Rock/Creek

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mt Cheaha 50K, 2013-Tight Shirts and Lycra Larry

Photo by Tony Scott
I signed up on the waiting list for Mt. Cheaha 50K hoping I would not make it in. The next week I got a confirmation otherwise. I went into this race extremely confident coming off of my Mtn Mist 5:49 finish. I knew Mt. Cheaha was hard but I under estimated the misery to come. It all started on Friday night driving in a cloud to the top of Cheaha. I go in the lodge to get my race packet and I see Dink Taylor. He say's hello and shakes my hand. I'm pretty sure we're best friends now. We (not me and Dink) go to the Hampton in for a restful night. The bed slept about as good as if it were lined with hungry ethiopians. The next morning Tony Scott shuttled Christy and myself to the race start 31 miles away from the finish. Ok...my race report would not be complete without a poop story and a lead character. The poop story to begin with... The blue stink-rockets were filled and I had to go. I notice a bunch of people were going across the street and playing "find the wiggle-worm" in the woods. So I found me a nice big tree that had fallen and the roots and dirt wad in the air to hunker behind. Well what do you know...some lady comes walking down the trail and I'm mooning her in the middle of birthing pains. Well at least she didn't point and giggle like I would have done if it would have been her in the catcher's position. Now for the lead character...Tony and I are standing around and Larry Lycra Pants comes walking by. Larry has on skin tight shorts with a matching top. Not only were they skin tight, they were white. Umm, so when you have a combination of white, tight, and wet, we all get a bologna color peep-show. Plus his choice of attire was showcasing tools that I did not want to see. Hey, I'm not making fun of this guy...He had muscles and amazing hair...a combination I am lacking. In fact, I think he smoked me, so if that stuff makes you faster I may try it. 

Photo by Christy Scott
The race starts and immediately we enter the trails. The plan was not to run with Christy and keep a slower steady pace. Until the writing of this report I had no clue the elevation gain of the course. I believe the most I have done over 50k is Stump Jump with 5600'. I kept hearing about the amazing views of the course...and for the first 12.5 miles you could literally see at least 25-30 feet. We were running in a cloud. Somewhere around 12.5 miles the sun started burning off the fog and yes the views were very beautiful. The first 15 mile absolutely suck. The trails remind me of the Georgia Jewel which utilizes the Pinhoti trail system. What I hate about these trails are the short rolling/rocky sections that do not allow you to get a rhythm going. At 15 miles the trails smooth out and become more enjoyable. I believe it was around mile 18 we entered the aid station to be greeted by a familiar face...Josh Kennedy was there to insure no one quit at his aid station. 

Photo by Christy Scott
I believe it was around mile 20 that we come to a big river crossing. Due to the previous days rain the river was flowing very strong which necessitated the use of a rope to cross. It was at this point that I discovered a flaw in the Hoka's. You see, in deep flowing water the Hoka's want to become a boat and ride on top of the water...nevertheless it is still the best shoe period! Climbing, Climbing, Climbing...thats all you do on this course. I have noticed in trail running, people will catch you and never pass. Instead they often take up your running. When I walk they walk and so forth. For several miles there were 3 guys staying about 25' behind me. I was feeling ok and changed my tactics...I decided to push the flats and downhills to gain some distance on them. This plan worked PERFECT until they passed me. We leave the trails for a nice long dirt and paved road section. It was there the dudes left me. Each inclination of a climb felt like I was dragging Roseanne Barr. I was sick of climbing and sick of this race. We enter the last aid station before the "Blue Hell" climb. Me and some dude name Brian or Cliff or Peter...On the way up I discovered that this was Brian-Cliff-Peter's first ultra race. Some blue hair with a walker comes by us all happy and crap. I asked her if it got worse...she said yes. Well, it did. 


Photo by Janice Long
We finally summit the top thinking the pain is over. Nope, 2 more miles and mostly uphill. I finally come out of the woods and up the road to the finish. I see my wife in the distance waiving at me. It almost made me cry. It wasn't until I read Dink's Facebook post the next day that I discovered the elevation gain over the 31 miles was over 8000'. After the race I determined that Mt Cheaha would be a one-and-done event. Well a day later...I'm not so sure. Why? Look, it's hard, but you're on the trails doing what you love. I just gotta prepare better. I was disappointed in my time, however, upon discovering it is over twice the elevation gain of Mtn Mist, I can stomach it a little better. I finished the hardest trail 50K in Alabama in under 7 hrs. Oh yeah...friggin Christy Scott beat me by 40 minutes and to make it worse, she stopped to take pictures along the way.
Photo by Janice Long
Photo by Tony Scott
Photo by Tony Scott