It truly is a grind. But if it that’s what it takes to qualify me as an honorary Vancouverite, as well as tone my legs in the process, I’ll take it.
As I understand it, there are a few things you just have to do when you’re in Vancouver–Whistler, Siegel’s bagels, Granville Island, bike the seawall, watch the Whitecaps (duh), and, of course, take on The Grind.
A few weeks ago the ladies and I met up in Yaletown for dinner and maybe a drink or two, and the topic of the Grouse Grind came up. I hadn’t heard of it prior, so I was intrigued. I knew Vancouver had great trails and mountains and hiking, but had yet to partake in that aspect of the city yet. We all agreed it was something we had to do, and subsequently volunteered the guys to watch the kids one afternoon so we could sweat and swear our way up the mountain.
The day arrived, and between trades, sore backs and a general disinterest in putting oneself through voluntary torture, our group had dwindled down to two, me and Krista. I had been up since 5 that morning due to a spritely toddler and was lounging on the couch eating a cookie while Matt was telling me he couldn’t wait to hear how slow my time was going to be. At that point I couldn’t really argue with him. I felt less than motivated, and I’m not sure the cookie was going to help my chances. Still, if I could get an afternoon off of chasing around one kid who falls on his head constantly and perpetually reminding the other kid that she doesn’t need to scream in my ear while making cup after cup of brew for the Englishman, I was gonna take it. Off I went.
A few puffs of the mountain air and some Vancouver sun woke me up a bit, and I was actually feel quite energized and ready to kill it. We made our way past all the hard core hikers, stretching and strategizing at the bottom, and just went for it. Within about 60 seconds my lungs and legs were screaming at me as Krista explained that the halfway mark is not really the halfway mark, since those markers divide increases in elevation rather than distance. At that point I was just hoping I could take the next step, let alone get to the halfway point, wherever it was.
Thankfully, we got into a groove and actually had a really good conversation, which passed the time quickly and allowed me to not want to kill myself after each step. Krista was a pro and gave me some really helpful tips on how to climb it smartly. I wanted to stop so badly, but I knew that if I gave in and stopped for a real rest break, I wouldn’t want to keep going. So, onward and upward we plugged.
Besides birthing my daughter (Theo, bless his heart, was much less intense) I don’t think I’ve ever been more happy to see the end in sight before. I even started getting excited, thinking about our time and how badly I wanted to break an hour and hoping my stopwatch was going to read in the 50’s. I could feel my competitive nature emerging, even if I was only competing with myself. Unfortunately, I slowed Krista down and increased her time by about 4 minutes. I know who she’s not taking with her next time. Slow poke.
Cross that one off the Vancouver bucket list and add honorary Vancouverite to my list of titles, next to mommy, wifey, maid and tea maker. Slow poke or not, I did it.
View from the top.
Our ride down.
A little blondie taking in the sights. She made me miss Evelyn in that moment. I know she would’ve loved that ride.