BigFoot 40: The Abbreviated Pilgrimage

My BigFoot 40 Avatar and Spirit Animal.
I finished BigFoot 40 in style—behind the wheel of a Buick Regal, driving three other woebegone 28mile DNFs like myself. It was a far cry from my race morning start that ended at Windy Ridge 27.79666 miles later. 

My first shameless thought on dropping was "how the fuck do I get out of here?"
Yeah, me love ultras long time, but I was a drowned rat looking for a lifeboat. Fortunately, I said this to Ryan Good who offered me his Buick Regal to drive to the finish. He was going to pace a friend for the last 15+miles and that saved him a long-ass stinky-butt drive to get his car. 

Let it be noted for all the city types that driving in rural Washington involves hours, the roads are curvy, and prone to sinks, sags, waves, and potholes as occur in a dynamic geology and weather. 


The day started well enough, but once the preliminaries had been replaced by lava boulder fields my shit-summer training made itself known in lethargic slowness. Past that and back into trees I was faced by waves of earnest young 20-mile Bobs & Betties—so fresh and new, dewy with enthusiasm and pheromones, while I oozed cynicism and ass. 

At the 11 mile Blue Lake aid-station I was wondering how to best spend the rest of the day. Beer and indolence came to mind. I reluctantly put away those childish thoughts, and started my wide-shadowed climb up and over a series of scenic ridges where the trees are green and flies are black. I was passed by friends old, new, and yet to be. Or Yeti to be. 

After a long descent we dropped down to a robust stream crossing, where I filtered water, but not enough. It was still 10+ miles to Windy Ridge, and I entertained brave hopes of making it out before cutoff and thus to a Stout Finish. Several ridges later I was fording a stream to a fixed-rope chute ascent.

On To The Blast Zone

Today was a good day for a fixed-rope chute ascent. It brought back memories of "Freedom of the Hills" 4th edition. Here it was all the dust you could eat before hitting the Blast Zone section of Mt St Helens.

I had the good fortune to see Mt St Helens in summer of 1979, as thru a plexiglass dorkly, while on an abortive Ranier summit attempt. Truly one of the most gorgeous mountains I'd ever seen. 

The Blast Zone is stark, and if you've run out at Joshua Tree it'll be familiar, and suck you dry. The first two runoff streams were silty brown, and I was holding out for The Oasis. 

Perhaps it was early-onset delirium I didn't want to filter water I could plow. Down to a half-bottle, having sucked 3 other 28oz'ers dry, I was starting to leg cramp and generally question why the fuck I was out there. Speed had dropped to 2mph, and I was falling behind fast. 

Made the Oasis, drank 56oz straight out of the stream, and slowly collected my monkey-mind. A timed-out DNF was looking more likely. The various runoff crossings and desperate calorie-hunting had eaten my margin. Looking at the next climb sealed the deal.

Strite To Destination Fucked! 

On my way up to Windy Ridge, I fell in with Peter and Grady who were also 40-mile pilgrims, and were on their way out. We misery-bonded over Beavis & Butthead, OzzyMan, and other divers shite to lighten the load. Grady's guts had blown up out there, and decided that was enough fun for the day.

As it worked out, we all rode in style back to the finish. I suppose we could've fought for the podium in the Buick Regal class, but we were gentlemen, and shit.

The Race

By now some impatient readers are wondering "enough of this bloated gas, dawg..." Fine. 

Candice Burt puts on a kick-ass event with the BigFoot Races. Period. So if you're not down with a real tough course, and aid positioned where you have to plan to make it in one piece, in a terrain that's fuck-all spectacular, then you need the Disney Marathons or a loop course in a park somewhere. That way you're never more than 200 yards from an asshole, if that's your bent.

"they don't know what love is/I know what love is..."


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