Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Red Dirt Shuffle Review

It's time to put my thoughts together with these pictures that I have had loaded for a couple of days. Last Sunday was the first of many years for the Red Dirt Shuffle, a halfish marathon and a quarter-sorta marathon. I have played on these trailz a few times before, and I knew the first time I ran here that this would be an awesome place for a race.

Lake McMurtry publishes a decent trail map--not loaded with details, but you can at least tell there is a trail going around the lake and if you look carefully, you can navigate the turns.  

The half and quarter ran different loops. The quarter had the easier and shorter south loop, while the half had the more technical and longer north loop to do before finishing with the south loop.

We had quite a few more halfers that quarter horses.

I was happy to have 100 sign up and 85 show up for this event.

The north loop was run in the counterclockwise direction. The course can best be described as an out and back with offshoot loops on the way back. At times, you might see runners coming back your way, but for the most part, you only saw who might be just ahead or behind you.

I spent Saturday marking, using only styrofoam plates with arrows tacked to trees. Where it was feasible, I put wrong way signs on the trailz that you were NOT supposed to go on.

A nice view of the lake greeted the half marathoners in a couple of spots. The quarter had a couple of distant views.

Like wooden bridges--these trails have them.

Near the aid station and about half way through the north loop, the trail crosses this powerline easement. I think a trail addressing these rolling hills would be a good addition.

There's a little bit of everything on this trail system. You have roots and rocks, sandy trails, trails through meadows, through thick wooded areas, on pine needles, through briers, and tropical reeds.

The south trailz had an easier track. I rode my mountain bike on the north side and it about killed me. I think I could ride thew south side without pushing my bike near as much.

The mt bike riders in the area do a LOT of trail maintenance here. About a mile of new trail had been cut in the past few months replacing sections with erosion issues. Every foot of the trail seems to be well thought out.

Building these bridges means lugging lots of heavy treated lumber a long distance into the woods. Their dedication is commendable.

A narrow downhill spiral. A runner ahead stretches it out while I stop for a picture.

This was my favorite bridge. Instead of dragging a truckload of treated 2x6s in, fallen trees from the area were used. They tied these together with a steel cable drilled through each log. The bridge bounced and swayed.  If it were only 100 feet higher!

I hang around the start/finish for most of the race. Jeremy Wiley pounds out a finish--his first trail race and first half marathon. His daughter was waiting for him to give him his finishers medal.

Red Dirt Shuffle 1/4 Marathon Women's top three from left to right: Amanda Cothern took 3rd, Elisha Adams was 2nd, and Katie Brown was the female winner.

Men's Quarter Marathon top three: In the red next to me, Shayne Hudson took 3rd, on thee right Skylar Turner was 2nd, and in the yellow Craig Harrison was the 1/4 marathon winner.

Red Dirt Shuffle Half Marathon top three: in the Red Coyote shirt Debbie Murnan was 3rd, on the right Shelly Chronister was 2nd, and in the blue speedy Katie Kramer was the ladies Half Marathon winner.

The men's race top three from right to left: Cameron Plate was 3rd, Aaron Ochoa was 2nd, and Justin Franklin was the Red Dirt Shuffle Half Marathon winner.

But the awards were not through yet. Roman Broyles and Cindy Metcalf were the men's and women's longest shufflers. They spent more time on the trailz than anyone else, and were warmly rewarded for their accomplishment.

An honorable mention for longest shuffler goes to Leaha Kopp, who barely out-sprinted Roman and Cindy to the finish line. This was Leaha's first trail race and first half marathon. She had faithfully put her training in for 13.1 miles and was treated to an extra 1.5 miles, due to my evil habit of adding a wee bit to the length of my races for good health.

Susan Melon Westmoreland made these amazing finishers awards and trophies. 
This is real honest red dirt from the Lake McMurtry area. She sifted the dirt, funneled it into over 100 of these bottles, made the lettering and stuck it to the bottles, glued the cork and eyelet in, and cut and tied the leather strings. She is an artist.

My wife Dana was awesome as ever, helping me mark and pull course markings, wrangling all the aid station food, and keeping me sane. The race events go well when she's at the helm. I am bad at forgetting to thank all of my volunteers. So this time, I'll echo Dana's FB thank you.
Thanks to all our Awesome Volunteers yesterday. Kate Ellisor and Shannon Ojeda Jennings Jessi Wiley her two kiddos you all were so awesome. Ken and I appreciate you so much. Thanks to all the Runners that helped after the run to pack up. Kathy HooverRoman BroylesMike Rives, Cindy Metcalf, and if I left you out please forgive me. I know you all were tired from the run. Can't forget the awesome Susan Lydon Westmoreland, so gifted, made our medals. She's so amazingly talented and creative. TZ calls her his Chloe--if you watch 24 will know what I mean. Actually he made the statement if she was Chloe that must mean he was Jack Bauer. Of course I laugh and stated she is definitely Chloe but he wasn't Jack Bauer lol. Thanks to Brian Hoover for timing our race.

Oh come on--I AM Jack Bauer!!

Finally, I really enjoyed putting on this race. I enjoyed shuffling around and marking the route, and pulling plates after the race. And I got more than my share of souvenirs from my endeavors.
I have over 200 chigger bites. Now, as I type on Thursday evening, the insane itching frenzy is almost gone. The red spots are scabs. How chiggers get from my feet all up my legs, all over my buttocks, my belly, my back, my armpits, and even my face--I dunno. This is the second worse batch I have ever had. If you ran the race and got not even a chigger nibble, you can thank me. I got em all.

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