Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ain't nothing wrong with the Bighorn

Last weekend, I checked along with seemingly thousands of others to see who got into the WS100. Really, I only checked twice but felt that was enough. I was sad for some and selfishly happy for others that didn't make it in. I won't go into the politics of raffles and amazing runners who didn't get in because that's already been discussed on many other (more informed and intelligent) blogs. I, myself, was not in the raffle, didn't even consider it because I want to run Bighorn.

Bighorn was my first ultra, I signed up for the 50 miler in 2006. Really I signed up for the 50 miler in 05 and dropped due to injury, dropped in 07 due to training weeniness but nevertheless 06 was the year. And I love Dayton Wyoming. It is the quintensetial Wyoming town, unassuming, friendly and proudly without a bit worldliness. And what can you say about the Foothills Campground? That place (minus the sketchy shower situation with spiders) is awesome. I think it's a whopping $17 a nite and the folks there are so kind and accomodating. Finally, an ultra that doesn't break the bank. One year that I didn't attend, a miracle happened as I got a call that I got a room at the b&b in town. What? A bed? shut up, but wasn't to be, as that was one of my no-show year. I should have gone, just for the bed.

The drive over from Jackson is nothing short of beautiful. Through Yellowstone, out the East Entrance to Cody and beyond. Forget how long it takes and it really doesn't matter. When you live in Wyoming, the one thing you are used to is long drives. We drive 90 miles to go to Sams Club and the mall and it's not even that good of a mall (Idaho Fall - pay attention here!).

The prerace film is a masterpiece; a little hokey and terrifying all at once. I am fine with the hyponatremia talk and all the other issues that can come up running distance. What I am not cool with is the rattlesnakes. One of the reasons I moved to Wyoming and Jackson in general is that there are no poisonous snakes here. But our neighbor the east cannot say the same thing. So rattlesnakes lazily nap across the trail, gross. The only saving grace I have is that without any trackspeed (or slow twitch) muscles, I have ample time to assess the upcoming trail and if there is ever a race I don't zone out on, it's rattlesnake alley. The other thing I learned (maybe from the film or maybe from me frantically typing in seach values like "rattlesnake bites & Bighorn trail race" is that rattlesnakes usually don't tag the first person, that person just pisses it off. It gets the second person. So, if you never like the go first when you are running with someone, this is the time to jump up there.

So that's about the only thing bad about the Bighorn. Everything else is sublime. Let's start with the race director, a wonderful woman whose name escapes me. I read a hilarious letter to the rd of the Bridger Ridge Run about how to judge the quality of a race by the race director. It's here. The essense of the letter is that if you have one of those skinny, tall, crew cut guys that would be just a comfortable in the back jungles of borneo with a knife in his teeth race directors, the race is gonna be hard and the snacks are probably going to blow. But, if you have an normal american woman, there's probably going to be plenty of bacon and possibly fresh baked cookies (that's right hot cookies).

Also, the Bighorn starts Friday at 11, who knew? That way, we all have to run through the nite (that means you Karl M). I have grown to love nite running, but it took a while to shake the hibbey jeebies out me (and rattlesnakes sleep in holes at nite, right?). So you finish sometime Saturday (nite for me) and still have Sunday to limp home. I love this race! And, unlike the Bear, which starts on Friday for religious reasons, this just starts on Friday.

So, WS100 folks who didn't get, quit whining and sign up for the race with no paparazzi but plenty of pork products. I will be there running my favorite trail (who am I kidding, I will be walking). It's a beautiful thing to coming running down the Tongue River Canyon in a sweet 90 degrees (Chicago take note), dodging rattlers and running to cookies. PS there's a nice bbq in the park at the finish and sometimes the guy at the last aid station has wine, what could be better?

See you there. Sign up is February 1st.