Sunday, April 19, 2009

4/19/2009 Rocky Hill Ranch is a Washout this year!

Zach and I headed towards Smithville around 6am. We made good time and got there around 1:30pm. On the way, Matt Crownover called me and warned me that if I was bringing Kelli and Makenzie along for their first camping would be their last! He said that they, the Crownovers, had made it down there the night before and the rains had soaked everything. It had also been hailing some. Once Zach and I got there the rains had picked back up again and it was just a sloggy mess! The saloon at Rocky Hill Ranch was flooded and the electricity was off for a bit as well. My plan was to pitch the tent as usual but the ground was so wet that I knew it would make for an absolutely miserable night. We decided to just sleep in the Xterra. It was pretty cramped with all the camping gear in there but we did ok. I had supper with the Crownovers and the Teasters and had a really great time. The food was fantastic and so was the company. Zach and I headed to the car and got settled in and watched a movie before we retired. We all still had hopes that the race would go off as scheduled but we just weren't sure. Matt had decided to drop down to the 50K since he is in for Western States this year and didn't want to chance an injury in the mud and slop going the full 50 miles. I got up around 4am and got myself ready. The rains had stopped pretty much for the night but you could tell the weather was pretty ominous, even in the dark. Buddy and I met up and walked the mile to the race start. People were showing up late, including Joe and Joyce. So weird for one of their races to be like that! But with the weather the way it was, it was understandable. They had had a really hard time the day before because their truck got stuck in the mud and they had to have a tow truck pull them out! Anyway, before he started the race he let us know that, if there was ANY lightning, he would be cancelling the race. The safety of the runners and his volunteers is definitely the most important thing. So a little after 5am we took off! The first 50 feet or so were ok and then we hit the mud! Sloppy, sticky, and soul-sucking! ha My feet were each about 10lbs heavier! Then the rain started and the whole loop, which I felt was about 12 miles long, was like running in a stream the whole time! It rained, it poured, it was dark, and it was FUN!! It was a lot like being a kid again and not worrying about getting dirty or wet cuz you had NO CHOICE! There were a couple of steep areas where you just had to "ski" down and then spin your way to the top on the other side! It was terrific fun! However, all fun must come to an end! The lightning started about 15 minutes into the loop and we knew that he would be calling us off. It was pretty impressive, the lightning. Striking the ground in some areas and lighting up the course. Some of the 50 milers actually turned around and just headed back. I never even thought of that! Most of us just kept plugging around the loop enjoying ourselves and acting like kids. We knew he had called it when the two aid stations we ran through were like ghost towns! Anyway, I made it back around to the race start and found out for sure that it had been cancelled. I made it back to the Xterra and accidentally scared Zach who had just started watching a movie in the front seat! ha It was only 8am at that time and he hadn't been awake for more than 10 minutes! Boy, did HE miss all the fun! I headed to the shower, ironically, to rinse off and get the mud off of my shoes and legs and then I got back to the car and dried off (which is hard to do in the rain) and we headed out! I was so ready to be warm and dry! The trip home took a helluva lot longer than the trip down I thought.
I never saw Teresa after the race to ask about the Grand Slam and what we needed to do about it but I suspect she'll be in touch. We got to see our awards on Friday night and they are pretty dang cool! Once I got home, there was an email from Joe explaining his decision to cancel, which really didn't need explaining. However, the cool part of the email was that we can all head back down there on June 6th and give it another whirl! He is offering all of the distances, a start/finish, minimal aid, and awards for people to come back. And in light of this catastrophic weekend, he has changed the name of the race to Hell's Hills! Very cool! We can even invite our friends and we all get to run FOR FREE! So if you read this and you want to head down to Smithville, you have an opportunity to enjoy a great run and great company! So come one and come all, let's have some FUN!
So I've got to decide what to do now. I will probably head back down there and run the 50 miler again! I am leaning toward running the Lean Horse 100 this August instead of volunteering at TransRockies. So Hell's Hills will be a great training run for Lean Horse!


Dave said...

the invite is enticing...I will think about it. I talked to Laurie Underwood and she said she did know whether to run in sunglass or a headlamp that first loop due to the lightening.

PJ said...

Wow!! That sounds like one crazy race - or almost race. Shh...don't tell anyone, but I love running in that kind of craziness. That's really cool that the RD is providing a "do-over."

Rick Gaston said...

The first thing that caught my eye on the picture is your shoes. I bet they ain't yellow anymore. Man it is fun running in those conditions. Kettle Moraine was like that last year when the thunderstorms hit. Some of the trails were like creeks with all the water and mud, nothing to it but just to plow through. Lightning is no joke though. Dave told me all about it on the phone Monday how the race got cancelled. Well good luck in the prep for the make up run, I hope it goes well so you do try the 100 at Lean Horse.