Perfect weather greeted 50 or so runners this morning for the Northstar Mountain Run, put on by Big Blue Adventures. A little chilly before the start, nice during the run, and warm enough by the end that the winds on top of Mt. Pluto were refreshing.
Heading up from Reno, I got there early enough to wander around the village for awhile, pick up my bib, and do a bit of warming up. Eventually we all headed up to the informal start line for a race briefing:
Pretty soon we were off. And climbing. Here's what the elevation profile of this 10.2K (6.26 mile) race looked like:
It felt a bit more rolling than that, to be honest - I seem to remember some flatter areas in there that don't show up on the chart. There was even a funny section of switchbacks - which looked like this to the runner:
And this on my Garmin data:
Not long after that, we passed the photographer, who got these:
Hey, pictures of me! Novel concept -
But, yeah - it was a tough run. Most of it was looking straight uphill, like this:
Or, if you remembered to turn your head for a side view once in a while, you got views like this:
Nice, huh? The miles slogged by until I was pretty certain we were nearing the top - around 6 miles on my watch. With about a quarter mile left, runners were faced with this hill - I promise the picture doesn't do it justice. It was much more intimidating in person.
That hill took us to within about a hundred yards of the finish line. I was relieved and a little shaky at the top, and apparently wasn't watching my feet, because I took a pretty hard fall with about 50 yards left. landed on both my palms, rolled onto my right hip, and got pretty dusty and dirty. Here's the aftermath - a bloody hand:
Ah, it's not too bad. I hadn't had a good trail fall in a while, I was overdue.
I let my heart rate settle down at the top a bit, and had an electrolyte drink and some watermelon. Wandered to a good vantage point and took this panorama with a new Android app, Pano.
The first page of results got posted pretty quick, and I learned that the one guy that passed me on the course wasn't in his 50s, like I thought, but 39 - in my age group. (He looked older from the back...) That pushed me to 4th in my age group, so I didn't bother waiting around for the awards. Besides, there was still a ways to go to get back to the village...
So we were a the top of the mountain - how were we going to get back down? Well, there's these ski lift things. Unfortunately, though, they weren't running the Pluto lift that we were right next to, so we had to walk back down a couple miles to the next one. (The RD said that if they have a bigger turnout for the race, Northstar might run the upper lift for them. That would be nice.) Anyway, I made it down and only had to wait a couple minutes for a "download" lift:
Now that's a good way to get down a mountain. Although, the big downhill mountain bikes we were watching on our way looked pretty fun too...
So, another Big Blue race out of the way. No series points earned for me on this one, but at least I got some good altitude hill training in. Now I hope this hip that I fell on isn't sore tomorrow...
(Huh, I forgot they do 5 year age groups - I actually came in third. There's another pint glass I missed out on...)