Intimidating hill of the day (and other funny things)

Categories: ft yargo   mountain biking   Running

Saturday, I had the first half of my exciting weekend running, getting ice cream. Now, as exciting as this was, it was all roads, shoulders and sidewalks, dodging cars and breathing exhaust.  So Sunday, the plan was miles of trails.

Our group planned to meet at Ft. Yargo State Park at 7:30. This is when we usually meet, and has the advantage of getting us off the trail by the time the bikers are started. Clay, Joe and myself made the early hour. Everyone else was AWOL. Now, normally I won’t name drop like this, but it comes back later.

For a change of pace, we decided to go counter-clockwise. This will be against the bike traffic, which is good so we could get out of the way as needed. Off we set, and the speedsters rapidly take off. Because I screwed up my knee the day before, I decide to play it by ear. I made it through the first mile and was ok. At the end of the second mile, I thought about turning around, but decided it was just as easy to go forward to get back to the car. (Okay, never mind the fact that it was 2 miles back or at least 6 miles forward. Hey, I was in pain and not thinking clearly. Yeah, that’s the ticket…pain blurring the thoughts. You did buy it, right?)

Now, not being the total masochist, I did cut across the bridge near camping area B, cutting 3 miles off the trail. I had the vague thought I’d catch Team Speed at some point, but it never happened. I think I heard them talking at one point on the gas line, but I was on the trail in the shade.  At this point, about 4 miles in, I realize I’m almost hiking instead of running, so I adjust myself mentally and decide to take it easy.  Ah, that’s better…my knee only hurts half the time going downhill.

As I headed down the gas line (after the trail comes back out of the trees), I kept going down. And down some more. Boy, I realized that if I was going the other direction, this hill would be REALLY INTIMIDATING!

Here’s a picture of it, so you can feel appropriately in awe. If you look closely, you’ll see a mountain biker powering up it. I had to stay and watch him…he made it up, but I could’ve sworn he was wobbling from exhausting at the top:

(Now, just so you don’t thinking I’m a sniveling whinger who’s all talk, I did run UP this hill once. And, it was at about mile 25 of my 29 Cubed race, so I wasn’t exactly on fresh legs. And yes, it was a long ways up.)

So, as you may have noticed, I mentioned a biker. He passed me at the bottom of the hill. As I continued on, more and more bikers started coming. Now, I knew I was going slow, but that’s okay, since I was packing plenty of water in my fancy new CamelBack. Of course, a few made smart comments, such as “dude, your going the wrong way.” I continued on, and at one point, one of them wiped out right after passing me. (He must have past bad karma, since he only said hello as passing.)

A while later, a group of three passed. The first guy, in a proper a English accent, said “two more behind me.” So I hang on the side of the trail, and see the other two coming. I tried cheering them on with a “Come on! You can take him!”, but they didn’t understand me. As they get closer, it was two women, and one of them says with her accent, “hey, where’s your bike?”.

Well, to cut it short, I finished in a dreadful 2:21. My GPS said about 8.5 miles, but reviewing the tracks, it did lose coverage a little bit, so I’ll call it an even 25 miles. :)

Getting home, naturally I did want every team player does. I sent an email to the group, something along the lines of “Hey, where the heck were y’all? And you missed British accents! everyone loves accents. “

A while later, I get this message back from an esteemed member of our club, and nearly fell out of my chair laughing:

That's funny, that was my wife asking about the missing bike. she was out riding Yargo this morning and came across a runner with a camel back. I saw your message and just asked her, she replied - "how did you know about that"! She's from Liverpool, UK.

(Thanks Simon, that made my whole  day! Say hi to the wife from the idiot who forgot his bike. Sorry for confusing the accent, but you now how us dumb Americans are so culturally insensitive to these things.)

Ah, and to complete the mood of the weekend, I treated myself to an ice cream shake in the afternoon.

Written on April 21, 2008