A Beginner's Guide To Western States
Yes, it's that time of year again, when Young Ultrarunners Everywhere Like You®™ turn their fond attentions and deficit-disorders to Western States 100. You've been to Kamp n0Rm, you've sat thru the Blister Show, and been anointed in Knowledge. But to help you along in your Epic VisionKwest®™, I have compiled some of the Ancient Secrets that will help You and You Alone. These are cryptic and hermeutic. As Don Juan Castaneda once said, "This will put the plomo in your Lapiz".
It will be dark and cold. Your nipples will be very perky. This is a good time to be a detached bystander, but you arent, so there. You'll have past-life memories flooding your consciousness, and be incredibly desirous of taking a leak in the bushes.
The gun goes off. Maybe its a howitzer. In any event, the shell goes long, and a hidden meth lab over the next ridge gets buried in an avalanche. You're Off! Most of you love-guns will FLY out of Squaw!
Relax! Don't do it. Stroll up and over Emigrant Pass. You've got 5 miles of a leisurely climb. Have a Pall Mall Straight. Drift along in someone else's flashlight beam. Have that stick of butter with the pickle juice you've saved. It'll come in handy later.
SNOW AT THE TOP
Yes, we've had a spectacular winter. There will be snow. Think of it in a new light: Mr Snow is giving Mr Trail Dust a big butt-hug. It'll keep your sox from getting dirty. This will go on for a while. Make sure not to eat any yellow snow. Unless it's some you brought with you from home.
By now you are in a panic that you've lost all that time slipping around. "Wee-wax", says Emer Fudd. Now it's getting warm. Guess what? It'll stay that way for the rest of your natural-born WS100 Kareer. You may have noticed that the canyons run in a WSW direction. The net effect of this handiwork is that it focusses Mr Sun's Rayz as effectively as parabolic mirrors and heating coils. This was all by Gawd's Hand. Its all for you. Be at One with this.
Here's a fact: it'll be at least 1000 degrees Celsius. Now is the time to wear those Ice Pants you bought at the WS Gear Expo at Squaw. Fill them with 20lbs of ice, and they'll keep you in fine form until you get to Devil's Thumb. If you forgot to buy them, you'll be able to strip them from the carcass of an expired WS runner. Be sure to swap bib numbers.
DEVIL'S THUMB AND MICHIGAN BLUFF
This is where you really find out some fun things about ultrarunners, and your training. Despite everything you may have inhaled on or off the List, utlrarunners are not your family or friends. This thesis is best tested in the following manner. Be dehydrated. Feel your quads locking up and that pounding in your kidneys, as if squirrels are standing on your back and swinging tiny 5-lb mauls. In cadence. There is a roaring in your ears. You are doubled over. Count the number of people running past you, even though its uphill, like you had Ebola. Its One Big Happy Fambly after all.
The good news about Michigan Bluff is that this is the first Epic Trail Betty View Point. All the Trail Betties within a 200-mile radius are gathered here. The bad news is, they are hooked up with Someone Else, and are definitely not interested in a dust-covered, snot-stained, proto-delerious Loser like yourself. Maybe with a shower, possibly. Enjoy the sights and keep moving.
FORESTHILL, PACERS AND U
Many fond memories flood through my Fragile Eggshell Mind when I think of Foresthill. They devolve around lithe and lovely young women in hula skirts and halter-tops. One friend of mine, experienced a similar vision, only it was a large shaggy man in a similar outfit. Maybe it was a bear on a day pass. In any event, This is the point Where Many Dreams Die. The sun is beginning to set, you've shot yr wad in the Canyons, and the Siren Call of Motel is luring you into a Life of Vice. If it comes with an MGL Guarantee, go for it. Otherwise, calorie up and be off.
You may have picked up your pacer here. Oh joy. They might be fired up and full of piss-n-vinegar. Or they may be terrified because this is their first Night Run Ever. They've got their tasers and crocodile guns at the ready, and be loaded down with a full pharmacopia they found on ebay. In some instances they might be carrying a tow rope. They most likely will NOT have jumper cables. And they'll be staring at your hairy ass for the next 14 hours. What's not to like!
ON TO RUCKY-CHUCKY
This particular stretch of trail may have anywhere from 3-9 aid stations, named Cal 3, 5, , or 4.5. Some of them may have The Haunting Melodies of Aulde Native American Skin Flute wafting thru the poison oak. This is designed to soothe the Angry Chi of some of you, others it may induce a fatal Yanni-esque Coma from which Ther Is No Recovery. Stumble Away! Take me to the River!
You arrive at the River. In your mind you'll be doing the Epic Crossing. But you'll be holding on to a steel cable, held by 41 upright neoprened Chorus Manly Men. You make it to the Other Side. Climb! Climb up to Greengate. Observe the barf-splats in the dust! You might see pacers holding flashlights scrutinizing the urine streams of their hapless runners. Usually this is a misdemeanor offense in some municipalities, but is waived for the duration of the WS100.
ON TO THE FINISH.
The alert monkey mind at this point has begun to notice that the trail is less rocky, more smooth, and the terrain more gentle than what has transpired earlier. This is the Kosmic Joke of WS. You've humped and pumped like a horny sailor on the wham-bang downhill sections. Now your quads are shot. Foolish squirrel! This is where you get to let your freak flag fly! Pass all those smart ass losers who busted out of Emigrant! Smoke 'em! Show them the true meaning of sportsmanship. Here is some sample dialog to try out:
"Damn! Your dick *really* is in the dirt!"
"You look really shitty! Maybe you oughta drop!"
And so forth. Improvise! Be Creative!
I mentioned pacers earlier. You'll be seeing and hearing a lot of really interesting interactions which cover the full range of Honesty and Emotion [ie Dr Phil to Montel]. Take notes, and use it on your next Marriage Encounter Weekend.
You have just cashed in every last IOU. Your family, friends, SO's, fuck-buddies owe you NOTHING. They are not interested in how much you hurt. Promise. YOU are in their mortal debt for as long as they can make it swing. Lip off to your spouse/whatever--start looking for a dumpster to live in. Be sure it has a Dish so you can watch low-grade porn while sipping your Vintage Lady Lee Vodka.
And with that my little chickadees, you're off to the races!
Mr Trail Safety
"Tanned, rested and ready
from his Secure, Undisclosed Location"
This message is being sent by or on behalf of Mr Trail Safety. It is intended exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed, excluding non-specific incarnations and bardo-state entities. It contains concepts that may challenge you. You will adjust. This communication may contain information that is proprietary, privileged or confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure, certain to cause cerebral flatulence and conceptual infarctions among the simple-minded and comedy-challenged. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it, including channelling the aforementioned to spirit-bodies, Taiwanese Dream-Catchers, Heritage Barbie Dolls or Dale Earnhardt Collector plates. But go ahead, live dangerously, drive left-of-center and give it your best shot. If you have received this message in error, you are SOL and deserve it--you'll have subsequent incarnations to work out the kinks.
Here, have some salt.