Sunday September 30, 2012
Again...for the long time readers, if you want a more complete recap of the course filled with photos please refer to (2005, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011) For this years highlights, read on.
(nom nom i love ice cream)
After enjoying an evening eating and drinking at Harpoon the three of us quickly get our gear together. We've all been here before. Nothing new. Just standard pre-race jitters and shuffling. Many unfamiliar faces this year. The rain seems to be holding off but the air is thick with fog and humidity. It feels like it's only a matter of time.
The miles fly by quickly as Grant and I run with Roy and "Roy's Friend" from GAC. At the same time I chat up a young woman from New York and another VT50 'virgin' named Chris. We talk about the trail ahead, what to expect, how to eat, what we've done for training, and why we are here. It's a mixed bag of, "i don't know" "because it seemed like a good idea at the time." I always get a real kick out of running with fresh blood. One of these years i might train and be ahead of them (but don't count on it).
The rain started somewhere around mile 8 and we were half soaked thru by the time we saw our faithful crew (Leah) at Schoolhouse
Grant and I get out of the aid station a measly 5 minutes ahead of Loni, Steve, Joe and Andy. Which is either a testimate to how slow we were taking the first part of the course, or really how fast THEY were going. I had promised Chris that at our current pace we'd finish somewhere around 11:30 no problem. He seemed a bit baffled that i could predict that with no watch.
With the long middle stretch ahead of us Leah realized she had a few hours to burn. Just down the road from the School house aid station were these ghoulish little monsters. I really wish she had warned me that she took these photos. Quite a shock when unloading the photos the next day, i think they took some of my soul.
I'm a little bummed that Grant and Chris aren't able to enjoy the view from the top of Garvin in the blowing wind and rain. I found a way to amuse myself by saying, "more cheese Gromit" in front of the aid station staff while piling extra cheese on my sandwich. A volunteer responded, "wensleydale?" We share a laugh and take off.
The three of us 'run' (run in quotes because the photos don't lie) into the new aid station (Formally Dugdale's) in high spirits. It's at the finish line of the VT100, Grants goal for 2013. I tell him when he's at this spot again, he'll be finishing his first 100 miler. The long stretches of walking in this middle section had done a number on Grant's feet so he took the time to change out his shoes and socks, i made friends with the aid station crew and ate and drank my weight in soup and turkey sandwiches.
Again we get out of the aid station just ahead of Steve and Loni who are smiling away and enjoying their muddy day on the trails. We catch a biker or two, then 4 or 5 runners, then more runners and bikers in the next section of single track. I tell Grant that he should check that cooler over there. BEER! He proclaims. It's been many a year since there's actually been beer left in that cooler by the time I've got here. The trail is slippery in spots and we laugh as we slide between the trees.
We get threw Falloon's pretty quickly and return to the single track that overlaps the VT100 course. They've logged the area on the top side of the VT 100 (Silver Hill) field so the trail seems brand news again. Then Chris and I share in the horror that was Grant's GU/Port-a-John experience. And how there was a completely eaten and half eaten GU next to the seat. We try to make each other gag over the next few miles painting a picture of what kind of monster would eat a GU while sitting on a pot-a-potty toilet. We decide in the end it had to be a mountain biker.
When we get to Linda's we know we're well under the cut off. So it's smooth sailing from here. Somewhere around the "5 miles to go sign" Chris turns and says, "Thanks so much guys, i don't know if i could have done it without you" and zips ahead of us down the trail. It was clear to see that he had been holding back most of the day in wonders of what exactly would happen once he broke the 30 mile/8 hour mark. Within two turns he was long out of site. Grant and I continued our standard walk a bit -jog a bit that had gotten us this far, between the bursts of rain.
It's pouring buckets when we turn the corner towards Johnson's where Leah happily awaits. The sky's have opened up and we are now soaked to the bone. Leah greats us with a jig from beneath her umbrella. I turn to Grant and tell him that we've done it. It's 3 miles to go, we're ahead of the cut offs. We could walk it in and still make it. So grab whatever you need and lets get this thing over with.
We've managed to not let anyone pass us and proceed to pass another 2-3 bikers and 3-5 runners since Laura's. But then out of nowhere, a fella we had passed what feels like hours before screams past us. "Back from the dead I see" i proclaim to him. "I just want to be done with this" He says in jest over his shoulder as he disappears around the next bend. Grant and I couldn't agree more. We keep checking over our shoulders expecting to see Steve or Loni catching us at the very end. Instead we point ahead to a biker and say, "lets catch that guy and beat him." The course on the slopes had changed a bit so it wasn't as quite a straight shot as years past and the rain, mud and rocks aided our lead over the poor biker. I tell Grant to go ahead but he's determined that we finish side by side and we haul towards the finish line in the time of 11:32:47. Not bad, i was only off two and a half minutes from my promised time without having a clue.
Chris had finished about 15 minutes ahead of us. He OBVIOUSLY was holding WAY back all day if he had been able to put 15 minutes on us in 5 miles. See kids, training is key!! Steve L rolled in just over the 12 hour mark. I was surprised that we had managed to keep that much of a lead on him after he smoked us last year. Loni sadly had missed the cut off at Johnson's by 10 minutes, but it still was a personal best for her on the course. And now she's got something to shoot for for next years 20th annual bash.
Another great day on the trails. Looking forward to seeing what they come up with for their 20th annual next September already.