Pick up tumbleweed on pedal on tricky singletrack descent, make transition to road, pedal a few times, pluck tumbleweed from foot, remove glove, pedal through the parking lot, fish phone from pocket, take photo, upload to flickr, put phone in pocket, merge into traffic, chunk tumbleweed into gutter, turn onto interstitial path, put glove on, ride to the light, track stand for a bit, cross street, hop on singletrack to bridge, head on home.
Got in from colorado late last Friday night, got up early saturday and saddled up the breeze and rode downtown for the Ruby K yum Run 10k trail race. It was cold on the way to the race, i was barely awake enough to eat, but I got an espresso, a banana and a couple of blue flavored gummi cliff blocks down the gullet before the race.
I had not really run in a month, except for Friday when I ran up and down the sand dunes at the great sand dune national monument. Barefoot.
So when I woke up for the race my feet hurt a bunch, my quads were sore and I had less than 5 hours sleep. But I was ready to go.
I talked to a few friends at the start. They did a fun line up where there was one start line in front of the post office. The 10k trail runner lined up on one side to go down central and the 5k pavement pounders lined up on the otherside to go up central. The gun went off and maybe 15 10kers took off down central.
The course took the trails behind the aquatic center and dropped into acid canyon and came back up and did a loop by the golf course and dropped back down the canyon more or less to the bridges trail back up and into town. I understood the course in theory, but the exact nature of the trails was unclear. Nor were they particularly well marked, but most of us made it back OK without getting too lost.
Anyhow, the race starts downhill and I am sort of running and chatting with aerobic monster Hans. He is chatting gregariously while I am breathing hard. A group of three of us drop into the canyon first. The initial switchbacks are pretty steep and I am higgledy piggledy going down. I look up and Hans has gapped me something fierce and the second place guy is also a fair bit ahead of me.
As we cruise along the bottom of the canyon a little fast feller blows by me and sprints way up past #2 over up to Hans in a short bit. I settle in to a rhythm and get dropped by the frontrunners. There are about 5 people coming up behind me, but I am cruising along OK.
We hit the nasty switchback climb out of acid canyon and I drop two guys who were closing in on my. The top two women blow by me here and I watch Susan put a good gap on the second placed woman in short order. I put my head down and run on. We hit a trail I have never taken before, which should prove useful for future cross bike rides. I turn my ankle quite well on the low part of the trail and then climb up a stair steppy technical climb to the north golf course side of the perimeter trail. A bearded fellow closes in on me and I wait for him to pass, but he never does. After some smooth trail I look back and I have dropped him pretty good. We hit a feed station with delicious chlorine/soap water served from large gatorade coolers of uncertain age and head south on the upper rim of canyon south golf course side. See?
As we descend technically demanding terrain into the canyon the feller I dropped comes back right on my back and I am forced to pick it up a bit. It smooths out and I open it up and then forget to get my leg over a rock and stub my toe and hit the dirt hard. I get up somewhat surprised that I am not passed. It dawns on me that bearded fellow is great at technical running, especially downhill, but not so great at running fast on the smooth stuff. Fortunately I realize, but for a few bites, it would be all smooth and climbing all the way back to the finish. I just needed to not pack it in and push it.
Easier said than done as my utter lack of run training plus soreness in the quads from the previous days sand running adventure has left me feeling like I need to just walk on home. But with the dulcet tones of the shitty Rufus Wainright cover of halleluja echoing through my head (the one where he enunciates "do you" at the end of each verse instead of the original Cohen rhyming "do ya", it is Hallelujah, not halleluyou, moron. Alas it is Aida's favorite song so we listened to it 400 billion times on the way back from colorado the day before) I press on.
I am delighted to discover that the sewage treatment plant in the canyon is completely gone replaced by a wildflower meadow with a nice clean bit of new single track in it. Discovering two new trails within a couple miles of the house is a great bonus to racing. I see the second place woman up ahead of me while I attempt to drop the guy behind me. We loop on this trail over to bridges and I am on the home stretch. One nasty climb out of the canyon to the finish to go.
As we climb out of the canyon, instead of going straight out of the canyon on the fireroad we turn onto twisty little trails, all alike, but without any course markings. Again, I know what we are trying to do, but the exact mechanism of staying on course out of the canyon is not really clear. I am pretty sure I do it right and motor on back to the pavement to the finish. Turns out I am the fifth overall finisher, fourth among males. The dude behind me finishes a minute or so back and the second place woman magically appears a few minutes behind him after getting well and truly lost on the twisty little singletrack all alike. She still finishes second among women though, or so it would seem...
I stick around for awhile, watch the finishers, cheer for pal Siobhan on her first 10k race ever finishing strong on a tough course, watch the kids race, chat with pals, find that my evil sister "Saleh Tarik" has finished second in the women's race. I protest the results and find myself relegated to 6th place in the mens race due to age grading of the results. Alas, I am old and slow, but not old enough apparently. I am working on it.
Overall great race, needs better water, more runners and better course markings. The course is surprisingly tough but excellent. I will try to do it again next year. I am, as of 5 days post race still enormously sore. I should run more, and get older and faster as well. My back is killing me to the point of not sleeping well due to a tweaked rear back lung brace muscle pull I sustained upon falling. Racing is good. Where the hell were you the rest of you real runners? Until next year.