Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Classics

This last weekend I ran the Cutthroat Classic on Saturday, and then bombed down to the Cascade Crest Classic 100 to volunteer/hang out on Saturday night and Sunday. I’m pretty exhausted, and it’s Tuesday. I won’t get much sympathy from those 100 milers, I know. Congrats to all who got out there.

While I did a lot this weekend, hanging with the family is always tops. Camping with Uncle Don and Paul is something I’ve been doing since I was 13, but not in recent years. Many great stories with these guys. We had one legendary trip to the Potholes in Eastern Washington, when Paul and I were teens, where we took no food, declaring to all that we were going to "live off the land."  We were 100% committed to the goal, for a whole week, and quite serious about it. I even remember stopping by Safeway on the way out, because we had to buy aluminum foil for all the fish we were going to bury in the coals of our fire to cook. And I think we picked up a lemon and an onion, for garnish. Things didn’t work out so well.

We met again, Friday night, at Pair-Again Lake outside Winthrop. Very tame, with kids and campfires, the sound of a movie playing on someone's computer. On Saturday morning, Paul’s wife Holley and I got up early, after I had one cooooold night, cowboy camped under the stars, and we caught the school bus to the race start. This was Holley’s third Cutthroat, I think, my fifth. We met my good friend Aaron M. at Rainy Pass, who announced that he’s expecting his next kid. Congrats!

Background:  Cutthroat is an 11.1 mile trail run.  The first five or so miles are on the Pacific Crest Trail, and amount to a beautiful climb up to Cutthroat Pass, first through subalpine forest, and then into the land of rock and ice, though the ice is gone this time of year. The race starts in four different waves, at Rainy Pass, on Highway 20. On the way up, there are gorgeous views looking back towards Maple Pass. Specatators cheer at the top--high point of 6800 feet--and it's a near screamer of a descent, with 6 miles or so of down, through dust and rock, to the finish. On the way down, there's one aid station where the gels and liquids are brought in by horses. It is an absolutely wonderful event, and it sells out every year. Thank you MVSTA and all your great volunteers!

Aaron crushed the course. I did not. I rolled my ankle once, and then again for good measure, and then, to top it off, in the last two miles I honored REM with an “I am superman, and I can do anything!” fall. Just bloods, no breaks. Look for it on failblog. As I said, it’s a dusty downhill—I love it. I was humming GnR’s Dust and Bones and Freefallin', in between falls.

My time was about 10 minutes slower than last time, but it could’ve been worse, and I took a lot of pictures. Clumsy feet, some decline in fitness, but not a complete disaster. The rolled ankle bothers me more than anything--the back was tolerable.

Afterwards, I had a freezing wash-me-up under the bridge (RHCP) in the Methow River, and then it was down south (Alabama) past Chelan to The Race. I dropped B’hamster Heather off at French Cabin, and in the process caught some great semi-Thorpe Mountain type views of Kachess and Rainier, fireweed in the foreground.

Later, I hung out at Hyak (53 m AS), and caught friends Mike and BJ coming through, both running strong. Lots of other great friends to hang out with through the evening, and I was constantly exercising my powers of observation. "So, you're working the aid station?"  "So, you're pacing?" "Hey, doing the race? Cool."

Sunday was Easton all the way, all the day. It never stops being amazing--watching people finish 100 miles, that is. It shouldn’t be. One hundred miles is a long long way, and anyone who can finish the distance is-- amazing. Mike came in way early. BJ finished strong. And I was particularly moved by Dave D.’s finish at the end of the day, with his whole family helping him limp in.

The pics here are of Cutthroat--I'll proably post of a few of Cascade, after a while.

No comments: