Saturday, April 18, 2009

There Will Be Mud: Blackstrap Heaven, the Other Side of Hell

First off, big thanks to Jeff for organizing this run. It had the feel of a "fat ass" race, but over a shorter distance. And, a huge breakfast with lots and lots of bacon followed (more on that later). Definitely was immensely fun! Also attending were Ian, Mindy, Ryan, Carter, James, John, Dora, Eric, and Jim. Randy was also there to help out at the "aid station" (more on that later as well).

Jeff gives a detailed course description here. But the reader's digest version is five miles of hills, rocks, mud and water. Definitely a very rugged and challenging course. My plan was to definitely push myself, but at the same time I wasn't going to go full-on and really race it. That being said, I don't think I could have gone too much faster than I did today.

Once the race got started we climbed for a while where I was able to hang with the faster guys in our group for a while, but as I expected, on the first technical downhill they began to pull away. I've never been good on steep, technical downhills and it's something I need to continue to work on. I'm envious how others can fly down those sections with grace and speed, while I feel like a Mack truck on bike tires.

The course continued on and after the first mile we reached a tree farm which the trail cut through a few times. This was fun, as I could see the others in front and behind me. Ryan was a few hundred yards ahead, and would be throughout the race. He was a good carrot to follow.

After the farm, a stretch about three miles in was relatively flat, however it featured several puddles, many of them deep. Running through them washed off a lot of mud that was beginning to cake on my legs. It was also pretty refreshing for the most part.

Leading up to mile 4 was a stretch called the Three Sisters, basically a series of steep, rocky, and rugged ascents along the power lines. At the top of one of the climbs was Randy, who manned an aid station of coffee brandy. Downing a shot would take 30 seconds off of your finishing time. I opted not to, given that I was already flirting with potential stomach issues.

The course then ducked into the woods where there was a less technical descent through the thick woods for much of the final mile. I loved this section and really put the pedal down. Aside from the occasional pockets of mud or puddles, you could really let loose here.

The last quarter mile was uphill on the road going to the finish. Continued a pretty good pace here and finished the race comfortably.

Soon afterwards, everyone else finished, and we had a cookout of bacon, pancakes, bacon, sausage, donuts, bacon, coffee and bacon. Ryan even brought maple donuts that had bacon on top. These were unbelievably good! Bacon really does make everything better.

I'll post links to pictures once others get them up (I really need to invest in a new camera).

Race results

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:54/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 158/182
Rugged trails.
Extremely hilly.
Upper 40s, overcast.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt, Moeben sleeves.


Sparkplug said...

Sounds like it was a great run!

sn0m8n said...

I'd be a better carrot if I was wrapped in bacon.


pretty awesome race!

middle.professor said...

Great, descriptive race report Jamie. Thanks!

mindy said...

Awesome report. I loved that last section, too!