Last weekend I did the Cutthroat Classic 11 mile trail run. I didn't really run it--out of shape as I am--but I made it across the finish line. Basically, I climbed the first five miles to Cutthroat Pass at a steady hike, and jogged down to the finish. A sinus infection didn't help my time. The course was pretty empty during the latter half, which made for a nice trot on through the dry lodgepole.
This is probably one of the best shorter trail races in the U.S. It's been around for about 15 years or so, and I've probably participated in about half those races. I wish I was in shape to be over at the Cascade Crest 100, a few passes to the south, but this was the more reasonable option for me. A sunny day in the North Cascades is hard to beat. Plus, my family participated, which makes the whole thing special for me.
We camped out on the Methow River, at the old KOA, with kids riding around on bikes and restrooms nearby. It wasn't tough, but it was easy. The river just moves by, with an occasional boater or inter tuber. Dinner on camp stoves, chairs and drinks, with kids making noise--it was good stuff.
Then there's the early rise and drive up to Rainy Pass, the start line for the race, which happens to be situated square on the Pacific Crest Trail. About 200 runners, maybe more, released via four waves. Some more serious than others. Single track, with some creek crossings, and increasingly good views as you climb. You're basically looking at 5 miles up, and then six miles down, with the crest at about 6800 feet elevation. The pitch is great for running--hard but doable--but I was a walker this year. The one aid station, about 7 miles in, is packed in via horses. This year's run was warm, after heavy rains the previous day.
It's been a tough tough summer in the Methow, with many fires causing great damage. It was good to see so many folks over supporting the community. We picked up some ice cream and had a nice meal in Winthrop, in addition to our campfire vittles. Great event as always put on by the MVSTA. Best of all, nice to share time with my family.