Friday, February 26, 2016

orcas-stral maneuvers in the dark

heading up the switchbacks to
the mt. constitution aid station,
randomly looked up to see this.
scenes from sweeping at the inaugural rainshadow running #Orcas100 trail race.
i keep trying to catalogue the images in my head.

so far they refuse to cooperate.

but some things have started to emerge from the fog...
1:20 a.m.: camp moran aid station. returning loop 2 sweeper says "the weather's not bad out there."

1:30 a.m.: loop 3 sweepers head out, are immediately deluged with wind-driven sideways rain. me: (shouting) "no, this isn't bad at all!" kay downes allen: "what?" "i said, 'this isn't bad!" "what??" "nothing!"

1:55 a.m.: visibility: three feet in front of headlamp. "is it me, or is it getting foggy?" "it's getting foggy."

2:05 a.m. "we could literally be passing bodies strewn on the side of the road and we wouldn't know it."

2:10 a.m. "hey, a confidence streamer!" "do you feel confident?"

2:15 a.m. trail marker points away from road, into woods. (ominously) "here we go..."

sometime later: "this is a great trail. i bet it's really pretty when you can see it."

later still: "did we miss a turn?"

"a confidence streamer would really be welcome right now."
"i'm seeing lots of footprints."
"you are??"

"keep an eye out for bigfoot. this is about the time they come out."

"i thought i saw a light up ahead."
"it could be bigfoot."

overtaking our first runner: "hello!" "hello." "how are you doing?" "about as well as could be expected."

volunteers at mountain lake aid station: "can we get you something? we have sushi and soup and pierogis and apple pie..." "do you have anything with caffeine in it?"

overtaking next runner: "hello!" "hello." "how are you doing?" "you just about caught me falling asleep on my feet."

later: "do you see a trail?" "yes, over here." "good, i was about to lead us into a swamp."

later still: "geez, i almost led us right into that tree." "maybe i should lead for a while."
checking in at the team 7 hills
mt. constitution aid station.

(photo courtesy of justin richards.)

approaching section of trail disguised as a small pond: "i'm not sure there's any way around this." "well, #%&*. #@$^, #*%&. we are totally #$%@&."

overtaking next runner: "hello!" "hello." "how are you doing?" "i'm getting ready to climb powerline. it's all i can think about."

climbing powerline: (loudly) "hoo. hoo hoo. hoo." "either that's an owl, or the guy we passed back there is having a lot of fun with this climb." "it's an owl."

next runner: "hello!" "hello." "how are you doing?" "i've been better. i can't keep any food down."

in front of a space heater at mt. constitution aid station, wet clothes steaming. ian burton: "dude, you are smokin'." "oh, yeah. i get that all the time."
post-sweep exhilaration 
at #Orcas100.
(photo courtesy of daisy clark.)

it was all downhill from there.
sweeping a loop of the orcas 100-mile course ~ in the middle of the night, in the midst of wind/rain/fog/snow ~ was kind of addictive, in fact.

many thanks to kay, who came up with the idea in the first place. definitely not something i would've dreamed up on my own.

and, the fact is, we needed the miles.
34 days to #gw100k

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