Mt Disappointment 50k: Notes and Comment
Jorge Pacheco won the Mt Disappointment 50k in 5 hrs. It took me 10hrs. Based on the entry fee, he paid twice as much per hour than I did for all that fun, not to mention heat, dust and dreams.
This course would be a fine introduction for those who've been led to believe in "California Carpet Trails". Had they been there yesterday, they've wished that they'd stayed home where it didn't get above 80º, and see their brows unfurrowed by inconvenient clouds blocking out the neutrino storms that are just par for this course.
For the veterans out there, this race course was the mutant love-child of the bygone Lost Boys 50 and Bishop Mule Run 50k. The West Fork of the San Gabriel is examined thoroughly from high and low—crossing it at least 4 times, with lengthy run ups and outs to sun-blasted slopes where water is a seasonal memory far in the past, and nowhere to be seen.
The race starts and finishes on Mt Wilson in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. And therein lies the story.
The sun came up at 0630, got settled in by 7, and stayed there all day. Shortly before [Westfork #1/10.7 mi] I did the first of 3 creek-dunks. Good news was that it reset my core temperature by 3º. Bad news was the load of silty grit in my shoes which raised a fine set of blisters by the finish. But this was all in the distant future of my heirs and legatees, waiting an hour below the finish line.
Making full profligate use of character-debilitating shade up to Newcomb's Saddle [14.5 mi] took the usual amount of time, but since temps had already jacked into the high 80s by 10:00, I was sucking down every last drop coming into the next Aid Station, where I looted as much watermelon possible.
By the time we happy few began our descent from Newcombs into the West Fork of the San Gabriel, all the shade had been stolen by the rat-bastard front runners. I filed a complaint with Race Mgmt, and it was filed in the usual place.
The a lengthy approach up out of the West Fork on the Edison Road up to Short Cut was a catechism of solar suffering, and a rebuke to all who'd passed through at Angeles Crest, because they were going the opposite direction when it was cooling off, three weeks earlier. The suffering would have been way more intense had Race Mgmt not set up a ice/water short-stop 2 miles from the top. I was completely bone dry.
At Short Cut, the "WTF, only 23.7 miles?", we dropped down the Silver Moccasin Trail back down into the West Fork. The trail was sufficiently carpeted for a teaser interval, but ended quickly as it hit the bottoms heading back into the West Fork Aid Station. This section goes thru a Rattler Condo stretch at the higher portions, where expansive south-facing slopes are a great place to raise snake families. But since it was up over 100º, they were all denning and not doing anything stupid.
West Fork 2 [27.7 mi] saw your rapidly diminishing correspondent take inventory of his assets, because the finish line beckoned, two hours away, and 2000' higher. If only. And all the letters to "Penthouse" are true, in another century.
Things were ducky after the 2000' climb out of West Fork, until a mile out from the finish, when I began to have Grand Mal Leg Cramps. Bellowing like a gored rhino, it was all I could do not to fall down and be stuck there. A well-meaning passerby told me I was "looking good, and almost there", two sure-fire statements that can only annoy the crap out of me. But they meant well, and were not pushed over the side.
Long before I surfaced at the top, smoke was coming out from under the hood, with two flat tires, and about to throw a rod. But, seriously, what the fuck? This was only a 50k, I remembered I used to do 100s. Stabbing these inconvenient recovered memories in the face, I made the final climb up to the finish line, where I was greeted by loving abuse from various friends, who took time out of their afternoon for this diversion.
To all the hilarious guys and gals I whiled away this Saturday with—it was delightful. I learned more about preacher's kids, architectural school admissions, South America, and other hot topics than I'd come to the party with. And if my sentences were complete, you lucked out.
Finally, I'd boldly promised my sponsors [URFKT100, IguanaTrdz NRG Barz®™] a daylight finish I delivered, dammit. This run was also a fund-raiser to raise awareness of flatulence and entropy, and met all funding goals. Now the ultra world can sleep easier, because nobody else gives a shit.