February 6, 2010
Winter Trail Run Series 18K - February 6, 2010
How about telling ye kids about Saturday February the 6th!! They would think you were all dopey racing through mud, streams, and knee deep rivers! But you are all heroes in my eyes, even the ones that decided to do some extra miles without asking BAZZA, how dare you! I know who you are. My new mate Kurt would love to know the guy who pulled him out of a ravine down there on Chiquita Trail… He wants to buy him a beer! You first timers impress the hell out of me to. Takes balls!
My troubles started in the week, after listening to the weather reports for the weekend. Got worse when Steve, Rueben and myself started marking the course on the Friday, bloody rain. Reuben is a chef and his hawk eye found some magic mushrooms on the trail, which turned out to be OK. He is going back. Steve the new ultra RD in the hood took the rain in his stride so to speak. His supply of coffee saved Bill and Sandy’s life at the registration deck on Saturday. What a family we have.
I took off for Blue Jay about 4:30 AM on Saturday in my Lambo Rig. Was kept up all night with rain hitting my condo roof, but by the time I turned on Ortega Hwy it seemed we may get lucky. The rain had turned to drizzle and Hwy 74 was clear… that is always a good sign. I stopped at the first left turn to Blue Jay below El Cariso Village to put down chalk, throw my balloons up and position my WTRS sign. Got back in the motor and the old bastard machine wouldn’t start. Not good I thought. Lucky for me after 20 minutes of making sure the battery was OK, etc, etc… my Lambo finally turned over and I made it up to BJ. By 7AM I had my crew in position, especially happy to have extra cover for the troops. The trickle of smiling…. would you believe, runners started to arrive. My guess was about 30 brave, but dumb people would show. Sands said she had given out over 90 bib numbers, including some that had got out of a warm bed to attempt their first trail run. Amazing!
By 8:30 AM the stop watches were set and the runners were ready, my mate Sam who decided his T-shirt wasn’t needed ran bare-chested… think about that one! His mum Patti kept hers on. I did try to explain the slightly different course to the 15K, but knowing my mate Reuban would have marked the trail well at the Viejo Tie left turn I had no worries. My out and back excursion to redirect the trail was terrible, I was soaked, me boots were full of water and my umbrella kept wanting to take off. I felt like Mary Poppin! Back at the finish line all was well, so we wait, not long cos big Jon Clark came belting up the last hill. Amazing time on that course in those conditions, no problems he said. 40 year old Kevin Gillotti was under 4 minutes back to take second overall, and then handsome Dean Dobberteen loped across the line less than a minute behind Kevin. Shirtless Sam came in 4th. Our local vice manager Stephenie Grant was real happy to win the women’s division and I might add coming in 12th overall in front of a few tough blokes. Sharon Dressel was not far behind taking second and Stephanie Kinley was happy to stay around to get her 3rd place finish. Melissa Sheppard was less than a minute back to take 4th. All the age group winners were wet cold and happy including those people who hung around for the magic raffle.
I really can’t promise another day like we had, but those runners who just didn’t turn up missed out on another magic day in Blue Jay. My return home was extended cos of the road closure, but my Lambo made it back to the old peoples home costing nearly 5 bucks on the toll road. Must thank Bill and Sandy and the few nice folks who just helped out at BJ. We are very lucky to have such a supportive team of runners. All this was noticed by the local fireman and Forest Service group that turned up as extra help. No bandits hey! Maybe they are only out in good conditions… we know who you are!
Just a heads up on the next WTRS it is a tough 20K with at least one aid station. The series sweat-shirt is about to be printed and will be given out on the 20th… about 35 runners will receive them. Plus those who have run 2 of the series, I have your shirts. On a personal note I want to thank all for putting up with my form of silliness at the races. I do actually lead a quiet life in Laguna Woods, but of course it wasn’t always so, listening to my life’s history would take many cases of red wine and maybe a large hot tub. I did get asked if people could bring fancy food to the last race… if the weather is nice that would be magic. So my food is not good enough hey! Love you All. Big BAZ XXXX
Love and Happy
Valentines me ladies! BIG BAZ XXX
Michelle Barton's comments on the trail conditions
Over the decade of running the WTRS races, I have never seen the trail turn into a rushing river. Runners navigated on a rocky, rooty and winding single-track trail through the driving wind and rain. A couple of miles into the race, just after the 4 corners, we hit a left turn onto Chiquita and there was a nice sized waterfall on the left side of the course. Runners turned into 10 year olds as they jumped over steams and splashed through puddles that were up to our knees. Surprisingly, the trail never got too muddy, which was nice.
Before I hit the sharp right turn to Sugarloaf (Cocktail Rock), I mentioned to the runner behind me that we should have brought a river raft for some added adventure. She replied back, "or a boogie board!!". Running through water practically up to our knees in parts, poses a challenge because of the many slippery rocks beneath you that go unseen. I was running blind in sections, not knowing what my feet was going to land on. I was hoping they wouldn't land on a hidden rock or root that would twist an ankle or worse, since I broke my left ankle on this very same trail five years ago. I was leading the women's race at one point until I felt I'd better slow it down rather than risk falling or twisting something and being out of commission. After I let a handful of runners pass, I was out there solo on the trail, which I really enjoyed. Once I hit the groomed meadow section after Sugarloaf, I looked briefly for the mountain lion that was spotted two weeks ago at this very spot. I heard a loud noise, but realized it was only tree branches swaying loudly and creaking from the fierce wind. Before long, I heard a runner coming behind and when I looked back, I saw it was my good bud Chaz Nickell. He was wearing his four year old LA Marathon plastic rain protector. I turned around and yelled to Chaz, but he didn't see me or hear me. He must have had his IPOD cranked pretty high while he was running and dancing to a music mix of Lady GaGa/Beyonce/Britney. I pushed the pace up the last hill to ensure that Chaz would get CHICK'd again. Some boys love getting CHICK'd and Chaz happens to be one of them!
The road was a welcome sight, I blasted the last downhill to the finish into Baz's arms where he provides most runners wih warm hugs and smooches for the ladies. Baz was in full form yelling and acting like his crazy self amplified 2x. Fireman Captain Anthony Beigel gave me a look with his eyes as if to say, Is Baz always this loud, wild and crazy? I reassured Captain Beigel this was normal Baz mode to be yelling obscenities at the runners in the most loving of ways. That is one of the reasons we love Baz. This type of entertainment can not be found or duplicated. I was surprised to see how many runners did not shy away from the race due to the strong storm that ensued all night long. Mountain runners are a tough breed in search of thrills, adventure and endorphins. I heard many runners comment that this was the most fun they have ever had at a race.
Taking part in a 'Big Baz' trail race guarantees a day full of excitement, challenge and glory. The blood in my veins already pumps strong for the next race, the final in the series. The Winter Trail 21k is where runners will meet up their famous loved and most hated friend named Horsethief. Don't forget to kiss the white rock at the top of Horsethief, it means you are at the top of the switchbacks and almost done with the oxygen sucking, calf burning climb.
PS: "The following day after Baz's Magic 18k, I helped two of my friends finish their first road half-marathon. I ran with them the entire duration of the race. With over 20,000 runners and thousands of spectators it reaffirmed to me how special trail running is. The fun factor of running on the road with so many people is a big ZERO.
It felt like I was in line at Disneyland or the DMV. I would honestly rather be in the dentist chair that experience that again. I was happy to help out my friends, but I have to confess it did not feel good on my body or my mind. Give me a Baz race any day or give me _______!!!!! (you fill in the blank)
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