Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Calico 50K

I had my arm twisted a bit to run this one. It's too far away, but it was still a good time.

I carpooled with Dave Black and his son. We slept on the ground - never once getting a motel.

First night was near Ely, Nevada, at a friend's place in the mountains. We spent the night in a shed at around 7000+ feet. It was 30F at that altitude, but only 17F miles away in any valley, so we lucked-out.

The next day was spent driving south, stopping in Pioche for lunch. I've never heard of Pioche, but it is a very cool little dot of a mining town.

We arrived in Calico at dinner time. The pasta dinner was very good - not the usual cheap pasta but some hardy gourmet stuff.

I never thought of California as a friendly place, but we were all surprised at how incredibly nice everyone was. not just the other runners, but Calico Ghost town employees, rangers, sheriffs, volunteers, etc.

I didn't race with my camera. For one thing, the vast majority of the terrain was very repetitive desert lifeless distant hills and creosote. The rugged parts were very rugged, but most of the race course is very runnable dirt and sand 4x4 roads.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was 47F when we woke up and probably 50F at race start. I was wearing a short-sleeve shirt, shorts, and a cap. No fleece, layers, or gloves! I also wore my Mizuno race flats. This ended up being a very wise decision. I didn't need better protection, since most of the course is sand. The small amounts of rock were very rough, and often scary-steep, but these shoes kept me nimble. By the time I reached 30M, my legs were fresh and I was sprinting full-speed towards town.

Joe Black got 2nd in his age group in the 30K, and an award! His coach is Jamie Donaldson. Not a bad deal!

I came in 20th overall in the 50K. Here's where I'm extremely confused...
They had the awards, and they completely skipped the 50-59 age-group. The guy in my age group who won asked and got his award. I simply looked at the board and it appeared I was clearly 4th. But the posted stats on the Internet today say I was 2nd male 50-59. So I guess they screwed-up the awards presentation and I have an award in California. Would have been nice to receive, since I was standing right there, but at least I had a great time and took that home with me.

On the way home, the good weather finally came to an end - We barely made it over Vail Pass before they closed it, and spent hours in a traffic jam creeping up to Eisenhower Tunnel. It took 4 hours to drive what is normally 50 minutes. But at least we made it home alive.

Calico Ghost town, in spite of being an incorrigible tourist-trap, is a fun place. I wish I had been given the time to explore it.

If I lived in California, I'd definitely run this every year. The race was fantastic, and again, I wish I could run it again, but it is just too far away to justify spending that much gas driving to and from. The Bandera 100K in Texas is slightly closer, and twice as long of a race, and just as well supported, so it's a better value. But Bandera is too far also! I'm glad for the experiences at Calico, though, and the great people I met before, during, and after the race. Maybe if I can go in the future, and spend time there, with my son and others, then it would be worth it. I can only hope. Maybe when I get older, I'll move around, like a transient, living a different place for a year at a time?

1 comment:

  1. Great write-up and photos! And glad that the people of California were nice; we tend to be!


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