Time for the South County 4th Season trail series to begin again! Hosted by powerhouse Mike Galoob, the races are close to home on familiar trails. The wildcard is the weather which proved to be a bear for this one. There was a good six inches of snow on the ground and the temp at start time was about 15 degrees. I threw on the cold compression gear and got to the race a little later than usual. I was happy to see that there was a pretty good turnout despite the tough conditions. Did a very short warm-up in the parking lot, chatted with the usual suspects and then we trudged into the snow and over to the starting line.
|I'm winning the race! (for about 5 seconds) - Photo by Jana Walker|
Immediately it was tough going and while Galoob had broken the trail with snowshoes, it was still hard work. The course hugs the baseball fence and then drops down an embankment - except that it was now a huge snowcliff. Everyone plummeted into the white abyss and I saw Ryan Wooley go down. What a crazy scene - for a moment everyone was laughing and trudging through knee deep snow. Then the snow let up briefly before the singletrack slog began.
As we entered the woods I was in 7th place. The lead pack was gone and I could see Jonny up ahead. I heard several people behind me. Eventually I caught sight of a guy in red ahead of Jonny. I had no idea what my pace was but I was definitely breathing hard. After about a mile, I saw a shadow in front of me and I stepped to the side to let him by - turned out to be Nate. Jonny and Nate both overtook the red guy and soon I did the same.
My calf had seized up yesterday and had been pretty sore but felt good going into the race. 1.5 miles in and I was now feeling it. Luckily it never became an issue. I heard another person hot on my heels. I tried to keep ahead of them for as long as I could but eventually there was another shadow - this time it was Jeff looking strong. He passed me as we moved up a brutal hill and suddenly I saw that I was pulling up the rear of a formidable WTAC train - Jonny, Nate, Jeff and myself, all catching up to a runner in an orange TNT singlet.
|Finishing up the switchbacks - Photo by Jana Walker|
We all ended up passing Orange Singlet before we hit the brutal switchback section that leads back towards the parking lot. This section's tough in the best of conditions and all the snow made it truly taxing. Having all the guys right in front of me helped though. In the midst of the singletrack, Jeff took off past Jonny and put some distance on all of us. After the singletrack there's one more painful climb followed by an appreciated downhill that leads back to the ballfield. At this point it was Jonny in front of me but he found another gear and I couldn't muster a move to keep up with him.
TNT's Bob Jackman won the race but after him it was all WTAC with me in 7th place. It's crazy what a difference the snow makes. Last year I finished 15th in 21:23. This year it took more than four minutes longer. We took some group shots, did a big group cooldown on roads and then returned as prizes were given out. Tough race but a lot of fun! Looking forward to seeing what the conditions will be like at the Resolution 5k next weekend.
|WTAC Represent - Photo by Jana Walker|