The rescheduled SGM50k was run under perfect conditions this past Saturday. For those laboring under sleeting conditions elsewhere, now would be a good time to ignore the following paragraphs.
RD Jim O'Brien has designed the San Gabriel Mtn 50k to take full advantage of the vertical delights of Mt Wilson. The course is largely absent of debilitating flat stretches, which can only lead the unwary into the snares and traps of complacency. How many flat loops can any sane person do? How much frozen Hoosier mud does anybody need in this short life? I'm certain that many people asked themselves these questions.
Runners got off to a scenic start from the top of Mt Wilson. A scenic view of Catalina Island and the blue Pacific beckoned off to the south, but many had their focus on PowerBars, splits, Gu and future glory.
Tom Nielsen hung back in the parking lot, by accident or design is not clear. Perhaps it was too crowded at the start. In any event, a full 90 seconds had elapsed before he busted his first move of the day, which led to his eventual win.
In the meantime, the Sturtevant Camp Aid Station crew wended their way down the mountain to our appointed destination. Rafael Acero, Bryan Beel, Daniel Fabian, Bob the Ham Radio Dude, and yours truly, the modest and retiring Mr Trail Safety comprised the talent. Bob's Beer-Seeking Dog Hansen had other engagements this year, and was unable to make it.
We set up shop. We had the invaluable assistance of Mr Chris Kasten, who manages the Sturtevant Camp on weekends. This camp dates from 1893, the original site of the Santa Anita ranger cabin. Only 4 miles from Chantry Flats, it is an entire world away from the hell-bent pell mell world of Western Civ Yuppie Anxiety.
But back to our suffering penititents. They would pass through our Aid Station twice--miles 17 and 28 respectively. Some of you [and you know who you are] didnt train as well as you ought to, and frankly looked like hell. They got pulled as they were missing the cut-offs. Others were more of the Gallants, and got gold stars stapled to your foreheads.
A Mr Trail-Safety Aid Station is not complete without an espresso machine, and Barney, the purple fuzzy ultra hand-puppet. The satanic vapors of strong black 'spro and Barney's cheery words and phrases of sincere encouragement were much appreciated by many of the runners; or at least the ones who are not terminally humor-challenged. Even the recent diagnosis of Tourette's has not slackened Barney's enthusiasm. I drink my coffee black, you devil.
By 1430 our last runner had gone through. We had seen many familiar SoCal luminaries, including but not limited to Tom Nielsen, Suzanne Brana, Jorge Pacheco, Mark Marcelli [a recent repatriate from PA], Dana Taylor, and Bill Kissell for starters. Representing NorCal were Jennifer Johnston, Dave Penny, and Mike Soltesz from Marin.
The rest of the fragile eggshell minds continued their way along the dawn's highway. The finish is so close, and somehow, so far away. But in the end, you are up where you belong, and you say to yourself...what a wonderful world!
Until next year, my ultra-chickadees!