Friday, June 29, 2012

Eastern Divide 50K


by Marc Griffin

Joe Doherty, Jack Broaddus and I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Christiansburg, it was much cheaper than Mountain Lake, plus Mountain Lake has no air conditioning.  So right there I didn't think I could make it, Canadians don’t do well in heat.  It was a short drive to the start and we arrived in plenty of time to catch the buses.  This is a point to point race, so you park at the finish and they bus you about 30 min to the start.  The start of the race is at a nice rest stop with flush bathrooms and running water.  After socializing for a bit, we were all gathered at the start and waiting on the start gun.

As soon as the race starts you start climbing, nothing too bad but it was a steady climb.  You pass a great waterfall and make your way around to the top of it.  This is where my first detour happened.  I was sitting in around 6th place and I could see the leaders when the trail was straight. Well, as I came around a corner, the course arrows looked to me to point to the right.  I followed the arrows, which took me down to a river about a quarter mile down.  The race director told us there was no major water crossings so I knew I had taken a wrong turn.  I made my way back up the climb, figured out the right way, and got to the first aid station, where they informed me I was now in 20th place.  So I picked up the pace, especially on the climbs, and made my way back up to 8th by the time the next few aid stations rolled around.  Really, most climbs were very runnable and most of the course is either on jeep road or old fire road except for the first 5 miles and the last 7 or 8.

andtheyareoffSomewhere around aid station 4 or 5 is where my second detour took place, I was feeling good and just blew right through a set of arrows.  Of course, it wasn’t on a flat section so once I realized I had made another wrong turn I had to climb back up (again) to where I needed to turn.  I fell back to about 12th place this time and had no one to blame for this one but myself.  I picked off a few runners and was in 10th place with about 4 miles to go. I started cramping up pretty bad and tried all the tricks I knew to stop the cramping, nothing seemed to work so I slowed and got passed.  I ended up in 12 place which I am happy about since this is my highest place in an ultra of this size.  I know I could have done better if I hadn’t taken the wrong turns and taken better care of myself.  Lessons learned!

All pictures from race website:
Overall, I believe this was a very good event.  The run was fun, had a few good climbs, some trail, some roads (no pavement), and quite a bit of rolling terrain.  It was much harder than it looks on paper, but not all that bad.  The finish line and after party was very nice, it had plenty of hamburgers, hotdogs and cold drinks.  They even arranged our tents so we had some shade and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Hopefully we can get a good CAT group to go down next year!

Here are the race results and here are more photos.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Trail Work Evening

After this week's Sunday Sixer (look at this awesome group!),

Thomas was generous enough to join me for some trail work on the Rivanna Trail. I've got a goal of making the section from Quarry Park to the Woolen Mills runnable this summer - before all the weeds die of natural causes for the winter. I want to be able to run through and feel reasonably confident that I won't get poison ivy (or rub up against too many thorns, itchy grass, nettles, ...).

I've gone out a few scattered times, and was pleased to find that the sections I'd already done didn't look too bad. This means we mostly got to start where I left off:

I actually did go backwards from here, for a short stretch, trying to tear some ivy up by the roots. While I was at it, Thomas made great progress:

You can actually see the rocks, if you try to run through!

All tolled, we're about 50-100 yards closer to the Woolen Mills than when we started. I'm optimistic that the section we're on is one of the rougher sections, and future trips will cover more ground. Here's where we left off:

Despite being sunny and nearly 90℉, we were mostly working in the shade, so it really wasn't too bad. That said, the creek sure did look like a tempting place for a dip:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

2nd Annual Flip Truck FA

How it all started, 2011

Last June, the Flipped Truck Fat Ass was born. To read the account of that run, see the blog entry from June 8, 2011. I said then that you could mark your calendars for the first Sunday in June, 2012, for the second running. True to my word, Marc, Jason, Nick and I gathered off coal road last Sunday for the second edition.

This year’s run was less eventful than the run last year, but just as enjoyable. If you haven’t run out at Sherando yet, you owe it to yourself to explore some of the best trails our area has to offer. Similarly, if you haven’t made it out to a CAT group run yet, you owe it to yourself to hang out with some of the coolest trail runners our area has to offer …

The nice thing about the Flipped Truck run is that we run a figure 8 course, which is basically two 16 mile loops, so you don’t need to commit to the entire 50k distance. 

Mark your calendars now for the 3rd running of Flipped Truck- First weekend in June, 2013!

Some pictures from the run on Sunday:

Looking east on the climb up Kennedy Ridge

Kennedy Ridge Jeep Road

About to start the steep descent down to Mill Creek Trail

Jason, Marc and me discussing something totally epic, undoubtedly