Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WWR: Leg 14 - Sea level is for Sissies.

Well, here I am waiting on Matt again and I can't believe I'm getting altitude sickness at 9494 feet. Geez, I need to suck it up, because I'll be hitting 10,300 feet at the 6.5 mile mark of my 8.5 mile leg. It's past 6:15pm and I've already told Creampuff that I'll probably be 90 minutes on this leg. The trail is dirt road and dusty, more runnable trail except for that 4.5 mile section climbing up 1200 feet. Finally, Matt comes into view and we tag off at 6:30pm .I have my big floppy hat on and a bandana to keep out the dust. Both become pointless very early on. I start with a strong jog but not less than 2 min later I have to stop and adjust the damn bandana! In that time, I got chicked by a 40ish east indian woman and struggle to catch her. She takes the descents fairly easy and I'm trying to keep up. About the 18 minute mark we hit a brief flat stretch, I was keeping her in sight and then I looked past and saw the hill. Dammit. Those were a lot of switchbacks. Now it was just a grind battling the elevation and the terrain. Dirt road may be runnable but when it's climbing for 4 miles it was a little tedious. Too often I felt I was sliding uphill as the dirt made it hard to get a solid footing for me to push off for the next step. The runner ahead of me had similar problems and was looking for the best line to run up. I found tracks made by some heavy duty construction equipment and ran on the side of the road. It helped a lot as I played leapfrog with her. I would get aid from Van1, she'd pass me. She was getting aid from her Van, I'd pass her. This went on for 3 miles. Most of the time, we were just powerwalking the hill as it was just the same pace as running. Near the top we were getting passed by a bunch of ubermountain runners. Finally we hit the crest and I've been passed 4 more times with a few more gaining. One of the crew of the guy who just passed me jokingly offers me a gel cause I musta looked bad. Well, I do like them downhills....because I starting picking up the pace. Not because of the gel, but the advil/e-cap combo I just swigged down with the last of my water. I catch east indian woman, the guy with the helpful crew and two more runners. There was a brief 3 minute section where I was the only guy on the trail and this was a little worrisome because I didn't know where the course went! I was following the dust cloud ahead of me but then the trail went left and I wasn't sure if I should go left. I look behind me and everybody I just passed are barreling straight toward me. That answers that question. I put the hammer down and see the orange pylons ahead. I tag off Snatch who continues down the trail. Take a few brief minutes to cool down (mindful of the mosquitos) and check out the awesome views at Deadman.I turn around and congratulate all those chasing me for the last two miles. Sure enough, I did run my leg in 90 minutes and good thing too, cause we had only 50 minutes before the exchange closed and we would've been disqualified! Two down, two more to go. time for a little sleep before my leg as we are now down to nine runners as Matt dropped out after two legs as he had a wedding to go to the next day. Up next, a little night running. Perfect.

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