or : The Baldy Peaks Course Preview
A "KONDENSED KLASSIC" VERSION:
A training run. Baldy Peaks, 2 times over the 10,067 summit. Heat, dust and dreemz. Lots of elevation gain, rocks, switchbacks of both Eastern and Western proportions. The JogBra team on site. Nose rocks to suit the owner. Bonking. This could be you on race day, Oct 21, 2000. Delete now.
THE "BONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO THE NIGHT" VERSION.
Saturday morning found our Tres Amigos desperately searching for reasons why we couldn't be down in Montclair picking up girls. The clock was ticking, the mighty mountain awaited our feeble efforts with yawning indifference...
A wave start out of Ice House Canyon clustered Team 3A in a competitive profile. We are Balto the Wonder Dawg, Casino Bingo, and your humble scrivener, Draw Poker.
Christina Aguilera was calling splits at the mile mark. A brass band announced our modest intentions of conquering the wilderness. PR flacks quoted us promiscuously. There was no fact-checking, and it was good.
The itinerary, ladies and gents, was two full loops on the Baldy Peaks 50k course. This is the canonical course, as dreamed and actualized by John Davis of Claremont. It is a course that will cause you to take inventory of your meager 50k possesions. There are scenic distractions, some elevation gain, a few rocks but not enough to dissuade most of the gathered readership.
There is also a hidden element on the course, the one that inspires those of the "Ultras as Sunday School" devotional sect.
You will be gathered to the mountain-top not once, but twice! Sa-tan will show you the great subdivisions of the known Western World, and you will be temp-ted. You will have a descent into the lush pleasure grotto known as Manker Flats, where you will be refreshed and humoured, then Expelled.
On your Exile from Manker you will take the torturous path past the Sierra Club Hut. You imagine your earthly woes behind you. You dream that your splits, so earnestly discussed on days like this and again at work, will improve. But no. The trail, in its ineffable wisdom takes the direct and thorough path to your redemption up over boulders, with nary a candy-ass shopping-kart switchback in sight. It goes straight up. There are places you reach out and touch the face of Gawd®™, and it is granitic with a grinning lizard staring back at you.
But enough!--that is Ultra Sunday School! You, however-- are throbbing, sweating, dusty avatars and demiurges of the Meat-Space Coordinates! This is the pumping disco-beat of What's Happening Now, Baby! And once you get all of your legs under you and heading back down to the Notch, it's a different world---yeah!
Team JogBra? You thought I'd forgotten! No way!
The Troll once asked the Knight "What is your favourite colour?" If you answered Heather Gray- into the abyss! White? Maybe you passed. Fire Engine Red? The troll is hurled into the crevasse. On with the VisionKwest.
And thus we were. We three, we raggeddy-assed three made it back to the Notch. Balto and Casino Bingo elected to do the Extra Credit Continuation up Thunder Mtn, and then go "off-course" to Ice-House via the 3-T's Trail.
I, humble peg-legged nephew of the Little People of Stonehenge, elected to depart from this Dynamic Duo and make my solitary way down to Manker Flat. My dharma had taken me on the Non-Mandatory Path, away from the Toolshed of the Mountain Godz. My car awaited me there, from the morning.
I then drove down to Ice House, lolled in narcoleptic twilight and awaited the arrival of Balto and Dr C. Bingo. In time, they emerged from the still lengthening shadows. They too sat inert and pondered the Tao of Duh.
Before We were Heroes We Were Grinders. The Mysteries of Baldy had been revealed, but are inadequately conveyed, and are as transient as a baton-twirling trophy at a garage-sale.
Baldy Peaks awaits you and your efforts. You will get your money's worth. You can buy that for a dollar and still get change back.
NEXT WEEK: "Coyote Ugly-- & You"
yours truly From the VisionKwest [Un]Divided Highway,