Monday, December 22, 2008

2nd Annual Dumb Ass 50k

Not wanting to be responsible for 60 people up on the mountain in these snowy conditions the RD cancelled the Dumb Ass 50k this year, just to weed out those who have a shred of common sense. Somehow I didn't get the email, no really. Maybe he knew I'd run it anyway, maybe it was a joke on me, but there was no way I wasn't going to be up there running it. Even if I had to run it by myself. After contacting a few runners and the RD, I figured out what was going on. From the RD... "Think of the Cancellation Notice as part of the Qualification Process...", meaning you have to be a dumb ass to run this thing, and more so to run it after it's been canceled. How much dumber can you get? Running it after it's been canceled. I figured there would be about 6-7 hard core dumb ass runners. Turns out only 4 made it, included the RD.

So Sunday morning I bundled the kids up and left for Grandma's house a little before 6 through 4-5 inches of fresh snow, in the opposite direction of the race. There was nobody out on the roads and I made great time. Momentum was my friend in the front wheel drive van. I had plenty of time to get ready before the 8 am start. There were only 3 of us that started on time with a forth getting there late. It seemed warm at about 27 degrees and I'm guessing about 4" of snow at the trailhead.

It was easy going at first. There were even some tracks for me to follow. About 1/3 the way up I passed 2 runners that decided come out and run some, but not be part of the race. I didn't catch their names. After passing them my pace slowed a lot. Now I was breaking trail. It wasn't too bad, 4-6 then 8 inches in most places, until I got near the top then it was about a foot. Right before the top my watch beeped 3 miles. What the...? It's only 2 1/4 to the top. I guess I slid backwards .375 miles. At the summit of T3 the wind kept all the new snow blown into the woods. I would find out where that snow went in just a few minutes. There at the top I paused for a minute to enjoy the clear view and let the wind cool me off. It seems that no matter how cold I am at the bottom, I'm always sweating by the time I get to the top.

Half way to T2 I took the left onto the TMT trail and about 3/4 the way across I hit my first snow drift. Ahh the missing snow. The first couple weren't too bad maybe up to my knees then there was one right before the turn to go down toward K3 on a little uphill section that was much deeper. I trudged through that one and turned downhill. Now the trail was nearly bare of snow (for 20 meters), then the big drifts starting showing up. There were a few that were 30-36" deep but I was going downhill so I had gravity helping me out. I just had to keep high stepping through them. I veered off trail a little a few times and blew through one turn because I had snow in my eyes but for the most part I stayed out of the bushes. If I hadn't run this loop 20 odd times in the past 2 years there's no way I could have found my way. After about 2 miles the snow thinned out be ~6" (I never stopped to measure it) and it seemed like I could actually run faster than if the snow wasn't there. I didn't have to worry about rocks or roots, just turning my legs over as fast as I could and making that next turn. Sure I fell a few times but it's snow, falling is part of the fun. I got down to the trailhead reloaded my my bottle and then logged my time on the sign in sheet. 1:37 and my watch had the ~6 mile loop at 7.51 miles. Ouch, I gave about a 1:20 effort. I'm thinking the 2nd loop will be easier.

The 2nd loop seemed easier going up. It was basically like doing stairs for 2 miles. My brooks ASR5's did good on the compact snow footholds. So I'm thinking this loop should be a little faster. Once I hit the snow drifts that thought went away quickly. On the first time down it was more like a controlled (and not so controlled at times) free fall. This time I had to work harder. I had to decide to either place my feet in the huge deep holes that were there, or to go with a completely new line. Either way it was slower and more work. I did a little of both. My second loop with a little less effort on the way up but a lot more on the way down was about 1:44.

The third and forth loops were more of the same. Snow stairs up, high stepping down. Each a little slower than the last.

On the fifth loop right after I started climbing 2 guys came shuffling down the mountain. I think cool, I'd much rather be going down that up. Unfortunately they blew through all the footholds. So now I had to really dig in with my feet and go up on all fours when it got steep. I really wanted to keep all my loops under 2 hours so I pushed hard. Once in a while I would catch a glimpse of Scott's footprints. There was less and less snow on them so I figured I must be getting close to lapping him. Sure enough, I caught him right after the twin bridges near the bottom. I assumed he wasn't going to head out for his 5th lap, but I didn't ask. He ended up finishing his marathon about 4-5 minutes behind me. Luckily I remembered to bring a headlamp because the 3 miles were in the dark. Michael had already stopped at 4 loops and was waiting down by the gate to make sure we didn't get locked in.

Things I learned.
1. I am dumb enough.
2. Screw shoes are still my traction choice.
3. Even if you ran slower than you've ever run before you can still take first place. Just be dumber than everyone else.
4. Sure I loved snow when I was a kid but now even with all the hassles that come with it, I still love the snow.
5. And the biggest surprise, there aren't as many dumb asses out there as I thought.

My final time, 9:12 of playing in the snow! That's more than twice as long as it took me to run my last 50k.

Results here.


Backofpack said...

Well, there was a dumb ass at my house who wished he was there. He mentioned it several times that day - a bad case of FOMO. Good job Arthur - you are a nutcase!

Journey to a Centum said...

Hey nutcase,

Did you experience any blow downs or high winds?

I'm feeling kinda down for missing the event. I suppose my IQ went up a couple of points for not making the attempt. I can't say that you didn't tell me you were going to go up there. I did get 10 hours of sleep Saturday night which was kinda nice.

I need to get up there and make the run. Maybe I can drag Hester & Styoles with me.

Good work breaking trail and staying on course. What are you going to do if Scott reschedules?

Journey to a Centum said...

Did I say Scott? I meant Michael. NW Ultras.

Steve S said...

Hmm, Eric and I took turns breaking trail at Coral Pass last year in similar snow depths. I'll just say I'm more than willing to let others take on that task. Especially on the dumb ass loops, whew. Well that should have been a great leg builder. Thanks again for being out in the cold and helping at Pigtails. It was my favorite year with the snow, last years rain wasn't as much fun.

Happy Holidays to the Tribe

Michael said...

Thanks for breaking trail on the first lap. It was fun following your foot steps and missteps on the descent. Impressive trail finding. Perfect Dumb Ass day - good training for something.

robtherunner said...

We can't all be as dumb as you. I wonder if anyone is up for a double dumb ass in the future???

Lucinda said...

Arthur, we did our Christmas Fat Ass 50 in Vancouver. Only 4 fools were up for it. The snow sure makes for a though workout.

Rob, I like the double Dumb Ass idea. Are you going to propose that 100k adventure to Michael and Scott?

Gilles Barbeau

Journey to a Centum said...

I can't believe Rob let the Double Dumb Ass cat out of the bag! WTF? Now it's just a question of who gets up there first and runs 10 laps.

Who wants to give it a try? I'm thinking 22-24 hours.

Lucinda said...

22-24 hours sounds about right. I would love to give it a shot. Sometime in the spring without the snow.

Michmas said...

10 laps?! You people need help! In other words, sign me up :)

Good job Arthur. I should have known you and Michael were still going to head up there. Congrats on a strong finish!