Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mazama 10k

I found myself on Friday night trying to figure out what to do with this Memorial Day weekend.  On a whim, I threw a sleeping bag in the car, grabbed some Springsteen cds, and set out on Highway 20 for the Mazama 10k and a night under the stars. The 10k is put on by the Methow Valley Trails Association and has been around a long time.
Two months, it seems, is is too long to taper for a 10k.  I wheezed, and then my Achilles issue started acting up, and that’s enough about how I did.

The course is slow for a 10k, with a few climbs on cross country ski trails, sans the snow. You feel the 2000 feet elevation a bit, if you’re me. Very cool to run around the Methow Valley this time of year, with a variety of blue, yellow and orange wildflowers growing, and the clear snowmelt running fast in the creeks.  I missed out on last week’s Sun Mountain haps, so I suppose this was a nice fill in.   

Afterwards, a pancake breakfast and the traditional MVSTA awards and raffle ceremony by the red community center.  A latte at the Mazama store, and then back home.  The drive over Highway 20 is beautiful right now, with snow banks melting fast.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Blanchard Mountain

Trotted around Blanchard Mountain this morning, as well as last Sunday. Blanchard is probably my favorite place to run locally. Can't say I ran hard or well, but there was some running.

Department of Natural Resources has invested some time and money on Blanchard. There's a lot of new signage, the road in has seen some maintenance, and the Samish Overlook got a full makeover. Paragliders were launching as I ran by.

The biggest surprise of the day was finding a new set of switchbacks on the second climb of Kill Bill Hill, otherwise known as the Oyster Dome trail. Basically, the second vertical pitch is no more. The new trail work looks great, and probably is a good idea in light of erosion concerns. However, I've come to appreciate that straight climb over the years, where you grab a root or two to make it up to the top.

The former climb was a great part of training for some high mountain ultras, as well as a tough part of the old Blanchard Mountain Ultra and near the end of the North Face 50 miler. Those who have ran it will probably know what I'm talking about. The last climb is still there, steep as ever.

Pic above of the new switchback, and right below of the filled in Kill Bill.