Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cool Memorial

Young Mountain Runners
at No Hands Bridge

Week Summary

River Flats: 5.6 mi (+10 ft); 10:39 pace
Centennial Single Tracks: 6.0 mi (+589 ft); 10:05 pace
Goni East Trails: 4.8 mi (+572 ft); 9:52 pace
Mathis Memorial - Auburn: 33.6 mi (+4,735 ft); 12:46 pace
Weekly Totals: 50.0 mi (+5,906 ft); 10:02:42 on trail

Ran through a relatively easy week ending with the Memorial Run for Robert and Linda Mathis at Auburn Overlook. The easy schedule meant nothing over an hour in duration and mostly Base-level pace.  The Centennial Single Tracks are impressive, and for the first time (not counting the Rim Trail) I met another avid trail runner, Steve Lang from He has mapped and continues to develop trails and routes around Carson City, his trail maps at the ccrunners website look very appealing.

I added in some quick pick-up intervals on Thursday's short Goni Trail effort. I was surprised to glance at the watch and see a sub-6 pace. Of course, this was only for a minute pick-up, but it was interesting to see what that feels like. Not too bad really, but I'd have a completely different opinion after a few minutes at that level.

On Saturday morning I picked up Darren early for a drive to the Mathis Memorial Run at the Auburn (CA) Overlook. In memory of local race directors Robert and Lina Mathis, a large group gathered at the Overlook Park on a perfect blue-sky day. Although simply a informal trail run from the Overlook to Cool and back, Aaron Summerhays and Jennifer Dicus, along with the usual helpful volunteers, set up a cook-out and a couple well-stocked aid stations (No Hands Bridge and Cool Fire Station). Stories of "my first ultra" and "I loved that event" floated, like colorful balloons, around the starting area. I knew them hardly at all, but I did have a Mathis "my first ultra" story, so it was nice to spend time on a great trail and perfect day with those memories.

Gathering at the Mathis Memorial - Auburn Overlook Park
Darren and I left the park a little early with a goal of completing the 50K+ race route that descended from the Overlook to No Hands Bridge and then climbed the K2 training hill (Ohmstead Trail) looping around to Cool twice and then returned to the Overlook. Participants in the memorial completed a variety of routes, but most enjoyed a 14-mile (or so) out-and-back from the Overlook to Cool. You couldn't have designed a better day to be out on the trail.

Darren moving up K2

...and up, some more.

The descent to No Hands was easy, of course, but we knew re-tracing it up-hill at the end of the day would be a test. There was a nice aid-station set up at No Hands, but then we found ourselves on our first go at K2. Although the name K2 implies something very different, it is a stiff hill nonetheless (not sure where the name comes from). It climbs about a rocky thousand feet in just under a mile. I'm amazed that the Tevis equestrian riders use this for "training", but here we are too.  At the top of the climb we take a long circuitous route on good trail, finally ending up at Cool, where another aid station was presented to us and we met up with several participants completing their versions of the Memorial out-bound.

We dropped onto the downhill return to No Hands and re-filled our water for the second go at K2 and the Cool Loop.  We were now about half way done, and making pretty good time. The return to K2 was slower than the first, of course. My legs felt tight and though ok on the climb I never felt recovered after it. Our pace was ok, and I even came within a mile of my 50K PR (including some rather lengthy conversations at aid-stations), but it took some effort to keep going; this is motivation that will be tested in longer events coming soon.

On our last loop through Cool and beyond No Hands, the aid stations were packed up and the trail markers were cleaned up. But the day was still splendid and though the hamstrings complained we jogged and walked our way back to the Overlook. The parking lot was empty, all of the other runners had undoubtedly enjoyed the cook-out and packed up for the day. That was to be expected.  We'd been out there for seven hours and enjoyed ourselves on the trail. Of course, we were famished and made directly for some giant burgers at Ikeda's Market.

Special thanks to everyone who helped and/or joined in the Memorial Event. As Darren said to Linda's family at the No Hands aid-station, "Robert and Linda helped us find the best in ourselves; they'll be missed." Someone nearby responded, "I couldn't have said it any better."  So true, so true.   


  1. Couldn't have asked for a better day for a Memorial Run!

  2. Cheers to all! Makes me wish I had been there!~