I move that the Tiger Mt. Dumb Ass 50K be renamed "Kick Your Dumb Ass 50K".
The profile above says it best with 12,000 ft. of climbing over 31 miles this course pushes you hard. My Garmin captured about 26 miles of the run missing a few miles due to the thick forest.
Our day started with Jane H. picking me up at my house at 5:00AM. We met Rob "Rattler" Hester at 5:20 in Sumner and cruised in style in Ray's (Jane's husbands) truck. We were the first dumb asses to show up at the start.
It was dark at the start and some us dumb asses were smart enough to bring our headlamps. Other "real" dumb asses had to follow those with lights. Luckily Steve Stoyles and I had our lights so that others could follow. You know it's going to be a long day when you need to start the self talk on the very first climb knowing that you had four more to do. There were little patches of snow along the last 1/5 of the climb with a few inches at the top and the next 3/4 of a mile. The wind was blowing at the top of T3 and provided a good incentive to head back into the woods for some shelter from the exposure. The TMT trail heading down was slippery and got slicker as the day went on due to compaction and colder temps. The snow faded to mud roots and rocks a couple of 10ths of a mile down the trail. The RD had placed signs with two "Lost Puppies" Mutt and Jeff along the route to keep us on track. Trails at intersections had white flour across them if it was the wrong way and red Gatorade on the snow trails to prevent us from heading off into oblivion. I ran into tc who was running the event but who had also volunteered to do some last min. trail marking at the turn to the TMT. We ran together off and on down the Mt. and then he took off and I never saw him till the finish. Apparently tc didn't see anyone else until the finish either.
I managed a first loop of 1:30 and after a quick refill of my water bottles and getting rid of my gortex jacket, slamming a couple of shots of Coke (the elixir of life) I was off for loop two.
Loop two was uneventful and took about 1:35 to complete. I had intended to fire up my ipod for the third loop climb. When I pulled it from my backpack it played for about 15 seconds and then locked up. I've had it do this to me before at Western States. It locks up with the screen on but it won't play and it won't shut off. I was thinking about seeing how it worked as a Frisbee but instead I stuffed it back in my pack and headed out to loop three. When I stopped at the aid station they asked me if I'd seen Jane H. on the trail because she had not check in yet. Since I had run two laps I had to assume that Jane was lost. I made the decision to run one more lap and if she had not checked in I was going to stop and help do a search.
On loop three I caught up to Michelle M. on Nook trail and we made the climb together. We chatted some and made the grunt up the hill. We played cat and mouse for the rest of the race. As we headed toward the first bridge from the turn off the K3 trail on TMT we caught up to Jane H. who had made a wrong turn right at the end of her first loop. Instead of turning right and heading to the aid station she turned left and headed out on her second loop. Apparently she was cursing me for not having shared the fact that there was a second long climb on the loop. It wasn't until she scrambled under a dead fall that she remembered from the first loop that she realized she was on her second loop. Chalk that up to the darkness at the start.
Loop four Michelle M. had a fast transition and was out before me. As I started the big climb I could hear a witch-like cackle of a laugh up ahead on the trail. As I closed on the laughter I could see two hikers with a Labradoodle up ahead. Michelle M. was ahead of them. I eventually caught up to the hikers, two women, who were chatting away. We were about 2/3 of the way up the hill so I stayed with them and talked to the summit. They were accomplished climbers having climbed Eiger and the Matterhorn so they were moving along at a good pace. I never did determine which one of them had been emitting the cackle.
Loop 5 was the gut check lap. I ended up taking three recovery breaks along the way up which proved beneficial. Again Michelle M. and I ended up at the top of T3 at the same time and even though we had a few miles of running ahead of us we both felt like we had conquered the course. I headed down T3 and onto the TMT and Michelle fell back. Once I got out of the snow onto the down hill switchbacks Michelle caught up and passed me. I caught back up to her on the TMT after the K3 trail. I tried to put some distance on her on the rolling section but she caught back up to me and passed as we made the last desent on some more switchbacks. The last mile or so was flat and rolling and I made an effort to push it to see if I could catch Michelle. I caught her at the wooden gate about 500 yards from the aid station and the finish. We ran in together to place 4th and 5th. I was the third male finisher and Michelle was the second place woman.
Congratulations to Shawn Lawson for her first place overall finish. She holds the course record and is the first official Dumb Ass.
I was a zombie on the drive home and the entire evening. I went to bed at 8:00 and didn't wake up until about 7:00AM. I skipped running this morning since we have a Christmas light run this evening in honor of one of our running club members who lost a battle with cancer.