Official time: 1:13:28 9th overall. Results here.
Always fun, always brutal, the Brrr-lingame 10 Miler is a two lap course on the trails south of the Burlingame campground. It's twisty singletrack with some running on dirt roads and through the campground. The second lap is always a bitch. I didn't run it last year as I had been diagnosed with a stress fracture just prior but looking through my reports I was surprised to find that I hadn't run it since 2014. Apparently I had a business trip in 2015.
Anyway, I was looking forward to getting back to this race. Unfortunately I developed a dull ache in my lower leg to start the week which had me concerned. I took it easy for the rest of the week and I felt fine going into the race. The weather was cool and perfect and the trails were in good shape. I arrived, did a short warm-up on the beginning of the course and soon it was time to line up.
The race starts on an open field before hitting the woods and ascending singletrack. Everyone always goes out too fast in order to have a good position before the woods as passing is tough. Today was no exception and I was probably around 5th place entering the trail. After a couple minutes I eased off slightly and a couple people passed me. At this point the field was already spreading out and the front pack already pulling away. I had a couple people behind me but they weren't super close.
By the time I reached the ridgeline I was alone. I could see someone off ahead but there was no one very close behind. Then once I was back in the woods I was alone again. Along the dirt road section I could see someone way up ahead but he vanished towards the numerous wooden bridges and I never saw him again. Going through the campsite slowed me down with lots of leaves and knowing I still had a mile before I started my second lap was disheartening.
The second lap of this race always sucks - you work hard on the first one and then you have to do it all again basically by yourself. I didn't look back on the grass field, afraid of what I'd see and just kept chugging along as I hit the woods. I would look back at occasional points and not see anyone so I was feeling pretty good but when I hit the long dirt road straightaway I glanced back and saw an orange jersey.
By the time I finished with the bog bridges and turned onto Vin Gormley I could see the orange in my periphery. I knew I'd be caught in no time. Sure enough, a few moments after entering the campsites Andrew Neil, aka El Pollo Rojo aka the Red Chicken went by. He quickly put distance on me and I had absolutely no response. Over the last mile of the race I watched as he pulled farther away. There was no one else behind me which was good because the Red Chicken broke my spirit. I finished in 9th, always happy to be done with this race. Unfortunately El Pollo made all the difference and led to the Rhode Runners winning the Men's team competition. Curses!
Still I must tip my cap to Andrew who paced this race well and was able to reel me in over that second horrid lap. This will be my last race of the series this year - I'm missing the Big River half due to a backpacking trip but since I'm now on the DL with leg issues anyway that may be for the best.