by Ben MullinWe had a good turn-out this morning with about 25 people. A fair number of repeaters and quite a few first timers. Dallas gave a course recap in a crowded CyclovaXC at about 8:45 and then we all headed down to the overlook to start.
I had two competitive strategies heading into the race. The first goal was an ongoing competition with Adam Lushanko, amped up by a considerable amount of trash talking this week including a 7:00am wakeup call this morning. The second goal was to try and close some ground in the series standings on race organizer Dallas Wynne. At the first race he took off the line and I let him go, wanting to run my own race and thinking he would come back to me. He never did. So my goal, outside of running strong, was to mark either of them.
Off the line Tony Lushanko, just a week past the Lutsen 50k trail run, took the lead and lead us around the fish hatchery, through the north campground and up to the Horizon Rock Trail. I had no intention of staying with Tony so I settled into the back of the Cyclova train with Dallas and Frank. Somewhere up the monster climb that is the Horizon Rock Trail I passed Dallas and Frank. Just before we reached the visitor center and Skyline Trail Kevin "I make world class athletes look weak" Rogers came strolling past. He casually strolled on up to Tony and passed him as well on his way to a commanding win.
The next mile and half down to the group camp things strung out a bit. I took the occasional glance back to see how the gap was to Frank and Dallas (just holding) and the gap to Tony and Kevin was slowly inching up. I opened it up on the descent down to the group camp and nearly lost it on a switchback, but thankfully just kept my footing. That was my last glimpse of Kevin and my last glimpse of Tony came on the exit to the south campground. They apparently really opened it up once we hit the pavement because they were GONE.
After a trip around Lake O' Dells we hit the bottom of the Meadow Valley Trail and the standing water it contained. I took a few light steps trying to edge around it but end up just running through it anyway. It was about 6" deep and fairly cold. I'm sure glad we were almost done climbing because I didn't need any more weight on my feet at that point.
The climb on Meadow Valley Trail back up the switchbacks to the Horizon Rock Trail was a speed hike. There was no running that. Charging back down the Horizon Rock Trail towards the road to the north campground I thought I caught a glimpse of Dallas charging hard through the trees behind me and tried to pour on whatever I had left.
The coup de grace of the course was the final climb back up to the overlook. Mountain top finishes are just brutal. I completed both of my objectives clawing a few points back on the overall standings on Dallas and retaining the title from Adam. I'm afraid I might just be lighting a fire under both of them though...
After the race and cheering in all of the finishers (except the Velaski's, sorry guys!) a large contingent headed over to the Dalles Cafe and completely overwhelmed the one server there. Next time we are going to have to call ahead or something.
The next installment of the Sasquatch Dash will be on June 29th. We are dialing back the technical terrain in favor of the trails at Balsam Branch. This should be a good race with lots of rolling hills and few short punchy climbs.
Standings and Results: