Sunday, May 27, 2012

Barkley Book Fair 2012

The 6th running of the Barkley Book Fair snuck in and out of town on the sly. Friends and privileged friends of friends gathered at the urban wilderness to do a little book collecting Saturday evening. We had 10 runners in the day run, and 22 runners in the night run. I never want this event to get big. This is about the perfect size, so keep it a bit of a secret, and share with your best friends. My day Saturday started at 7:00, when I gulped down some excellent coffee and powered up. I met Robert Ray, who got ribbon and directions and charged into a challenge of his own--conquering the LoChi and I-Want-My-Mommy-Hill. Robert marked the trail like a pro, and I followed him an hour behind after picking up a few supplies, and I began stashing books.My DrawSomething friend Nedra came out to help, and we hid a book on the red trail, and one on the LoChi. Robert called me to check in while midway up the monster climb. Here is a short video of your truly huffing and puffing up the said hill. By the time I caught him, he had topped the insanely steep climb, and was resting on the best sitting rock on the mountain. I was proud of him for facing this challenge. Robert will amaze me again--he is driven. He took the HoChi back to his car, and after marking northward, we caught him just before he made it back to his car. Day course marked, and six books stashed. No one would get lost on the day run. Thanks so much to Robert, and Nedra, for helping me with the chores of setup. I owe ya big time!!

My afternoon consisted of hiding 17 books for the night race. The night course is not marked. I have ribboned it in years past, marked only the turns, given crudely drawn maps, given slightly better maps with written directions, and it seems that people actually like the race better when it is less than perfect. The struggle and even the failure of finding books makes it more fun. I think staying in groups makes it fun too, and I prefer that--just in case someone breaks a leg, gets snake bit, etc. The plan was this year to issue good professional maps, and mark where the books were on these maps. Then, instead of insisting the book seekers follow a specific course, I let them pick and choose the order they wanted to hunt their books. I placed small cheap glow sticks near the books, which could be seen IF they were close. I also used a few cheap clip-on book lights. Thanks to the local Dollar Store! Would this work? Only if someone in each group could navigate around the mountain and tell on the map which trail was the book actually on? I knew the night runners could definitely get lost, but hey--it's the Barkley.

At 5:30 PM, I had 13 of the 17 books placed, but I had to get to the start/finish to send the day runners off. 10 runners tackled the day run--a little smaller crowd than we've had in past years, but I like a smaller crowd. As soon as they took off, my chore was to get back to EVERY night book and snap the glow sticks. Had I done that earlier in the day, they might have gone dim before the night runners found the books. I got books 1-9 lit up. It was still light, and I hoped the sticks would be enough--otherwise the night wanderers were in for a long one. I hurried back to the start/finish to see my day runners come in, and to my surprise, EVERYONE had made it back!!Vicky Arterburn won the race, covering 4.5 miles in 48:19. I missed seeing her finish, and did not even get to congratulate her!! This picture is from a BBF a couple of years ago--when she also did the night run. Congratulations Vicky for the win, and thank you for bringing the watermelon!!!
Rafael Robles narrowly edged a charging Candice Brown, the two finishing 2nd and third in 59:07 and 59:09 respectively.

Other finishers included Wes Rupell, Huni Badgierre, and Mitch Drummond. Mitch rehydrated and began focusing on his next task at hand--the NIGHT RUN.

Kate gives a lesson in hydration. Take the prescribed liquid container firmly in hand, tilt bottle back, and glug.

The night run turned out twice the crowd. 22 runners accepted the challenge of searching for books at night on unmarked trails by looking at hand written marks on a map and quirky clues. I seriously doubted ANYONE would find all the books.

Once the night runners were set off, I still had books 10-13 which needed the glow sticks broken, and 14-17 placed and lit. I was sure I had plenty of time though. I drove to the far north side of the course, and parked by the railroad tracks. This gave me fairly close access to the three caves and the books hidden there. I made those three caves even though it was pitch dark. But finding the entrance to the faint trail head that led back up the mountain onto the trail the runners HAD to take was nearly impossible to see at night. I passed it once, and nearly twice. This is the one place where I used a glow stick as a course marking. Did I make it too easy? Maybe. I got book 13 placed, and then ran back to my car, and entered again at the top of Lipbuster where I ran to SOB Hill to hide a book at the top and at the bottom. It's actually scarier going down the hill than up. All was well. Just two more to place. The 16th was not actually on trailz, but down a gravel road to a place where I bet none of our runners had ever been. I gave thought to going another half mile out, but decided that running on gravel roads SUCKS when you've spent hours running on single track. SO, I made the find easy by plopping the book in the middle of a road in the shadow of the bridge above. Turns out, this book was so easy to find it was hard. Some people just did not believe I would hide it in the middle of a road.

On the way to place the final book, I met EIGHT LIGHTS screaming down the hill running toward me. I cold not believe the group led by Stormy was this far along. Stormy had speedsters John Noble and Tim Eraker with him, and the other five were not pokie either. I had to turn on the jets to get the final book placed. The final book was again at a place no one knew about. At the far NW corner of the red trail--between there and Elwood, there is an old homestead with the remains of some old barns. It is so heavily wooded there, and protected by thick briers, that despite running within a few feet of these ruins, no one knows about them. The problem--in the dark, I could not find them!! My legs were getting shredded, and I was probably collecting ticks in grand fashion. I finally had to settle for a spot that was very near where the mark on the map would lead them. A glow stick placed high in the tree would have to suffice.I placed the book, and added a clip light on the book, and got out of Dodge. But I nearly got caught!!Just as I was nearing the Red trail out of there, the group crashed through the brush. I hit the ground til they passed, and quietly tiptoed out to some quiet dirt trail and then hot footed it back to the start/finish.

The group led by Stormy, which included Brynna, Tim, Rachel, John, Karrie, Eric, and Chrissy--found all 17 books!!! They did it in 2:43, covering around 7.8 miles thanks to a couple of shortcuts that Stormy knew about. Mitch, Kathy, and Russell also found all the books, running closer to 9-10 miles in 4:35. Danielle and Scott were the last to finish, and despite having trouble with the book right in the middle of the road, found them all in 5:28.

Kate, Chrissy, Rachel Selph, Kathy and Troy Moore, John Parris, Wilma, Derk and Barbara made it back but fell short of finding all the books. Still, 13 of 22 found every one. GRRR!!!! Next year!!!!

Thanks to Brian for furnishing and setting up the TATUR tents, tables, sound system, and timing clock. To Kathy for helping set up and take down all the aid stuff, to Russell for his pictures which I borrow from time to time and who always helps pack things up, to Mitch, who always pitches in a hand when help is needed, and who also bought us breakfast at IHOP at 3:00 am. And to Edward and Chrissy, who furnished and painted the coolest Barkley Book Fair Shirts for the runners. They were all different, and all great.

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