Saturday, May 9, 2009

Balarat Trail Race

Ran the Balarat Trail Race today.

It was a lot of fun, a challenging course that is very beautiful with nice trails, some dirt road and some single track.

The flyers say it's a 6 mile race, my Garmin read 5.5, took me 57:23.

It's about a half hour drive from Boulder. You drive through Jamestown via left hand canyon road (which is really a beautiful drive with some great views, scenery and houses). Jamestown looks like a neat little town, but didn't have time to stop either way. About 4 miles past Jamestown there is a dirt road turn off to the Balarat Outdoor Center. There were a bunch of firemen and people at the turn off, so I thought that was the start of the race. I parked and walked over to one of the fireman and it turns out they were training for rescue and the race was like a mile and a half up the dirt road. Good thing I asked.

So I get there and park and I'm way early as always. 8:30 for a 10:0 race start. It was about 38 degrees, but dry. We had a big rain storm in Denver last night and I though the place would be soaked and muddy but a volunteer told me they didn't get any rain.

They make you park about 1/2 mile from the registration and race start. So I kept on warm clothes and went down and registered. It's a very low frills race. Most of the volunteers look like mountain hippies but they were all nice. There's a school there and they had bathrooms and buildings so It was kinda nice. I registered and instead of a bib they give you a age group colored sticky to pin on your clothes, then when you finish they peel it off and put it on the board to show your place. The starter used a real rifle to start the race. That was load but kind cool.

After I got my packet and goodie bag and shirt a coffee and a bagle I headed back to my car. I forgot my gloves and my hands were cold. I warmed up in the car for a while. Didn't have a cell signal it was so far back in the mountains from Boulder. So I dressed out and started back down to the race with about a half hour to go. It was warming up and the sun was coming out, it was a nice day.

As I'm walking back this guy comes up and asks me about Pikes Peak, since I had my finishers shirt on from last year. His name was Rod Reego or Rodreego, not sure. Anyway he was a nice guy and we ended up talking a lot and running most of the race together. He's signed up for Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak, he might join us for some training runs. I gave him the web site address for the pickled prostates.

Just before the race I saw Jeff and his wife Dana. Jeff said he wasn't going to run it, but changed his mind. Dana was doing the 2 mile walk. Jeff has run 1 mile 2 days ago in the last 6 weeks since Moab. 1 Mile. He said he was going to run as far as he could and then walk the rest. A noble effort. I introduced Jeff and Rodrigo just before the start and we were off.

Jeff said good luck as Rodrigo and I ran up the hill. My Garmin data is below, it's a tough course that runs a figure 8 through the area, 3 major hills with great views at the top. Some Steep downhill but mostly Steep uphill with more gradual downhill. Some on the road but most on trails including single track. Lots of stream crosses that were kinda cool on these little wooden bridges. Also had to run through a few streams, but not deep.

Up the first hill, which turned out to be the toughest. I passed Rodrigo, some people where starting to walk, I passed a few and then the altitude and the steep grade got me and I slowed down and then had to walk near the peak. To my suprise Jeff passed me. I couldn't believe it. That sandbagger was going strong. I never saw him again. He ended up finishing 3 minutes ahead of me. Kudos to Jeff, for that. He always kills me in the mountain runs even today. There were 3 hills total, I had to walk / walk-run some on each of them. Reminded me of Pikes Peak and how tough that can be. The elevation went from 7500 to 8250, with 1400 feet gain and loss along the way.

So Rodrigo and I ended up passing each other about 6 times back and forth. We ended up finishing almost together, he was right behind me 57:23. There was another lady that I kept passing back and forth about 4 times. She ended up ahead of me, she was a strong runner. I talked to her after the race and it turns out she runs downtown at lunch with a group. I told her about our group and where we meet, she says she'll try to meet us by the Y. I told her we usually run toward wash park and she said she had never even gone that direction. Usually ran around toward confluence.

The finish was up hill. My calfs were a little tight and my heels sore from all the rocks and slipping that goes with trail running. They had a blue grass band and hotdogs and hamburgers with tea at the finish. It was fun. Talked to some other runners including Emily and Rodrigo and Jeff of course and had a turkey dog.

I had my Dallas White Rock Marathon shirt on and this guy comes up to me and unzips his boston 2009 marathon jacket and shows his white rock shirt and says nice shirt. We had both run that race last year. We talked about the wind and running. He's done Boston 9 times and does Dallas every year. He ws from Ohio and was visiting his daughter with his wife and decided to run it. He looked like a really fit runner around 50. Didn't catch his name. But 9 Bostons, you know he's a really good runner.

OK, I over-blogged again, but it was a fun race and a fun day and I wanted to get everything down before I forget it, for next year or whenever. I'd like to get a group together next year and do it. It's for a good cause and it's a neat course.

Garmin Watch Data for Run

6 Miles 57:23

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