Back to Baker Lake for me yesterday. It was a struggle, but I managed to finish my first ultra in a year. This was my 12th Baker Lake 50k. Each one is special for different reasons. This year was a slow time, good peeps, and great weather. Baker Lake is my favorite race.
Yesterday's event went off perfectly. The temps were in the 50s and 60s, with clear skies, open trail, and postcard views of Mount Baker. The out and back is quiet, many slipsy bridges, undulating small hills, old growth, an occasional campground. I started slow and stayed that way, and so I didn't see many people until everyone turned around and was headed back.
Tim helped me out at the turnaround. I chose not to linger, because a.) I was going slow, and b.) I didn't want to stop. Thanks for the S caps! My stomach was a lump of cramps--for a while, they fixed me up.
By this time, the landmarks are very familiar to me. Three sets of switchbacks on the way up to Noisy Creek. The Noisy Creek sign means you're about an hour out from the turnaround. Maple Grove means an hour or less from the start. There are a slough of bridges, before you meet the road, coming up out of Anderson Creek. It's a climb that will hurt more than you'd like, but it ends soon enough.
Before the race I hung out with Stan and John, pictured below, who are a couple Baker Lake regulars. Such good people, with some of the longest ultra running histories you'll find. Stan was also doing his 12th, and I think John has 11 or 12 of these under his belt.
Good too to meet new friends, and hang out with old friends. Lots of Canadians are taking to this race! Especially good to see Tim, Al, Terry, and the whole Skagit Runners crew. Great to catch Ryan on the trail, finishing up a 100 miler version and a Washington Grand Slam. Wow and Congrats! Passing good wishes from Kendall, Mike, Van, and others on the trail. Many thanks to all the volunteers, including Terry, Delores, Tim, Kevin, James, Ryan, and everyone for putting on this terrific event.
On the way out, I listened to the Rolling Stones remastered Sticky Fingers. Might be their best album, and the remastering is great, making for a quick drive back to the MV. Now, the legs are propped up, and resolutions are in the works for the next event. Which will be...? Sooner than later, I'm sure.