We arived at Amiee Farm at 11:10 Friday night. Sherpa just coming off the mountain on his 5th lap. Ready to go home. It took a little convincing but we were able to get him to come back to Dustin and Heather's with us and to get back on the trails the next day, well rested. We shot the crow for an hour or so in front of the fire before we passed out. We had a big day ahead of us tomorrow.
(The Gang Pre-Race)
What a surprise. Rik had mentioned that he was a gametime decision after working the overnight at the Fire station. And to my surprise, a half hour before race time, he and steve pull into the parking lot. We shoot the breeze with Dave and Mike and meet up with Steve L for the first time.
At the starting line there is quite the spread of people. From seasoned veterans, hardcore outdoor enthusiasts have been going all night doing the winter death race, to a lot of younger kids (i.e. the flav-a-flav dildo).
The first lap is always so crowded, but it gives you the chance to chat with people before you are alone for the next several hours. Rik entertains/harrasses the guy in front of us with EMT horror stories as we form a 8 person chain going up the stairs. The snow was so crunchy you couldn't hear a lot if you were two people back so we all kind of paired off and shot the breeze. Turns out the first "olympian" to ever compete at a Peak race was in our little train. Our pace felt slow, but i was enjoying the time i had with my dad and brother. At the summit we all broke out at our own pace. Steve Latour leading the way down the mountain. Sherpa had mentioned the day before that it felt like 4 miles up and 2.5 miles down. He wasn't kidding. I think it took us about an hour and a half to climb the thing, and 25 minutes later we were back at Ammee Farm. Grant and I try to get in and out as fast as possible, catching up to the rest of the team maybe a half a mile from the farm.
(Loni coming in on Lap 1)
(Rik & Steve coming in on Lap 1)
Lap 2 was a pretty quiet one. I had mentioned to Grant that the pack spreads out so much that you hardly see anyone after the pile-up of lap one. It always feels like, and perhaps this is due to my lack of speed, that 75% of the runners are doing the "fun run." We use the time to chat about how our training has been, and what's ahead of us on the year, goals and hopes of 2011. After only seeing 2 other runners we summit a second time. The weather has gone from sunny and warm, to windy and cold, to warm and rainy.
(Clouds rolling in from the top of Joe's)
Feeling refreshed after some chips and cookies we again bound down the hill. The once crunch snow was turning into a soft slippery powder as we slipped and slid down the steep sections. In my head i was already contemplating dropping out of it started to rain. Grant seems to be full of energy, i can feel mine waning already. We hear that Rik, Loni and Steve were out on lap two from Leah and we speed out on lap 3.
The weather is really touch and go. One minute we're sweating and stripping layers. The next we're putting our windbreakers back on. It was almost as if the mountain had different weather patterns depending on where you were on the trail. It seemed like on each lap, it always was spitting rain on one section and always sunny in another. After only seeing 3 people on lap 2, we were now alone. It was only us and the death racers out here now. And of course, the fast runners flying by us on their final lap.
As we summit this time the fire is out, and they are packing up the station. Grant is puzzled. I'm not surprised. One year on my 4th lap the only thing left up here was bud light and a plate of stale potato chips. It's a bummer of a spot to have an aid station due to the exposure, but it still irks me that they can't stay open for the duration of the race. With that in mind, i'm pretty sure i'm done after this loop. I know i could go around again, but the banter between Grant and I have stopped. It's kind of a trudge. We both knew there wouldn't be ANYTHING left at the top by the next time around. I joked about how we should have brought up flying saucer sleds like they had at this event the first two years and slid down. Grant decided, well my pants are slippery, I'll give this a go as an alternative.
So we laughed and screwed around the rest of the way down the trail. Loni and Leah were waiting for us at the finish, and filled us in on how the rest of their races went. And that people had left and it was just us four remaining. I looked at my watch, looked at grant and the girls and said. "well, i'm cold, i'm wet, it's starting to rain harder, what do you think about Long Trail Brewery?" And with that statement, our race was done. An hour later i was happy to be warm again, eating a burger and enjoying a Triple Bag with my friends.
Our final time was 5:55:05 DNF at approx 20 miles. In the big scheme of things, it doesn't matter to me, Sherpa John and I have always said, if you can do a marathon on snowshoes, you're ready for a 50 miler on trails. Could we have gone on? Certainly. Would we have had as good of a time? I certainly doubt it.