Monday, December 15, 2008

The OC's Twin Peaks

Casey and I ran the OC's Twin Peaks 50K on December 13, 2008.

Casey picked this as his first ultrathon. I'd never heard of it.

We started at 6:30 a.m. The 50K runners started at different times, 6:00 a.m., 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. My start time was 7:30 but I elected to start with Casey at 6:30. As a consequence I was running with first-time ultrathonners.

It wasn't quite sunrise when we started. The weather was moderate, in the mid-50s, so I elected to run in summer running attire.

The leg to the first aid station was an immediate ascent. Following my normal pattern I never study the course in advance, so the immediate climb of the first peak was a big surprise. The first aid station was near the first peak; a long ascent. To my surprise, I was the first in our running group pulling into the aid station, although Casey was ahead of me all the way to the peak itself. I made up time on the small downhill right before the aid station. But, leaving the aid station, another runner beat me out of it and I could never catch up to him. I dropped Casey running out of the first aid station.

Eventually, one more runner from my group passed me near Santiago Peak.

There's an aid station three miles below Santiago Peak. I begged for a trash bag and I felt lots better in the cold rain. I should have dressed for cold weather

At Santiago Peak the fog, rain and clouds obscured vision so much it was often difficult to see the path right in front of me. The wind and rain were roaring and the communication towers at Santiago Peak were belting out a roar of their own. On the descent out of Santiago Peak I saw Casey on the out and back. He was only about 40 minutes behind.

In the poor weather I missed a turn and added almost two miles and 20 minutes to my run. I finally rejoined the right trail and booked it for the really long downhill back to the start. Here are the results; second in my age class.

At the bottom, I waited for hours and Casey finally arrived by truck. In the poor weather when he saw me wearing my trash bag on the out and back, he asked for one as well, but instead of my see-through bag he got a black one. It hid his bib and so the race directors guided him into the 50-mile route. He was ten miles into it when an aid station alerted him to the fact, and since the last 20 miles of the 50 is a re-ascent of one of the peaks he wasn't prepared for, he caught a ride back.

Once again, as I have done my last three races, I had twisted my ankle and taken a bloody header, with folks up and down the line commenting on it and trying to help.

I spent an hour talking with Andy Salinger, an avid reader of brother Dave's blog. Andy had come in second place, was a 7:30 starter, and actually passed me near the finish. Three 7:30 starters passed me. Andy knew Dave's 2008 runs far better than I did, and I had run a couple of them. Andy said that Twin Peaks was quite a run to use for a beginner.

Dave's friend Jim Skaggs DNF'd on the 50M. I heard that he had stopped to help somebody in a car accident up near Santiago on the fire road.


Lindsay said...

Way to go guys. Impressive. That stinks about the wrong turn, Casey. Are you going to do another one?

Great job on the second place (in age group), Dad. Also, thanks for putting a little life back into this blog.

debora said...

Very impressive both of you guys. Casey, you've been totally sucked in. Ultramarathon men. Yeah!!!

KC said...

That was quite the run. I was a little bummed about being mislead. It would have been nice to cross the finish line, I pretty much ran the course, oh well.

Bob, mentioned it was cold, that is an understatement, it felt like it was going to hail, no joke. Not fun when running 7 miles uphill. The area was beautiful and it was a good day in the end.

Rob said...

Sounds like fun. Congrats to both of you.

I'm starting to get jealous about how much time my brother-in-law gets to spend with my dad.