresh snow on the final summit push, fairly cold and windy conditions for mid August, and sadly no views. The descent was uneventful and all in all, Cascade round trip felt very comfortable pace-wise. I fuelled on gels, some Torq liquid calories and 2L water for the first peak. At the 35km mark, we stopped for about 10 minutes at my car parked behind McDonalds to pick up my pacer for Rundle, Andy Reed. I fuelled on pierogies, pepsi and oreos while I changed my socks and swapped tights for shorts.
I had hoped to complete Rundle in 4.5 hours round trip from the trailhead (on the Golf Course). Andy kept great company as we alternated between jogging and powerhiking until we reached the Dragon's back. I had a few minor bonks on Rundle, but managed them by easing off pace and eating more as soon as I started to fade. Weather threatened in the distance, and while the peak was cold and windy, conditions were primo with no snow at the summit. We took some photos at the top and stopped twice on our way down after scree skiing, to empty rocks from our shoes. The run out of Rundle felt controlled and comfortable, and I was surprised when we returned to the golf course trailhead in about 3 hours 50 minutes. For the first time, I managed to go up and down Rundle without cursing that mountain. Rundle's fuel was more gels, Torq and a Raspberry Pop tart.
My boyfriend Andrei surprised us at the golf course and provided some much needed sips of coke before we headed up to the Sulphur trailhead, getting there about 45 minutes earlier than I had anticipated for the day. A quick 5 minutes at the Sulphur trailhead was spent changing socks, eating oreos, refilling water and meeting up with Saira, Martine and Andrei to pace me on Sulphur. We powerhiked most of Sulphur, with some running, I felt pretty good and the awesome pacers kept me entertained with conversation. We navigated the tourists and made it to Sanson's peak at around 11 hrs 22 minutes elapsed, so my goal became to finish the final 10km descent in less than an hour. We moved well down Sulphur and then the road into town, throwing on our mandatory masks(because, Covid) as we rolled onto Banff Ave and clocked in at 12:19:33.
I had a strong day and the best support I could have asked for out there.