Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Classics

Wow...Thursday already. Classic weekend, last weekend was. For real. Terry S. and I ran the Cutthroat Classic above Mazama in the North Cascades, 11.2 miles, on Saturday morning. Then....we drove south through Winthrop, Twisp, Carlton, Chelan, Wenatchee, Blewett Pass, the Cascade Crest Classic 100 miler. We stopped in Cashmere at the apple cotlets store. Not sure why. These girls accused us of being twins. Not likely. We worked the all night diner at the Mineral Creek aid station, Mile 73. More on this below. We followed that up with the no sleep, Sunday sweep of the last 20 miles of the Triple C, which goes along Kachess Ridge and up Mt. Thorp, and which is pretty much one of the best runs of all time in history.
First destination: Mazama, and the Methow Valley Sport Trail Association’s 10th Annual Cutthroat Classic. I've done this run a number of times--it's swell. We left the MV at 3:45 AM and hit the Highway 20, North Cascades pass. Terry drives fast, and we got there by about 6. Sunrise over Liberty Bell, pretty cool, picture below. All sorts of familiar faces at the race, all cool people too. Roll call: Al, Chris, James, Alison, Chuck, Ken, Thome. Results at, pics at You catch a yellow school bus up to Rainy Pass. Four wave starts, right from Highway 20, wave 2 is cooler than wave 1. The race goes through Chelan County, Skagit County, and Okanagan County, up the Pacific Crest Trail, to 6500 feet, and then you descend 2000 feet, by the horse aid station, all in only 11 miles. The views are just top shelf, over the top, amazing. As far as trail runs go, this one isn't unduly technical, but there's usually a lot of blood on the trail from falls, and this year was no exception. Afterwards, good burritos on a grass lawn by the community center, with a wonderful awards ceremony.
Onward to CCC. We made the fire station in Easton, race hq, at about 5 PM. Our aid station captain was Rich W., the guy in the wig in the top picture. We heard that the No Name Ridge Aid Station at Mile 80 was doing an 80s theme, and we were not about to be outdone. We brought the boogey, with some Saturday Night Fever, man. All night long, every sentence ended with man. Rich was on fire, and Terry's hair was the rage. One of the runners thought Terry's hair was a wig, and reached to pull it off. We lost it, man. Linda B. and Mike C. filled out our groovy staff, and it was just awesome possum watching folks wander in after the Trail from Hell. Everyone came in weary, up a rock strewn trail, bouncing headlamps, and we had the potato soup and quesadillas fired up. The runners and pacers were incredible, most all smiling, generally lucid. I was especially happy to see Joe and Monica, Skagit folks, do well. It was really valuable to watch everyone with their pacers, and see the different ways folks handled the aid
Noon, Sunday. Mike C. gets us up to the top of No Name Ridge is his low rider Prius, thank you, Mike! No small thing. We ran the final 20 out, slow, mainly because I like slow, picking off the glowsticks and ribbons, picturing the run at night, and taking in the sights. It was a completely different experience than last year, with clear views and more energy, even with the limited sleep we got, and it was the perfect taper for me, with Wasatch coming up. At Mt. Thorp, the Forest Service let us inside the lookout, which btw, is on the cover of this month's Washington Trails magazine, with a whole story on fire lookouts in Washington. The 360 degree views from Mt. Thorp are amazing, with Rainier right there in the kitchen, the dry flats of Eastern Washington viewable to the east, Lake Kachess below, and all sorts of wildflowers to boot. This is obviously a great race to do, but pacing the final 20 is also a good call.
That's all for now, 10-4. Next up...Arches National Park and Wasatch. Excited.
Now.....The Mineral Creek Top 5--
Sun rising on the way to the Cutthroat Classic

Rich serving up the goods at Mineral Creek, man

Terry climbing to Mount Thorp's Fire Lookout during our sweep

A room with a view

The Lookout from another viewpoint

Alison and James, Mile 80 No Name Ridge Aid Commanders

Lake Kachess

View back to Mt. Thorp after the Needles

French Cabin Aid Station On Descent from Kachess Ridge

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