Friday, April 18, 2008

Last Word on Mt. Diablo 50M

For the photoset click here. Only a few pictures cause I got all serious and stuff. No more "training" races, just races.

So before I take off for The Relay, here is my last and final post on Mt. Diablo. I've been busy reading other people's reports rather than writing my own. Great stories. There's not much more to tell really.

I came with the "training only" mindset much like Donald and at the start of the race I positioned myself that way, all the way in the back. It was a slow start indeed, after 45 minutes I was chomping at the bit to go a little faster but we were single file in tight, technical single track going uphill. It all came apart when at the summit I saw a bunch of friends heading back down. I gave chase and training was over. Eventually I would run into Donald who was sticking to his plan. We ran a few miles together, Donald's easy is fast for me. Eventually however he let me go as he continued to take pictures all day. I felt stronger as the day continued. The heat didn't bother me as much as I thought it would and the slow start was a blessing. I found that the pace I could muster allowed me to catch some people and it motivated me to keep on pushing. At one point I ended up behind Jon Burg and Scott Dunlap heading towards Juniper Aid Station at mile 40. Not too long after that I made my blunder and ruined a perfectly good race. I didn't lose sleep over it and drank 3 beers on Sunday for running and climbing extra.

I'm still amazed at how beautiful and difficult that whole race was. We had heat, lots of elevation and some pretty messed up technical trails. There were a few WTF?! moments on my part. There were downhill switch backs where I thought I'd go over the edge - slippery with dust and loose gravel, narrow and tight. You can't help but praise and curse Wendell and Sarah as you go through the course. It was a thing of beauty. Oh if you ever do this race and they tell you that it's all downhill from mile 42, after your second summit, don't fall for that. It's not all downhill and some of it is the kind where you can't really open up because of the technical quality of the trail.

I'll close with the weirdest thing that I witnessed on the trail. Around the marathon mark I was running behind Kathy Donofrio when suddenly she yelled and bent down over something on the trail. It was a turtle, about a foot long. We were on a hill and it was a long way from a creek. Kathy stopped us while she shushed the turtle down the hill. I said something about a hidden lesson in here somewhere for all of us and took off.

Well I hope ya'll have a great weekend. See you on the other side of The Relay. A big shout out to Gundy, Scott Dunlap, Samantha Pinney and John Branderhorst who are running Boston this weekend.


  1. I really like that picture!! You got to hang out with some famous people, cool!!

  2. You don't give yourself nearly enough credit. I don't think I could have hung with you even if I wanted to. It was great to see you get stronger as the race went on.

    Besdies, Dunlap called you a speedster - you may not sneak up on anybody anymore!

  3. Yes, there must be a lesson in that turtle story. : ) The hills are so green! Sounds like an awesome race.

  4. Wow, now those are some hills! Beautiful pictures, Rick. That is a pretty course, but man, I can't imagine how challenging that must be to run!

    You know, I have done the same thing with painted turtles around here. Those poor little guys are just so slow in crossing road, so I love helping them out! :)

  5. I've really enjoyed all these posts on Diablo. Thanks so much for sharing!

    I hope you're having a great time at the relay (I would like to do that someday)

    by the way, I tagged you for a post thing if you want to play :)

  6. Dude!!! Those pics are so cool! Looks so beautiful. Maybe I should start heading out into the wilderness . . .

  7. Rick! How cool are you? : )

    I hope the relay was fun! I can't wait to read all about it.

    Hope to see you soon.

  8. I enjoyed your report(s) Rick! I can also raise my hand on the getting lost thing. I've learned that staying on course is just another part of the challenge, like pacing yourself and staying hydrated.
    You did an awesome job out there!