The "Flatter" Course: In the early days I used to promote 2 different races, the "Flat" Course and the "Hilly" Course, but too many people yelled at me after running the Flat Course, saying it wasn't flat at all.
This is the Ark and the Gatineau Hills after all! So yes, the Flatter Course does have some hills, but it's the flattest I could come with.
This course starts with the shortest possible uphill of all the options, but it will leave you a "bit" winded nonetheless. But once you've made it, the trail honestly does flatten out before descending down one of the steepest trails on my property.
Once at the bottom, you make a left turn and head into "The Meadow". This is where I let my horses graze in the summer. This section can be a bit tricky in the summer months because of the uneven hoof prints, but this isn't an issue on a snow packed course.
The course travels to the other end of the meadow and into a coniferous with some mild elevation change before emerging into the hay field.
This is another flat, fast section before entering a beautiful section amongst the balsam firs.
Eventually though, you'll make it back to the Ark property and back to the more twisty turny single track and hills.
The course ends with one last moderate climb before the screaming downhill to the finish line, brownies and beer!
If you haven't ran on snowshoes at night in the woods with a large group of people, you don't know what you're missing!
"Magical".... that's really the only word for it.
Through the trees you see the other runners racing their race.
The light shines off their heads and twinkles off the snow.
All you hear is your breathing and footsteps. So much fun...
This course itself isn't exactly "flat" but after the first climb from the start line, it's just a continuum of ups and downs.
There really isn't anything overly steep and it's all perfectly runnable.
I tried to include as many large and small switchbacks as possible so you're never alone in the dark and you can always see the lights dancing amongst the trees.
Since this is the last race of the series, I figured I should do everything I could to make it last...
So for that reason, the Season Finale is going to take place on my infamous "Hilly" course.
Yup, this is the course that ascends what my neighbors call "the mountain".
And yes we go all the way to the top!
The course starts with a fairly significant climb to the top of the hill behind The Ark.
Then you twist and turn a bit before descending down a relief to the sugar shack.
There's about 600m of up and down, left and right before you start climbing in earnest.
It's about a half a kilometer climb to the top. Once there, is more mild ups and downs with some moderate twists and turns.
What goes up, must come down!
And this is why the Atlas 10k'ers sign up for two loops. Because ripping down the mountain on a super moderate grade is so much fun!
This really is a fantastic course with something for everyone. A terrific way to end the season....
Unless of course we see you next week for the world's only Snowshoe Backyard Ultra!