Monday, November 26, 2007

Hiking to Twin Peaks on Section 8 of the Tahoe Rim Trail

On Sunday, Sean and I headed up to Tahoe City to hike section 8 of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT). We were going to hike from Barker Pass to Tahoe City (16.7 miles) or to a secondary trailhead on Ward Creek Blvd. about 5.1 miles before Tahoe City.

Twin Peaks, Our Destination, in the Background
We left fairly early and stopped to buy some delicious sandwiches and pastries for later at Tahoe House Bakery in Tahoe City. Since it would just be the two of us, I parked my mountain bike at the bakery, because I would zip back up to Barker Pass to pick up the truck after we were done hiking.
Tahoe House Bakery
Unfamiliar with this section, I had read the instructions on how to get there in Tim Hauserman's The Tahoe Rim Trail: A Complete Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers, and Equestrians (a fantastic reference guide). Well, the book did not say anything about Barker Pass Road being closed after November 1st, but that is probably because it is very rare not to have snow on the mountains yet at this time of the year, especially on this section of the TRT. A gate blocked us from driving up the road, but there was another road (Blackwood Canyon Snow Area), which I thought might be an alternate way up to the pass. Taking that road, however, required a permit, so we drove around trying to find one of the stores that sells these permits.

Barker Pass Road -- Access Denied!
The friendly folks at the outdoor sports store Alpenglow in Tahoe City told us that there was no alternate road up to Barker Pass (the permit was only good for the snow area at the bottom of Blackwood Canyon) and then they told us how to get to another trailhead on Ward Creek Boulevard and we decided to just go for an out and back hike starting at Ward Creek.
View From a Peak Just Below Twin Peaks
We found the Ward Creek Blvd. trailhead easily (Hwy 89 South from Tahoe City, right on Pineland Dr, left on Ward Valley, which becomes Ward Creek Blvd. The TRT kiosk is a few miles up the road on Ward Creek Blvd.)

Right on Pineland...
Left on Ward Valley and continue on Ward Creek Blvd.

The Ward Creek trailhead does not have any facilities, but it is definitely a nice, easy-access crew point for a thru hike, because you have to cross the road right there anyway (mental note for next summer). The TRT/PCT junction, located just past Twin Peaks, would be roughly a 6.5 mile hike from the Ward Creek trailhead, making it a perfect out-and-back hike for us, especially since the "out" section featured a 2000' climb (6556'-8516').

I was trying out some new Montrail Hardrock shoes that I had bought on sale at REI. Now that the racing season is over, I want to try a lot of new things. I think I still have to find the perfect TRT trail shoe. As for the Montrails, I have to say these shoes require a little bit of wearing in. I had to get used to the shoes' weight and stiffer soles compared to my road shoes, but at the end of the day my feet felt good and they are definitely a comfortable ride. I'll have to break them in a bit more, but so far so good. (And no, I am not trying to get any free stuff out of this blog post, especially now that Montrail has pretty much disbanded their running team).
Montrail Hardrock Feeling at Home
The first few miles run along Ward Creek and are pretty flat. Some signs warn people not to remove fallen trees from the creek as they provide a habitat for lots of fish varieties, such as the Tahoe Sucker (and you thought that Tahoe Suckers were those people who come up to the casinos to deposit their paychecks in the slot machines!).
Fish, like the Tahoe Sucker, Rely on Fallen Logs in the Creek
The TRT reference guide book described crossing the creek at an old washed out bridge, but thanks to the efforts of the TRT organization, we did not have to get wet; a beautiful new bridge was built across the creek just this year and it still looked very shiny.
The New Ward Creek Bridge
After crossing the creek, the trail started to climb. In the distance we could see Twin Peaks and the trail wound itself trough meadows and woods to get there. Some of the sections were very steep. After hiking for about two hours, we stopped for lunch. We had worked up quite an appetite and those sandwiches sure tasted great!
Onwards! We kept climbing until we hit a huge rock formation just below Twin Peaks. We sat there for a while enjoying the gorgeous view of Lake Tahoe and then we climbed to the top, on the backside of Twin Peaks. The views at the top are simply amazing. Almost every corner turned into a Vista Point, one more spectacular than the other.
A Pratially Frozen Waterfall on the Trail
We decided to push on towards the TRT/PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) junction, but were pleasantly surprised when we reached it almost as soon as we passed Twin Peaks. Sean took a right turn and ran on the PCT (towards Canada) for about 50 yards. One day, when Sean and Rocky are old enough, we plan to hike the entire PCT (Watch out David Horton!).
TRT/PCT Junction
One of the Most Spectacular Views on this Section of the Trail
Nuun in the Afternoon at the Top
We headed back and in no time, we had covered several miles. We continued our hike and stopped for a few quick breaks. It was very quiet on the trail. All in all we only saw about five mountain bikers and 4 hikers. We walked back to the truck, picked up the bike, and headed home (not without a stop at Village Pizzeria in Truckee first, of course).
Trail Cleanup -- Leave No Trace? How About, Leave No Socks!
It looks like the weather is going to change after next weekend, so maybe I can hike yet another section next weekend...

Elevation Profile of the Twin Peaks Ascent Hike

Gordy Ainsleigh's Cool Yule Jingle Jog

At the end of last week's Turkey Trot, legendary ultrarunner GordyAinsleigh was handing out flyers for his Christmas Day run in Meadow Vista. A lot of you have asked me to provide some more information about the run, so here it is:

With Gordy (left) and Sierra Trailrunner Catherine, at the Run Through the Colors (Photo Courtesy of Catherine)

Cool Yule Jingle Jog
Preparing Mind and Body for Christmas Dinner

5K Walk/Run 10K Run
This Year Only – A benefit for Gordy’s Tooth Fairy Fund
(The race director needs a tooth implant.)

Meadow Vista Park, Meadow Vist, CA
To get there, take Hwy 80 to the Meadow Vista Exit and use this Google Map for specific directions:

View Larger Map

Dec 25th -- Registration starts at 10 a.m.; race starts at 10:30 a.m.

$25 (preregistered before 12/16) $30 thereafter. Make checks payable to Placer Trails Conservancy.

Start on time or shortly thereafter, follow marked courses and wear bells (provided) on shoes. Only runners may take the 10K course. No dogs out of vehicles until all runners are gone. Dog start is 10 minutes later.

  • Red or green long-sleeve shirts (featuring a print of two Canada geese in flight) to all runners.
  • Large living bouquets from Eisley Nursery in Auburn + certificate to the first man and woman in both races.
  • Certificates (suitable for framing, featuring geese in flight) to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in all [approx. ten-year age] divisions.

Race Applications:

You can get an application (including the typical waiver of liability) from Gordy by sending him mail (H. Gordon Ainsleigh DC, PO Box 1087, Meadow Vista, CA 95722) or calling (530) 8 7 8 - 1 9 0 1. (Sorry, I don't have an e-mail address).

- - - - -

Merry Christmas! This should be a lot of fun. However, I don't think I'll be able to make it myself, because this is Christmas Day after all!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Running the Michael Bratton II Memorial Turkey Trot

With Larry Defeyter (left) and Steve Bond (right)

On Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), I joined over 1100 runners and walkers for the second annual Michael Bratton II Memorial Turkey Trot in Nevada City. This was my last race of the year and the final race in the Gold Country Grand Prix series. However, I had already sort of stopped training seriously since the Helen Klein 50 Miler and I had, instead, been focusing on assisting my kids with emptying out their enormous Halloween baskets.

I needed a third place in my age group here, and, as Steve Bond pointed out in his "Run for Your Life" Union newspaper column, all I had to do was stay on the course, and [an Age Group] first would be mine.

Runners warm up at the start

To make sure I would stay on the course (something I had a problem with last year at the Draft Horse Classic 10K, and consequently cost me a top three place in my grand prix age group), I ran the course once with Sid Heaton the week before the race (thanks Sid!). As it turned out though, the race was organized impeccably, and getting lost was not an issue. Volunteers lined the many intersections of the course and even the local police was out at some of the more dangerous intersections.

Sean was guaranteed a (grand prix) second place in his age group and Rocky had fourth place pretty much locked up. Unless some of their opponents did not show up at all, there was not much more they could do. Running their 11th grand prix race, however, makes them possibly the only two GP participants that have actually run all the races in the grand prix. Only kids can do this, because one of the races is the kids' race, in which only children up to 12-years old can participate. There are plenty of adults (like me), who have run all the races this year and I heard that they might take the kids' race out of the series next year to even it out.

Although I had a comfortable lead in the age group, there was also a small chance of a shot at a top three male overall place in this year's grand prix, but I could only get that if I placed first in my age group among the Grand Prix participants. For a large part that was going to be determined by whether Nevada City's speed demon Larry Defeyter would run the 5 or the 10K. Fortunately for me, he had signed up for the 5K, so there was still hope.

Sean and Rocky's friend Hayes had a narrow, one-point lead over Rough and Ready's Austin Violette and this final race would decide who would win the 13-15 age group.

Prior to the race, Michael Bratton's father gave an emotional speech. The support from the community had been overwhelming and the already huge race (for local standards) had almost doubled in size in only its second year (around 1100 participants!). After that, we were off. The race started and ended on the track and followed some of the cross country trails around the Nevada Union high school as well as some of the nearby roads.

Final Sprint of 2007

I started out at an easy 7-minute mile pace and let the speedy 5K runners and some of the fast 10K runners go ahead. At the first turnaround, I was in 9th place of the 10K runners. An out-of-town 10K runner, Nelson Lauy, was leading the entire field. He would go on to win the race in 31:56! Note: the course was a bit short in both the 5 and 10K.

The field spread out quickly and after the 5K turned towards the stadium, I found myself running pretty much by myself in 9th place. I was still in first place in my age group (grand prix-wise), so I figured I had a real shot at making the top three overall of the series, but then, all of a sudden at mile 4, a runner named Jason Higelin, who looked like he could be part of the 30-39 AG passed me in a burst of speed. I had seen him in another race, so I was not sure if he was part of the grand prix. To be sure, I thought, I really should try to beat him.

Jason slowed down after a little while and I slowly started catching up to him. When the 10K course connected with the 5K course again, we started passing lots and lots of walkers. Most of them were oblivious to the fact that there was a race going on, so we lost quite a bit of time zig-zagging through the crowd, calling out "on your left," which some walkers actually interpreted as "move to your left," resulting in a few unplanned walk breaks.

5K Age Group Winners Chris Bodelato (Left/first overall) and Larry Defeyter (4th overall, with new haircut)

I finally passed Jason on a long downhill just before the stadium, but on the next uphill, he once again, charged past me in another unbelievable burst of speed. He slowed down again soon though and kept running about 15 yards ahead of me. Jason entered the stadium and I hit the track only a few seconds behind him. That was it, I was not going to go out without a fight! I accelerated and blasted by Jason with about 150 yards to go.

Fully expecting a counter attack, I just kept sprinting at sub 5-minute mile pace. One more corner, I looked back, and noticed I had already created a 5-second gap, so I just kept running as fast as I could to the finish line, arriving in 41:51 (9th place overall, third in the 30-39 AG for this race, and first in the Grand Prix participants' AG). As it turns out, Jason was in the 20-29 AG, and I don't think he was participating in this year's GP!

Hayes picks up first place in his AG, winning this year's AG in the GP

Hayes finished first in his age group in the 10K, maintaining his one point lead over Austin, who won the 5K race in his AG. Sean and Rocky ran the 5K, but did not place in the top-three. They now have 2nd and 4th place in their Grand Prix AG. We hung around for the awards and talked to other runners about next year's race schedule. There is going to be a Grand Prix awards ceremony on the 9th of December.

10K Age Group Winners

Gordy Ansleigh, who easily won the 60-69 AG in the 10K, came around with flyers for his Cool Yule Jingle Jog 5 and 10K on Christmas Day (10:30 a.m. start). Benefits go to the Gordy Tooth Fairy Fund (Gordy is in need of an expensive tooth repair). So, maybe this was not my last race after all...

See also:

Next up: Weekend TRT section hikes as long as it does not snow!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Family Hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail (Section 4 -- Spooner Summit to Kingsbury North)

On Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather, to hike from Spooner Summit (7146')to the Kingsbury North trailhead (7792') on "Section 4" of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT). This is one of the easiest and shortest sections of the entire 165-mile trail and with the changing weather, it could have been one of the last snow-free hiking days on the trail this year.
At the Trailhead --Tahoe City 102 Miles! (Rocky figured out how to make the camera's self timer work)

The section length is 12.2 Miles from trailhead to trailhead. An additional 3 miles will get you to Hwy 207 (Kingsbury Grade), from where you can hike another +/-1.5 miles to the Kingsbury South trailhead. Alternatively you can follow Kingsbury Grade in the other direction to the intersection of Hwy 207 and Hwy 50 in Stateline Nevada, close to the casinos.
A Beautiful Day on the Trail

Getting there is easy. The Spooner Summit trailhead is located about a half mile east of the intersection of Hwy 50 and Hwy 28. The trail starts with a steep and steady climb, but it gets less steep as the trail progresses. The highest point of the trail is South Camp Peak (8800')around 5.5 miles from Spooner Summit, so you can hike with negative splits starting from either direction (although it would be easier to start at Kingsbury North, because that is about 650' higher than Spooner Summit)
Interesting Rock Formations

Since we got a little bit of a late start, we decided that Vicky and the kids would hike approximately 3.5 miles out and back, with a lunch stop at the intersection with a forest service road around 3 miles. I would then keep going and catch up with them in Stateline, NV. Alternatively I could call to have them pick me up at the Kingsbury North trailhead, but I found out that there is no "can-you-hear-me-now" coverage (Verizon) anywhere from Kingsbury North to Stateline, so I was basically forced to add the extra 5 mile hike, because I could not reach them. That was no problem though, it was a nice walk.
Lots of Young Fir Trees Line the Beginning of the Trail
The trail was very easy to follow and it was marked well in the few places where other trails or forest service roads crosses the TRT. I wanted to get this section of the trail mapped on my GPS for next year's TRT thru-run, but after hiking it I don't think it will be important to bring a GPS for this particular section (unlike some of the other sections!).

King of the Mountain

On this section, you get the best view from the top of South Camp Peak. From here, you can see for miles around and you can also see Genoa Peak (9150') on the other side of the mountain range.

Genoa Peak

The views on this section are great. There are wonderful views of the lake, the mountain peaks around the lake, and lots of pine trees, young and old. I also came across what I think was an old copper mine with some warning signs on it.

Old Copper Mine?

Surprisingly, there were not too many hikers and bikers out on the trail. However, at one point the sounds of the chirping birds, gently moving trees, and other forest creatures was rudely interrupted when I was passed by a couple of guys on motorcycles (motor vehicles are not allowed on the TRT), tearing down the trail. It is a real pity that some people just don't care about all the hard work that has gone into bulding this beautiful trail!

An Unwelcome Sight: Motorcycles -- Take a Hike!

After South Camp Peak, the trail descends to Kingsbury North. Even though I had planned to just hike the trail, I could not resist running the downhill sections. It was great fun and the stunning views just kept coming, corner after corner.
Big Trees and Big Rocks Everywhere

On one of the final turns, Heavenly came into sight, signalling that I was close to the end of the trail. The TRT section map pointed out that this section is 12.2 miles long and my Forerunner measured it to be 12.1 from trailhead to trailhead, so that was pretty accurate.

View from Heaven(ly)

Since I did not have any cell phone coverage at the trailhead, I ran down the street (Andria, which turns into N. Benjamin) to Kingsbury Grade. The total distance at that point was about 14 miles.
The Kingsbury North Trailhead
While the TRT continued to the left, away from the lake, I took a right turn on Hwy 207 and ran down to the corner of Hwy 207 and Hwy 50 (another 3 miles), where Vicky and the kids picked me up. We headed home and finished the day with a great-tasting pizza at Village Pizzeria in Truckee, which I think is simply the best pizza place in the area.
Hwy 207 (Kingsbury Grade) and N. Benjamin
TRT Section 4 -- Reference Information
  • Spooner Summit to Kingsbury North
  • Elevation Lowest: 7146' Highest 8800'
  • Distance 12.2 Miles (Between Trailheads)
  • Motion Based GPS Details [Link]
  • GPX Track (you can load this into your GPS device) [Link]
  • Section Description and Map (on the TRT website) [Link]
  • Elevation Profile for this section:

Check out my New GlobalMotion Article about this section:
Tahoe Rim Trail Section 4 Spooner Summit to Kingsbury North at GlobalMotion

Map created using GlobalMotion, the free location wiki

Next up, the Turkey Trot 10K (last race in the Gold Country Grand Prix) on Thursday!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Won the 2007 Fuel Belt Grand Prix Series!

With Scott Dunlap

The battle is over! After the final times were processed for the Helen Klein 50 Mile race, it turned out that, with a total of 282.56 points against Scott Dunlap's 280.06 points, I won the fourth annual Fuel Belt grand prix series by 1.5 points; the smallest margin in the series' history.

Let's take a step back for a second. When I showed up for the Pony Express 100K at the end of March, I had no idea that I would be part of this exciting grand finale more than seven months later. Actually, I had only planned to run a few of the series' races, including TRT100, but once I found myself leading the series after race two, I decided to change my race schedule to incorporate the remaining races, despite the fact that that might interfere with my performance at some of the other races I had already planned. For example, running the Sierra Nevada 53 miler just five days before the annual Super Triple was definitely not something I would have planned, and if it was not for the lure of double series points, there would have been no way I would have run the Lake of the Sky 50K.

As some of the other dangerous contenders slowly disappeared throughout the season, it became (just as it had started out) a mano-y-mano duel with Scott where every minute counted. Since only the best five out of seven point totals were going to be used to determine the winner and since I had already run six races, I did not really have much of a chance to increase my overall points at Saturday's Helen Klein 50 Mile race. I actually ended up with a total of 353.55 points in all seven races, but only 282.56 counted towards the overall score.

Scott had actually beaten me head-to-head in a few races and would have certainly beaten me if he had not missed the turn at the Sierra Nevada 53 miler, or if his TRT injury had not prevented him from running the 12 Hours at Cool race. In the final series race on Saturday, Scott basically needed to either win, or finish within about 25 minutes from the top finisher to get the points he needed to knock me out of first place. Alternatively, in the unlikely scenario where I could beat Scott by about ten minutes, my first place would also be safe. My calls to Haile Gebrsellasie and Paul Tergat to try out the Helen Klein 50M race were left unanswered, so I had to effectively rely on some of the faster runners, or "Kenyans in disguise" as Norm Klein called them, to win the series for me. (Thanks, 6:17 1st place finisher, Nicholas Bingham!)

The slowest winning time in the history of the Helen Klein 50 miler was 6:23 and I knew I would not be able to get close to that. However, it seemed that some of the faster guys, like course record holder Michael Buchanan, Erik Skaden, Jon Olsen, and Mark Tanaka were not going to be at the race this year, so, in order to cover all the bases, I decided prior to the race to get ready for a "just in case" all-out effort . To be successful at that, it would make a big difference to have a crew that could provide my favorite food and drink as well as critical intelligence about the competition. I felt like one of those semi-retired bank robbers that you see in the movies when I asked my crew (Chris and Rebecca) if they could come out with me for "one last job." Fortunately, they were happy to join me.

When Rebecca told me the day before the race to bring a bucket and a sponge, I told her I did not think I would need it (it had been pretty cool recently), but that I would throw it on the truck just in case. I am happy I did, because it got really warm and in the later stages of the race I felt like dumping a whole bucket of water on myself every three miles.

On the Bike Path Along the American River

The out-and-back course along the American River is slightly downhill on the way out and, of course, uphill on the way back. My race strategy was fairly straight-forward: hold back big time in the beginning by running approximately eight-minute miles, and depending on where the front runners are at the turnaround point, launch an all-out attack, or run back in approximately nine-minute miles. Either way, I wanted to run the last nine or ten miles from Hazel Bridge fast.

I think there were about 150 runners at the start of the Helen Klein 30K/50K/50M. and we had to walk about a quarter of a mile from Cavitt Middle School to the start of the race at Folsom Dam. There were lots of familiar faces and Scott and I walked to the start with Catherine and Gretchen. The temperature was already pleasant, which should have been a clue that it was going to be hot. I lined up at the front, because this race is known to start precisely in time, whether you are ready or not.

Running with Mike Nuttal

The early miles just clicked by easily. It was easy to go too fast, so I had to keep checking my ForeRunner 205 GPS watch and remind myself to slow down a bit. I had also given Chris and Rebecca instructions to slow me down, to avoid the inevitable going-out-to-fast train wreck. I paced for several miles with Mike Nuttal, who, at age 58, had run an amazing 3:05 at Big Sur earlier this year. He was running again after being sidelined with a small injury, and he was trying to run a Western States qualifier (mission accomplished).

Scott Is *How Many* Minutes Ahead of Me?

I took a Hammer gel every 45 minutes and Chris and Rebecca swapped out my bottles for me at each aid station. From mile 18 to mile 31, there was no crew access, so I just grabbed a big water bottle and filled it up at the aid stations in between. In the final three miles before the turnaround point, I saw Jean Pommier, looking strong, on his way back in the lead, followed by Nicholas Bingham from Reno. Scott was about ten minutes behind Jean at that point and at this time, I knew I just had to finish the race and see what the final difference between the winner and Scott would be.

I reached the turnaround point in 17th place in about 3:30. It started getting pretty hot and when I reached Goethe Park (the 18 and 31 mile crew point) again, I was definitely ready for a bucket of water! The refreshing sponge-soak was what I needed and, re-energized, I felt ready to tackle the last 19 miles.

Orange Gatorade and Water: the Magic Combination

For the long wait (approx. 14 miles x 8:30 min.) in Goethe Park, I had given Chris my copy of CC Pyle's Amazing Foot Race that I had recently finished reading. The book is about the amazing transcontinental footrace (Los Angeles to New York) that was held in 1928 (meaning, no moisture-wicking gear, comfy running shoes, or iPods!). I just started reading another book called The Bunion Derby, which is also about that incredible race. I'll post my review comments on these two books on the blog when I am done. If you need some inspiration for your next long run, I suggest reading that book. Only about 50 out of 200 starters finished the race, and those who did averaged about 50 miles a day for 84 consecutive days!

The Patient Crew

The pacing strategy had paid off; I slowly started passing people. With nine miles to go, I felt good and started running faster. With five miles to go, Chris told me I was not far behind two people, one of whom was Michael Kanning. Michael was on track to break his 50 mile PR. I was going to set my own PR for the 50-mile distance as well, no matter what. The reason for this was that I had never actually run a 50 mile race yet. I had covered 50 miles in about 7:30 at the Pony Express 100K, but that was on a completely flat course.

Vicky and the kids (My second race intelligence team!) had arrived at Cavitt Middle School in time to see the winner finish and they were giving frequent updates to Chris and Rebecca, so by the time I hit the last aid station, I got word that Scott had arrived in a blistering fast 6:59 (a new PR for him as well). According to my pre-race calculations I knew that was not enough to beat me, but I decided to wait for the official word from Robert Mathis before jumping to any joyful conclusions.

The last one-and-a-half miles are run on a flat gravel path on top of Folsom Dam. As soon as I reached the top of the dam, I could see Will Cooper and Michael Kanning in the distance. I started running 7-7:20 miles in an effort to catch them (just for fun, of course), but there was just a little bit too big of a gap to close. The best part of the race was running the last tenth of a mile with Sean and Rocky, who had started walking towards me.
Finaly Done!
I ended up crossing the finish line in 7:35:54, six seconds behind Will and 34 seconds behind Michael (Did I mention Michael is 15 and running these races to fund cancer research? Yes, please donate to Ultra for a Cure on his blog!). I think Michael is now ready to break the junior American 100K record at the Pony Express 100K in May next year.
With Helen Klein (She Ran the 30K Earlier)

After the race, a traditional Thanksgiving meal was served. My stomach was still shut down from all the running, so I just treated my crew to the nice meal. I took a nice warm shower at the school gym and caught up with some of the other runners afterwards. I met the super-fast fellow blogger/runner Jean Pommier (2nd overall in 6:22!) for the first time in person.

With Jean Pommier

Some quick calculations showed that I had indeed won the series by exactly 1.5 points. After Robert and Linda Mathis finalized the results, there was an awards ceremony. Scott received an all-expense paid trip to Lake Tahoe and a bunch of other goodies and I received the grand prize, a $3000,00 Performaire mattress! At first this sounded like an odd prize for a running competition, but, after running 383 miles in just this series, I think I am going to need to rest for a while! On top of that, I received $200 worth of Inov-8 shoes, a pair of $150,00 Haber Sunglasses (polarized and super light!) and a truckload of other other goodies, like Hammer gel, Injinji socks, and so on.

Robert Mathis presents the Grand Prize (mental note: bring a comb to the next awards ceremony!)

The runners continued to come in, and everyone was looking good. Gretchen came in strong in 8:39 and looked ready to go for another loop. Catherine qualified for WS100 in her first try with a 9:51, despite the tough day she had a few days prior to the race.

Scott, Jean, and Gretchen

Thanks Norm and Helen Klein for organizing the smooth race and to Robert, and Linda Mathis for organizing the series and keeping track of the standings throughout the year.

With Norm and Helen

And, of course, special thanks to Chris and Rebecca for their tireless crewing support (I owe you big time!) and finally to Vicky, Sean, and Rocky for supporting me throughout the series (that means putting up things like jamming our trip to Europe between TRT100 (leaving the day after) and 12 Hours at Cool (Coming back the night before) as well as all those killer pre-race spaghetti and buffalo meatball dinners!).

A truckload of prizes
Next up, the final race of the year, the Turkey Trot 10K in Nevada City. I need a third place in the 30-39 age group there to win my age group in the other series I have been participating in, the 2007 Gold Country Grand Prix.
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