Karma's a bitch. Less than a week ago I was updating the Tuscobia website with the new race date and other info and made a point of telling people to be sure to read all of the race info on the website... I stopped short of telling the story of the 160-mile biker who showed up a day early for his race last year. I guess it's better than arriving a day late. Or a whole week early...
As with the last 2 years, I was looking forward to the White River 50 mile race held on beautiful trails near Mt Rainier. Our first year up there, it was misty and a little dull all day which made for good running conditions but zero views of the big mountain. Last year was the opposite - a bit too hot and sunny on the exposed ridges and climbs but the amazing views more than made up for it. This year I figured it would be similar given the forecast. Yeah, I checked the weather. I was prepared. I'd run a bunch of 20-22 milers, mostly by myself, no 50k in the lead up to the race this year, but still I was feeling decent and really looking forward to a long day on the trail. Even better, my sister Caroline is visiting from Ireland and was coming to watch. Chris decided to skip it this year in favour of baseball - he's been playing with a local team here in Bend.
So Caroline and I headed off Friday morning around 11am. We decided to take the most direct route to get there at a decent hour... which means heading north east to Yakima, WA and then directly west to Crystal Mountain and the race start/finish area at Buck Creek where we would camp for the weekend. This is not my favourite drive. Alicia swears the Yakima Skyline 50k is a pretty course and maybe since it's held April the high desert is less harsh looking than late July but still, I prefer running - and driving - among tall trees where possible!
We arrived at the camp ground around 6:30pm and I was a bit surprised to see the biffys weren't there yet... hmmm... but there were plenty of people camping and a few set up already in the open field area where we usually camp. We drove around the actual campsite loop though and found an open spot - which again surprised me a little but then again I figure it's usually later in the evening when we arrive. After setting up the tent we headed off to drive down to the mile 43 aid station where Caroline was planning to see me the next day and I showed her the gravel road heading up to Sun Top where she might go early in the morning before the runners would get there since crew are not allowed and the runners come down the road so there's nothing worse than traffic and dust. Then we drove up to Crystal Mountain Springs resort. I figured packet pick-up would be done by now as it was 7:45pm and sure enough there was no sign of it. We went into the restaurant and after ordering burgers we both got on wifi and started reading the website to remind myself of the aid stations and mileage so that I could let Caroline know when I'd expect to be back through mile 27 - which is the start/finish area and then an estimate for mile 43 also. I noted that packet pick-up had been until 7:30pm that evening but knew I could get my number in the morning. I had even made a comment about there being "runner-types" in the restaurant when we walked in.
And then, after staring at her screen for a long while, Caroline says slowly... ah, Helen, it, um, says here that the race is on A-u-g-u-s-t 5th...??
So folks, read the website. Every time.
The next day, we did enjoy the views from Sun Top and then a hike at Naches Peak and a longer, but more enjoyable, drive home through Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, where there were no end of trees and great views of Mt St Helen's.
On Sunday, Cooper took me for a long run to make up for 'missing' the race. I could drive north again next weekend but I am also signed up for the Elkhorn Crest 50 mile in eastern Oregon in mid-August so that will do me. It's the first year of the race. I think. I should probably read the website...