It isn’t easy to pull off a flawless first-year event. But the aptly-named Golden Ultra, held in Golden, British Columbia, on September 18-20, was, indeed, golden, thanks to a gracious municipal host, a bevy of volunteers and an outstanding race director.

The Golden Ultra is triumvirate of running that’s comprised of: (1) the “Blood,” on Friday afternoon, a vertical kilometer that heads straight up the ski slopes of Kicking Horse Resort, peaking out at the top of the gondola in about five kilometers of access road, grass, rock and trail. The ride down goes over a grizzly refuge where Boo, a 700-pound gentle giant who was orphaned when his mother was shot by a poacher, sits, forages and appears to enjoy his observers and caretakers; (2) Saturday’s “Sweat,” starting and ending in downtown Golden and covering 36 miles of mostly singletrack with more than 6,500 in elevation gain and a long ridge-line ascent featuring tremendous views of Canyon Creek, a deep gorge below, and some rocky maneuvering up a high ridge that is the Dogtooth Range of the Purcell Mountains; and (3) the “Tears” of Sunday, a half marathon of flowing singletrack that also starts and finishes in Golden, with a much more runnable 1,250 in gain. Participants can race all three or mix and match and can also do the event as a relay.


By Nichols