The formula: 1. Long uphill climbs - including nearly 5000 feet of climbing in first 10 miles. 2. Lots of sun exposure and little shade 3. 90 degree heat 4. No water stops along the route 5. Joplin Trail
We had 22 runners for our 22 mile run on Saturday (though some of them did 16 and not 22) + one crazy mountain biker. Most of us came with LOTS of water. Myself - I had 84 ounces in my camelback.
We set off on Santiago Trail right around 7AM. It was about 60 degrees when we started and the mercury would climb 30 degrees over the next six hours. I was on my bike and questioning my sanity. There was 5000+ feet of climbing ahead for me - a pretty rookie mountain biker. There was some single track. Some steep and long downhills, etc. AND there was Joplin Trail. This infamous trail comes at 8 miles into this trail and climbs 2000 feet in just under 2 miles. A steady 20% grade.
I did pretty well over the first 4 miles - keeping up just barely with the fast runners. Normally a good mountain biker would probably be ahead of all the runners - but the hills slowed me down considerable (they kept running). I felt pretty good about that. However, in the hills that followed after the 4 mile mark I lost the front of the back runners for good. I was playing "back and forth" with some of the mid-pack runners like Wendy and new OCTR members Kate. We got to Old Camp at mile 8 and I was fried. I needed a rest. Wendy and Kate had passed me in that last mile before Old Camp and that mile was a tough one. I saw them briefly there and they had to turn back for 8 miles. I had also met up with Charlie briefly who had turned around to go back to his car and planned to meet the 22 mile runners at mile 16 with more water and ice. The heat was already taking its toll and some of us had yet to tackle Joplin.
I waited at Old Camp for a bit for Skip, Addy, Nattie & Beiyi. They took a break there for a a bit as well. I think all told I sat there for 30 minutes. I was ready for Joplin or was I?
What kind of crazy person tries to take a bike up this trail anyway?? Well, a short ways on the trail - this wonderful group of 4 started taking turns helping me with my bike. There were no ridable section. It was step. Rocky at many point. Very narrow at many others. Saying it was a challenge is an understatement and I never could have down it without their help!
2 hours and 45 minutes later we made it to the top of Joplin. Spent and most of us out of water with 12 miles to go. We took a short break there and also ran into some guys in a Jeep who gave us 2 ice cold bottle of water. What a blessing! We were looking forward to mile 13 in 3 more miles where Charlie would be with water.
It had taken us a long time to get to this point so we were worried Charlie was gone. I biked down ahead in hopes to meet up with him - he was not there. I looked around for water and didn't find any. I sat down in the sun (there was no shade) and waited.
It wasn't too long before I started to hear Skip's military like chants of: "Way to go. Bring us water. Thank you Chaz. We really need it." And so on. Skip was repeating this all the way down the mountain!
Unfortunately there was a miscommunication. Charlie had left the water in a spot we didn't look (didn't want to leave it in plain sight). We were pretty bummed when we couldn't find it but Charlie really gets the credit for going out of his way to bring this stuff up on the mountain in his SUV. He had met up with the lead runners but he couldn't wait because he had a sick kid at home.
We all re-grouped and got another saving grace from a guy in a hummer that gave us two large bottles of water. I only had one sip and let the runners share. It was downhill from here and I knew I could make it without water but wasn't so sure about them. In fact - if it weren't for both our little angels I'm not sure how we all would have made it.
I left them there at this point and made my way down Harding. Having run it before it was so strange to see how fast things passed by as I made it down the 9.3 mile trail in just over 30 minutes. It was a fun ride for sure but preceded by a lot of hard work and help from some friends!
The runners did make it. They stopped 4 miles after I left them at Laurel Spring and "played" there for about an hour - drinking water, etc. They were up on that mountain for 9 hours total An amazing feat considering the conditions!
ALL runners on the 22 mile route had run out of water by at least mile 13. We learned a valuable lesson yesterday and many of us aren't exactly rookies at this kind of thing. It's pretty tough to do a 22 mile run in that kind of heat without some type of assistance. Some runners were carried nearly 100oz of water and still ran out!
Check out this very "untimely" warning we all saw AFTER we done:
The hot season here in California is obviously upon us. Run smart and stay hydrated!! (and be alert for kitty cats!) Jessica