A flurry of races over the 4th of July long weekend. Finished it up with the Run to the Beach, yet another Big Blue race, run from North Tahoe Regional Park down to King's Beach.
Team Library Dork was a gain out in force, Amber (despite racing Saturday and Sunday) and Dave heading up to this one with me. Chris was at the Firecracker Mile in Truckee, who we tried to catch up with after - more on that later.
We all pulled into he parking lot at North Tahoe Regional Park just after 7, and we were about the third car there. Perfect timing - after we moseyed over and picked up our bibs, the lot was filling up and the line looked like this:
We wasted some warming up and dorking around (like we do)...
And, only about 15 minutes past the advertised start time, were rewarded with a race briefing.
Eventually we had an informal line-up and took off, 5 and 10K at the same time, for a lap around the soccer fields and then onto the course. it started with a mean little uphill:
And then onto a nice combination of fire roads and singletrack. Here are a couple pics from the early stages:
Pretty soon the 10K split off from the 5K. There was supposed to be a person waiting here guiding the runners to the right courses; unfortunately someone had slipped past him and he had run off to chase him down. As I came up on the turn, he was working his way back, telling people to head to the left for the 10K. I had already gone past the turn, though, because - the turn wasn't marked. At all. This was a pretty big fail right here in my book - although of course the plan was to have someone stationed there, things tend to happen - and a simple 5K/10K arrow sign really isn't that hard to come up with. I think a good 8-10 people passed me here as I turned back to take the correct trail - all but one of whom I eventually passed.
This is a good place to show you some maps. Here's the Google Earth view of the route:
And the map data from my Garmin:
The link to Garmin connect:
And the elevation profile that I teased out of Google Earth, which very closely matched my watch data. (After I flipped it - I think they did the mapping from the finish back, which is why the numbers show up backwards...)
After the 10K turnoff, we did the grind up to that high point. The last bit was pretty dang steep, and I did some walking up to the top - while still maintaining my position behind the guy in front of me, who was running. Yep, that kind of hill. Big downhill after, though, after which we tuned back onto the 5K course to plow down to the finish. I had stopped taking pictures to concentrate on running at this point.
Not long after we passed the 5K/10K split again, we hit the road for a couple rolling hills before more downhill. We passed the golf course, turned onto the main road by the lake, and crossed over toward the beach. From here it was half to 3/4 of a mile on the beach, which was mostly on packed sand. Since it's such a high water year, though, we actually had to get in the water to get around a couple piers and things. Cool Tahoe water felt pretty good at that point, but I had some pretty squishy shoes going on.
We were passing a lot of 5K runners at that point, but I was sure I had a 10k person right on my tail, so splashed my way pretty aggressively through the last bit. An uphill finish in leg-churning sand had me putting my head down and gutting it out - to find , at the finish, that there was no one near me. Not sure what I was imagining there, but at least it was a strong finish.
The Big Blue crew was doing their best to get the finish area organized, but seemed woefully understaffed today. The RD, Todd Jackson, was handing out t-shirts from the trailer and promising that the shuttle back to the start would be there "soon" - at about 15 minute increments. This was of prime importance to us, as we wanted to try to make it back to Truckee in time to cheer/heckle Chris at the Firecracker Mile. (This was of course made less possible by the late start to the race in the first place.) The van eventually showed up, and we sent Amber back to the start to pick up her car - Dave and I waiting at the finish to see if anyone won anything. But by the time Amber texted to say she was leaving the start area, they hadn't posted the results - so I'm still not sure where I finished.
A frantic drive over 267 to Truckee, and Dave and I jumped out of the car to jog up to the finish. We quickly realized that the Mile had already ended, but couldn't find Chris in the parade/race finish mess. Before too long, though, we found Amber again, and Gretchen, who had taken 3rd female in the mile (a week after smoking Western States 100.)
After a LOT more milling around, we spotted Chris - he had ended up winning the mile, and was coming back from his cool down. We hooded up with his family for a while, and got a picture or two:
But Amber, Dave and I were getting pretty hungry by this point, and had to take off to find some food. We made it to Fifty/Fifty Brewing and reinforced our opinion of the place: great beers, great food, but wow, it takes a long time to be served. We thought ahead, though, and ordered some nachos to take the edge off.
Don't know when my next race is - I may be sitting them out for a little while here. Training for the Lake Tahoe Marathon starts in earnest next week. But this was a pretty good wrap up to the early summer race season -