Heat Dust & Dreamz in the Angeles Crest
[a continuing narrative of the Training Effect]
Summer as we know and love it here in SoCal was waiting for us this weekend. It was omnipresent behind every bush, around every corner, and shrivelling every shade spot within the feeble 33.3333 mile thread of our Saturday run.
Of course, the "Imperialist We" is none other than Dr. Casino Bingo, and yours truly, his infernal helper and trail-dwarf Draw Poker. We were there to time Dr. Bingo on a stretch of trail, perhaps not rocky enough to some standards, but adequate for the enjoyment of most; this time between Islip Saddle and Short Cut [25.91-59.3mi].
We calibrated the colo-rectal odometers [CRO], and were off. The sun had been flexing its chi for several hours. With the rising heat, I detected the smell of bat urine, but realized it was my hat, unwashed from a month ago.
Cooper Cyn was strangely quiet. We had expected to see stoner maidens creek side, but were treated to silence. Pulling away from the cool water, we could rest assured that we would now get our moneys worth.
Our first water drop at Pajarito was a welcome opportunity to fill bottles, push and shove to secure a shady spot. When that played out, we headed onward to Three Points. Every mile brought us further away from character-debilitating shade, and into the Flaming Furnace of the True Faith.
Three Points is a fairly short leg from Pajarito, but the theory here is that 2 closely spaced water-stops before a long bleak stretch of sun-blasted hell might be nice. A mitigating factor is that the trails are too rocky to push shopping karts, so this will have to do.
We sat in a semi-shady hole and swilled fairly cold Cokes, watched the sweat explode out of our pores, the salt rime on our faces, and feel the adobe nose-rockets form in our nostrils. The last was a purely private experience. With all liquids exhausted, and the car still 16 miles away, we decided to get moving again.
Being the observant squirrels we are, we noticed, strangely, that we had the trail entirely to ourselves. It must be "Old Cigarette Days" down in Palmdale. The rising mercury was an afterthought. Barking ducks stalked our every move through this landscape, taunting our fragile eggshell minds.
Aficianodos of the AC100 course are unanimous in their high regard for the stretch between Three Points and Mt Hillyer. It has everything you could possibly want: sun, scrubby bushes, minimal shade, sand, decomposing granite, indifferent lizards, the works. And thus we savored the full effect.
Summitting Mt Hillyer, the casual runner passes through the Fred Flintstone Stoner Wilderness. It is the boulder-coda to a Roman Wilderness of Pain. Wending your way through the rocks, and downward into the ever-compounding heat, we crossed into Bandido Campground.
The low pulse of a poorly played tom-tom greeted us. A quick glance revealed double-wide New Agers, who were there to commune with Beelzebub, or Barney. That deity is tolerant of mediocre musicianship. We left them in the sultry heat for the delights of Chilao.
Now we are 6.5 miles from Short Cut. All our bottles are dry. This is heat-training with an attitude. I seem to remember it being about 2 hours. My dick is not the same one I started with. Where did all these waffle-prints come from?
The sun is merciless. It's had all day to cook the various bowls we are staggering through. There is periodic shade. That ends in the final drop down into Short Cut Canyon. I know that the car is parked on the highway. I feel my blood thickening and my brain starting to backpedal. Eventually we make the shade, which corresponds to a strolling climb up and out.
I've had too much fun. I'm walking. I'm having recovered memories on what really training for this sport is like. Dr. Bingo has long since vanished up the trail. I arrive at the car. He is downloading trail-porn with a glassy stare, cold Coke in hand. I fall into the front seat. I stare at my feet and think of nothing at all.
He's the lucky one. On Sunday he gets to frolic on the slopes of Mt. Baldy, something to the effect of 24 miles. Meanwhile, I sandbag and do a JoggerzWhirld®� 11-mile outing on the Sam Merrill Trail. But then he's in training...and I'm not!
yours truly From the VisionKwest [Un]Divided Highway,