Sunday, October 21, 2007

Bradbury, Bradbury, and Bradbury

This weekend was a planned Bradbury weekend and that is what it least today. A group of Trail Monsters was planning on meeting out at Bradbury yesterday morning to run and clean up the course in anticipation of next weekend's race. The plan was then to go back out this morning to run and check up on all the work we did Saturday. Unfortunately underage hunters and rain changed those plans. We all decided Friday that we would surrender the woods on Saturday to the Maine youth that would be partaking in Youth Deer Day and stay dry in our homes.

This morning we all met at Bradbury at 7 AM for our usual weekend traverse of the course. I just have to say here that it is an awesome course and tons of fun to run. The group this morning was a good one, with Jamie Anderson and Brian Mainson there when I arrived, and Blaine Moore and Ian Parlin arriving shortly afterwards. Also in attendance was a new trail runner, Randy I think was his name. I am terrible with names, especially first thing in the morning. In fact, I think I still call Jamie James sometimes and vice versa. Sorry guys. I should also add that Phil DiRusso joined us a couple miles into the run. Phil has the amazing ability to just meet us on the trail. At random spots. I have no idea how he does it but somehow he can sniff us out.

Today really was about working out the subtle details of race day and massaging the nuances of the course and making sure everything was thought about before someone complains about it on race day. So before starting, we discussed the start area and finish area set ups (plans changed a bit since the park rangers were hoping we could minimize the impact on the campground that is next to the start). We then headed out on our run and quickly discovered that the leaves on the Lanzo extension trail had to be cleared away if we had any hope of getting more than half the starters to the finish. Luckily there was enough experienced Bradbury runners on this run to get us through with no problems. All in all, the course was okay despite all the rain and wind the last couple weeks. Especially the "O" Trail. Apparently Ian thinks he is made of kevlar and no Maine youth would take a potshot at him. He braved the Maine woods yesterday and raked most of the heavily leaf canvased gnarly trail that is the "O". I met the creator of the "O" trail today as I was cleaning the course and he deemed us "cruel" for finishing the race on the "O". No one said this was going to be easy. Back to Ian and his rake. Awesome. Ian did a fantastic job and made running the trail more about physical stamina than an act of navigation. Thanks Ian.

Distance was a question that needed answering today. A couple days ago we got an email that said our course was 13.5 miles. Uh oh. The course is hard enough without adding any unadvertised miles. I have run the course with GPS a number of times and measured the course at 12 miles each time. Today we did it again with GPS (Jamie and myself) and both of us got close enough to 12 miles to call the course 12 miles. Curiously I set my Forerunner 305 to record data every second (versus the automatic default 3 (?) seconds) and found the course to be 11.8 miles. Every other time with the automatic setting I have recorded 12.05 to 12.10 miles. Once I uploaded the data to SportTracks my course distance was listed as 12.1 miles. I am not sure why the 1 second recording would be that much different than what SportTracks corrected it to and what my GPS recorded previously. Any ideas? Jamie, using the automatic recording got a course distance of 12.o or 12.1, so 12 it is.

The best thing happened at the end of the run. Once we exited the "O" trail my tummy starting fussing about how hungry it was and then I saw Kelly with Quinn and Riley. Excellent. Even better, Kelly had brought a bag of six breakfast sandwiches for us all. Perfect. My wife is the perfect specimen. Not only did she come out to help us clean the course (with the kids in the jogger, she brought food for us all). (I just told her what I wrote about her and she prefers I refer to her as "Super Woman".)

After a scrumptious bite we headed over to our cars, changed into our work clothes, grabbed our rakes, received our assignments from Ian, and then headed out. Joining us after the run to help us clean was Jeff Walker. I have never run with Jeff but I hear he is quick. Even better, he is a good person for selflessly giving up his Sunday morning to come out and help us clean the course even though he isn't able to run the race due to injury. He will be out at one of the aid stations with his wife and two kids, so if you are running the race and see a fit looking guy at an aid station with his family, thank him. My assignment was to clear the Lanzo and Lanzo Trail extension. This is no more than a 1.5-2.0 mile trail so how long could it take to mark and clean. Well, after seeing Ian's work on the "O" trail, I knew I had to keep with the high standards he set. Kelly brought along Riley and Quinn on the thin trails in the jogger (she worked harder getting them through the trail than I did raking) while continuously assuring mountain bikers that she wasn't lost. Phil also came along with us and helped Kelly tie surveyor's tapes to trees, set orange flags, and place red arrow signs to assure that no runner gets lost. And I raked...and raked...and raked. The Lanzo and Lanzo Extension trails now have about a two foot path raked through the woods. I have the blisters to prove it. It was worth the work as about 99% of the bikers and runners that came through the trail behind me thanks me profusely but went ahead of me with a little trepidation of what an unraked trail would bring them. I fear that Ian's and my rake have spoiled everyone. Sorry people, this is a once in a year occurrence. I will continue to do this for the users of Bradbury State Park if some of them will come rake my disheveled yard! I can say with a lot of confidence that if you get lost on the Lanzo Trail or on the "O" trail you need help.

After today's work I feel much better about the course for next weekend. It is going to be a great race for the experienced trail races as well as the newby. We are looking forward to over 100 runners, which exceeds our goal for the race. This will be a great turnout for a new race that has only been in the planning stages for two months. This speaks highly of the possibility of a season long trail racing series in Maine next year. More on this later. I gotta go. It's a one run game in the bottom of the 7th. Go Sox, or Cleveland (I live in New England but have family in Ohio). Oops, correction, Pedroia just hit a two run homer. Three run game. Maybe I can get to bed early tonight! Go Sox!


Jamie said...

That was fun yesterday. Looking forward to the race and helping out. Those entered are definitely in for a real treat.

Red Sox win!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to you Stephen and the others who helped make sure the runners stay on course. I can hardly wait for next Sunday as I am very curious how quickly the winners will get through that course given the tight turns and ups and downs. It is akin to an agility course set up for dogs.