I feel like I'm a day late on writing this race report--the Keep It Wild Trail Race and Mountain Bike Race. It was a Cat 1, Cat 2, and Cat 3 mt bike event, with a trail 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon. As I mentioned in a previous post, I selected the route, and marked the trails. Wednesday of last week, I put 90% of the pink ribbons on the course, heavily marking the intersections. I heard at first that people were easily able to follow it, then a day later heard reports that people were unsure of where the course went, that it wasn't marked very well, and maybe I wasn't through. Saturday afternoon, I went out to put yellow caution tape at all the intersections, and noticed there were two different areas where ALL the ribbons were pulled!!! It is not uncommon for some of the ribbons to be torn down. Sometimes I think people think they're on Fear Factor and are collecting flags. Sometimes animals shred them. Oh well, I had plenty of time to right the ship.
I had also heard reports of a fallen tree across the trail. These reports were not exaggerated.
At this point, all was well, and I was about a half mile from my car with plenty of daylight to mark things and be through by dark. On the start of the Snake Trail near the iron gate, I saw a dude walking toward me, and he had A HANDFUL OF PINK RIBBONS!!!! As he saw me coming towards him, he hid his stash behind his back. He had longish greasy hair and was wearing a half shirt. Nice. When he passed by, he maneuvered his hand in front of his flabby body. I stopped and said "Hey, are YOU pulling ribbons from the trail?" He replied quickly that "We need to clean up our trash. I've been coming out here for over 20 years and he's always picking up trash we leave out here." I piped up "Hey, we will clean up after the race is over, and we always do." As he walked away, I heard a muttering "Just clean up your damn mess." I stopped and glared, wondering just how much of my course marking had he ripped down, and headed on toward my car to finish my marking, but I stopped and glared again, and he turned to see if I was watching or following. I marked a couple hundred more feet, and then turned to follow this asshole--he might have been pulling ribbons as he went along. I got to the upper parking lot, and looked down Lipbuster. I thought I saw him at the bottom, and decided to run down to have a chat with him.
I caught up with who I thought was him--it was not, and I quickly scanned the parking lot looking for this creep. I asked a group of mountain bikers if they had saw a tall dude with long reddish hair--looked like a slob. They said they hadn't, and I was talking with them about the race the next day when one of them said--is that the dude? Sure enough, Mr. ribbon puller was walking across the parking lot toward his car. I ran over and called out "Hey man, we need to talk." I asked him if he realized that he was undoing what had taken me hours and hours to mark. He stood right there and told me he only pulled down ONE RIBBON--but that he was always picking up the trash we leave up here.
I let him know that I was race director of three races on Turkey Mountain, and help out with several others--and that we always pull our course markings after our race. And that there are a lot of races, walking events, people hiking, boy scout troops, etc. How could he know who left what? This race was benefiting Turkey Mountain and the proceeds was going to provide security lights for the parking lot. I told him my name and asked him his. "I don't have to tell you shit." He is ~6' and drives a blue PT Cruiser. When I mark another race, and see his car, I will assume it is him if any course markings are vandalized.
Well, on to the race. I was up early Sunday morning, and took a once-around putting up signs with arrows. All the course was fine. I hung out and took a few pics as a couple hundred cars filed in.
It was partly cloudy, and about 60°. Every now and then, a couple drops of rain would find their way out of the sky, but the day ended up dry.
There were tons of bikers.
Little guys like this, who are tough little cookies riding the trails here.
But there were mostly seasoned mt bike crazies. The Cat 3 riders breezed around the course, but there were a few stragglers.
Of course my main interest was not in the bike race, but the run. The 5K started right after the cat3 bike race started. The 10K followed the cat 2 start. and the half marathon followed the cat 1 start--at 1:00 PM. Good thing the day was unseasonably cool.
This is the last wave of the cat 3 bikers.
The 5K runners await their start. I had Brian's megaphone and barked out the course description and directions, hoping everyone remembered. After the start, I ran an ice chest up to the top of Lipbuster--an unofficial aid stop with bottled water and barley and hops flavored Gatorade.
The 5K was over in around an hour. This foursome were beat, but enjoyed the race. With the hills involved, I wondered if I might be lynched.
I did not get any pics of the start of the 10K, although it started the same way--after the last wave of bikers.
The half marathon readies themselves for their journey. I had predicted a 2:30 to 2:40 time for the Plate boys. They felt dissed at my prediction, and Cameron had said they were gonna LAP ME!! I figured they probably would--and there was nothing I could do about that--maybe hide in a porta-potty while they passed. I was taking pictures while the runners left me behind. I was tired and running slow. I actually stopped at my car, joking to the crowd that I was gonna just drive to the top of the hill. I actually grabbed a Five Hour Energy. I never caught anyone on the first 3.3 mile loop. After a mile, I was running good--the Five Hour had kicked in. Near the end of the first loop, I saw Tom Robinson on the down and back on Lipbuster. I was about a half mile behind him, and ran hard to catch him by the top of the hill. We stopped at our beer station, and while I usually don't like Bud Light, it tasted good. Tom and I ran the next 2 1/2 laps together. But in the last half of lap four, Tom started having stomach problems. He told me to run ahead, and I hung with him for a while, but lost him on the climb up the Fairy Dust Trail. I just ran after that, picking up the pace as best I could. I finished with a 3:09, which is a little better than I thought I would have finished. This gives me encouragement about running FlatRock this weekend!!
Most everyone who said anything about the course said they liked the route. Oh--they griped a little about having to climb Lipbuster four times, but hey--it was a great challenge. The winning time was 1:45--a very good time. I had said that I did not think anyone could break 2 hours on this course, but six people did--including Cameron Plate with a 1:59:38. Brandon ran a 2:05:57. Click here for race results.
A friend on Facebook posted this course elevation profile for the half marathon. I suppose this looks grizzly to some.
I'd say there might be 1000 feet of climb in the race. But to me, the course profile looks more like a crosscut saw. Can you pick it out in the pix below?
And yes, I did pull all of the course markings for my run course Sunday after the race.