Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pine to Palm Recap (pretty long for author Hal)

Runners Advance! 

I got out of bed this morning, scratched my head and then thought about going back to bed, but not before I questioned the lingering ache on the side of my head.  It was until the last runner was accounted for, the awards were pronounced complete, runners were shuttled back to the start in Williams, Pioneer Hall had been cleaned and supplies put away that I finally made it home to find myself shutting my own front door on my face. One of the most exhausting yet rewarding weekends ever was finally put into the books and I hadn't slept but an hour since early, early Saturday morning.  It is no surprise to me that all of our runners and volunteers are probably still feeling the effect of last weekend as well.  Sure, not the conventional ache of running 100 miles or for hours and hours, depending on how the day went, but a sore noggin from just being plain spent.  Not too bad either way.

So some of you may be asking yourselves, did that blow to head help me to forget the tragic mishaps of the day, perhaps gray those glaring omissions a first year event seems to come complete with, we'll see.  Seriously, we needed this inaugural run to work out the kinks and yes there were a few but as I mentioned to a number of my participants, they might have not seemed so loud had the Siskiyous not been turned into an overnight rain forest.

Start of the gravy train

I want to thank everyone for making due with our accommodations in Williams.  I loved that we were able to camp (car camp for some) under clear skies the night before the event.   I was not happy to see 200 to 300 people try to fit into the grange kitchen and dining hall. Next year, we will usurp the Contra Dance night and have full availability of the upstairs hall and a lot more room.  It did bring us closer together didn't it, and at least we all didn't smell like we did after the race.  

As most of you know, the rain started shortly after the start at 6am.  That was the last I saw of you all fresh and dry.  It was the last time you knew what your feet were going to look like and I hope you have found a return to normalcy on that front.  I have to give a shout out to all my volunteers at the finish, Tonya Olsen and Darcy Kleiman and Med Director Kelly Lange for treating numerous cases of trench foot like real troopers.

Runners made their way to the first aid station via 6 miles of pavement and a lot more climbing.  I was happy to see the back of the packers moving very well on to the water only stop, I knew they were in for a treat on the single-track to 7000 feet but that was going to be a creep. A few fast fellas flew by the first turn and I think they may have been talking a little to much for even I saw the hanging ribbons from 100 yards away. They kept good spirits and tried to keep up with Timothy Olson and Neil Olsen who made their way to the Obrian AS in, well, record time.

Neil 0. and Lewis T. battled all day, looks like it eh. 

131 runners dealt with rain for a number of hours while temperatures remained moderate but as they traveled further, on through Carberry and Seattle Bar (unfortunately no liquor was on hand,  Craig???) distance and wind began to wear on everyone.  The Stemples and the Ruch CC teams dealt with a number of drops on this day despite having one of the best locations for an AS.  Runners began to doubt their RD's claims of milder weather in Southern Oregon and many were beaten back by the tragic elements of the day instead of the usual hardships of running 100 miles.  As I mentioned to many, the conditions they all faced could not have been worse and I have never seen so many tough competitors deal with so much for so long. You're on an edge in these types of events and to add a variable that no one could have prepared or trained for was certainly a tipping point.

Seattle Bar (mile 31)

Squaw Lakes loop, well worth it.

I made my way into Ruch to gather reinforcements for my Squaw Peak AS (mile 52.)  Chicken Soup was running as thin as a soggy 100 miler runners and waves of them were now strung out along the course, winding through ever less and less light.  By the time I checked in to Dutchman Peak AS (mile 65) Timothy Olson had already cruised through in 11ish hours.  Lewis Taylor had just made his way out along the Siskiyou Crest some 2 hours later and I had no idea of what was to transpire for just about everyone else.  Along the roads between the two pit stops I found myself shouting words of encouragement, assessing cut off times, talking with ambulance drivers and sheriffs ( a hunter had broken a hip ) as well as navigating around them on the muddy narrow road, picking up drops and dropping off donuts for at least 4 hours.

Walter Edwards makes his move.

I was glad I was there to witness so many of the feats it takes to pull one of these things off ( speaking of runners and volunteers ) but in hindsight I was also upset that the conditions forced me to be out there in a van allowing the remoteness of the course and what was left of pleasurable solitude to slip away, pun intended.  Many runners did not make it up the 2,000 foot climb to Dutchman that night but a number of them decided that they were going to trudge through, how could it get any worse.  I exclaimed to John Price (AS captain along with Rob Cain both of which are the S.O.B. RD's ) after the race that the surreal surroundings could only be characterized as Everest-esque.  25 -40 mph winds forced the numerous volunteers to move the AS during the afternoon to what was described as a better position.  The rain was sideways and turned to sleet numerous times during the evening.  The walls of the 7 Eazy-Up's lined back-to-back chattered through the night as folks warmed runners, cooked soup and hot chocolate, gave up their jackets and gloves to those in need and sent runners on their way to the comforts of lower ground in the coming miles.  When the clouds stopped rolling over the AS shelter it became clear I had the best possible people up there, I didn't think that many runners would've moved forward.  Many efforts went noticed, confirming my suspicion that runners are some of the most selfless compassionate people.

Carly Koerner atop Wagner Butte, she knew those flags were up there somewhere. She created the logo, website, worked all aspects of the race and even 2060 AS.  Bravo!

As the night and runners moved forward they found their oasis's at Lower Wrangle Spring and Wagner Gap.  The professionalism of the two outposts matched anything seen at Western States and were invaluable not only in experience but empathy.  Runners had worked so hard to get this stage of the race and somehow warm bellies and filled flasks were going to get them over Wagner Butte.

Timothy Olson arrives in fine fashion,  he pushed hard all day.

Wagner Butte is situated 5,000 feet above Ashland and only 10 or so miles by foot (yes or so.)  I imagine it seemed like another planet on race day and just as far away when the out and back single track turned into a scramble on the butte's precipice to gather participants pin flags ( proving their successful summit.)   As I sat at the finish for the 24 hour folks I couldn't find the words to express my emotions as the rain began to fall torrentialy, yet once again on the remaining survivors.  Was it too much to ask that they get at least one break, perhaps one vista on this lousy weekend, a peek at what will be next year?  All my thoughts were silenced though by the cheers and screams as finishers filed into Pioneer Hall some 100 miles from where they had begun.

Amy Sproston and Timothy Olson get the goods. 
Smiles were abundant at the awards ceremony and nary a drop of (insert 4 letter word.)

In the end, some 72 runners gathered in Ashland with buckles in hand. 18 to 34 hours is what it took them to complete an amazing feat that tested not only their training but their mettle.  59 others proved they were just as tough and will have an amazing adventure to remember for a lifetime.   I do wish that the weather was not what was remembered most about the event but rather what it took for runners and the rest to pull it off.  I ensure you that is what I will be talking about for years.

I still need to thank my sponsors; The North Face, GU, Black Diamond and Succeed.  All the volunteers another big thank you and to my medical director Kelly Lange as well as course marshal and volunteer/ham coordinator and all things in Williams, Ian Torrence.  To my folks for letting me run them ragged, I hope you come back next year.  INVALUABLE.

Win Goodbody's images.

Andy Atkinsons images.

The Mail Tribune article.

Melissa Williams photo of buckle, bib, and summit flags.  Nice work!


Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Pine to Palm Results

2010 Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run
Williams to Ashland, OR
September 18-19, 2010

1 Tim Olson  M OR 18:38:50
2 Lewis Taylor M OR 21:00:14
3 Ben Hian M CA 21:54:49
4 Neil Olsen M OR 22:24:23
5 Brett Rivers M CA 22:24:51
6 Amy Sproston F OR 22:39:00
7 Trevor Garner M ID 22:52:18
8 Chris Askew M OR 23:38:27
9 Kelly Hambelton F WA 23:42:42
10 James Gifford M WA 23:43:35
11 Andy Nicol M Canada 23:48:36
12 Terry Sentinella M WA 24:13:10
13 Evan Hone M CA 24:38:31
14 Geoffrey Donovan M OR 24:39:25
15 Scott Laberge M CA 24:55:31
16 Clare Abram F CA 24:56:10
17 Rick Kneedler M CA 25:15:22
18 Ian Torrence M AZ 25:24:54
19 Todd Temple M OR 25:36:46
20 Hozumi Nakai M Canada 25:40:00
21 John Teeples M GA 25:45:01
22 JC Callans M OR 25:52:45
23 Nick Triolo M OR 25:55:24
24 Mike Burke M OR 25:59:23
25 Trevor Hostetler M OR 26:06:08
26 Grae Van Hooser M NV 26:11:27
27 Jeff Trigg M Canada 26:16:52
28 Ellen Parker F WA 26:18:22
29 Mike Barringer M WA 26:18:42
30 Kevin Douglas M WA 26:20:53
31 Rick Gaston M CA 26:27:11
32 Matt Nahorniak M OR 26:36:54
33 Larry Stephens M OR 26:57:51
34 Jess Mullen F WA 27:34:13
35 Alvin Crane M WA 27:39:06
36 Roch Horton M UT 27:50:59
37 Chris Fagan F WA 28:06:09
38 Shad Mickelberry M NV 28:08:54
39 Trevor White M OR 28:09:25
40 Brian Kent M CO 28:17:43
41 CB Fralich M OR 28:18:30
42 Vic Harris M OR 28:20:55
43 Owen Connell M WA 28:25:12
44 Allison Moore F WA 28:25:12
45 Eric Dinger M OR 28:25:59
46 Van Phan F WA 28:32:24
47 Keith Blom M CA 28:36:27
48 John Libeskind M OR 28:47:13
49 Darla Askew F OR 29:02:50
50 Stephan Willow M OR 29:22:42
51 Monica Sholz F Canada 29:29:29
52 Tamara Ellis F OR 29:39:18
53 Gail Forshaw F Canada 29:42:13
54 Marie Boucher F Canada 29:42:13
55 Brad Noyes M OR 29:45:29
56 Cary Miller M OR 29:47:57
57 Kristen Ryding F WA 30:30:50
58 Janet Rosenfeld F Canada 30:33:16
59 Mark Swanson M CA 30:47:00
60 Carolyn Hennessy F OR 31:24:17
61 Steven Gruel M CA 31:25:04
62 Melissa Williams F OR 31:29:41
63 Steven Patt M CA 31:43:41
64 Dave VanWicklin M CA 32:02:08
65 Todd Cederholme M WY 32:22:48
66 Brandon Lott M WA 32:50:23
67 John Novak M WA 32:55:08
68 John Machray M Canada 32:59:24
69 Aaron Kopp M CA 33:02:02
70 Steven Peterson M OR 33:06:49
71 Andrew Acles M MT 33:07:18
72 Michele Schwartz F CO 33:59:50

131 starters, 72 finishers

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pine to Palm, On Your Mark!

The inaugural Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run is set to run this Saturday at 6 am in Williams, Or. For those of you with patience we have a webcast set up and will do everything possible to make the entries timely and thorough.   

There has been much talk about the race, suffice it to say the only thing I really care about is that the 150 some starters make it all the way to Ashland before 4 pm on Sunday the 18th.  We have extensively carried out a course marking plan that will guide everyone, undoubtedly, through the the Siskiyous safely and without hesitation.  We have 15 aid stations that will be headed by some of the most competent ultra runners, race directors and enthusiasts in Oregon, not to mention the country.   I hope everyone remembers to thank them for making this event possible.

We will have a few vans to bring people back to Williams after the awards at 4 on Sunday. Please remember this is an ultra,  runners putting on events for runners, so we are a family and community making sure that everyone is accounted for and taken care of.

There was a write-up in the Mail Tribune this morning and I want to share it with you as it does highlight the amazing biodiversity of the region.  I want to remind everyone that the event takes place almost entirely in the Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest, that being said we need to be aware of the many species of plants and animals that must go undisturbed.  Please take caution when arriving at aid stations and moving about, there are many unseen unique flowers that must go on unharmed for this race to continue.   Same goes for runners on the course. This is also hunting season for ground birds and bow hunters so be aware of their use in these mountains as well.  I am hoping the forecast for poor weather will have a limiting effect on the number of these enthusiasts.

The weather, although it is Oregon I don't think rain will be much of a factor for both days.  I would plan for cooler temps and clouds, but as weather cells move through the region they don't have much bang this time of year.   Keep an eye on the weather here.      

Lastly, for those of you interested in cheering on participants and finishers please make your way to Pioneer Hall between the hours of 11pm Saturday for the first finishers and 6am Sunday for sub 24 hours finishers and around 2pm on Sunday for those warriors at the back of the pack.

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See you soon!