Monday, November 18, 2013

Chimera 100 Mile Mountain Race

Chimera 100 Mile Mountain Race
Saturday 19 - Sunday 20, November 2011

This was my first Old Goat Trail race, put on by Steve Harvey and crew.

With a collective running resume like this, I thought I should try one of his races at least once.  Also, there aren't so many other races in November competing with it.

I made the mistake of flying into Ontario, rather than Orange County.  I got stuck in rush hour traffic, making it to the packet pickup just after RD Steve Harvey had packed up his car with the stuff.  Out of luck.  He gave me directions to the campsite near the start, and told me to check in the next morning before the race.

From the website:
The 2011 course is more difficult than the 2009 course and has more singletrack. It begins with a technical 20 mile loop out of Bluejay Campground. Then begins a series of climbs and descents in over and around the Saddleback Mountains of the Cleveland National Forest. There are 18 well stocked Aid Stations, each captained by a veteran ultrarunner, many of them RD's.

The first 20 miles consisted of a beautiful lollipop out-and-back to the start.  Quoting the RD, "first twenty are on semi-technical singletracks through chaparral, oak, and sycamore forests." I chatted with Tomo (who would finish 3rd) and Brandon Adame (4th).  Tomo lives in Japan, and has a job that has him travel to the US a few times a year.  He was able to combine this race with a business trip-- sweet.  He is pretty fast, and has come back to the states for various races, where he puts in admirable performances.

RD Steve later told me this this part was his usual training route.  Clouds stayed high enough so we could enjoy views of the valley.

Somehow I managed to finish the first 20 miles without a pit stop.  I'd been having GI issues for the past two weeks.  During my long shift on Thursday, I saw about 8 patients with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea-- some viral gastroenteritis bug going around.  I was pretty nervous that I'd have another HURT repeat.

Although it was an issue (and at times limited by pace), nothing like my crap-fest in Hawaii 10 months earlier.  I would have a few more runny pudding like dumps, then it all around mile 50, it stopped.

The only part of the course I didn't like:  the flat (Brandon said it was "boring") from Holy Jim Canyon to Live and back to Holy Jim.  I'm okay with the flatness-- it was fast and a good break in between a fairly steep descent and ascent.  The problem were all the cars and trucks and construction machinery (I have no idea what the steamrollers and bulldozers were doing) and their smog.  It got sunny and too warm for my two layers-- I regretted not having left my jacket at Holy Jim.

The other thing I noticed after the turnaround, was a plastic bag with some ear bud head phones in them that I'd stuck in my short's pocket was no longer there.  Due to my drop bag disorganization, I had grabbed the headphones, but managed not to find any of my iPod Nanos stuck into my Ultimate Direction Wasp pack.

Luckily I saw the bag on the road on the return, clipping a decent pace up the very very gradual uphill.  But when I put on the headphones at after leaving Holy Jim for the steep, very pretty single track up to Bear Springs, I noticed that one of the ear buds and a plastic clip for the cord were busted, probably run over by a car (or a steam roller.)

I had a little trouble atop Santiago Peak, the high point of the course, above 6000 feet elevation trying to find the route, but fortunately didn't put in significant bonus.

I underestimated the very long out-and-back to Corona (7 miles each way).   Before the descent, I looked out at all the lights going on forever east and south (I think).  As if by cue, Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" came on.  It was really intense.  I felt I reached an understanding of humanity and existence.

However, my zen-like moment faded as I realized that the 7 miles each way was very very long.

RD Steve Harvey had posted on facebook a few days before:
I just spent $267 on portable toilets at Indian Truck Trail... if the attrition rate is 50% before mile 82 each poop may be worth $10... Oh the glamorous life of a race director...

So I used it, but grumbled that they were placed past the aid station more than 100 yards-- too much bonus!

My Wimpiness to Cold

While warming up and fueling before the final long descent, I made a weak attempt to encourage the ultrarunning advancement of this cute Asian volunteer who lived nearby (and so told the aid station captain she could volunteer whenever, and got asked to be there from 2 to 10 am).  She had recently run her first marathon and was thinking of running more trails and maybe try an ultra.

Another volunteer asked the next runner who came by if he needed anything, but he said no and whizzed on by.  The volunteer commented-- "he had to keep moving-- otherwise he'd freeze-- he was only wearing a T-shirt."

I caught up with him (in my 4 layers of clothing, freezing my butt off).  He flatly denied the volunteer's interpretation of the situation-- in no way did he fell the least bit cold, exclaiming, "I LOVE this weather!"

It was hard to believe (and still is) that we both belong to the same species....

The downhill to the pavement near the finish wasn't as hideous as I'd expected.  Back on the pavement I ran into a dead-end to find the guy in the T-shirt, who, in the fog, missed the same turn I did.  We used our brains together to get back on track.

I was the last to finish under 24 hours, but alas, no sub-24 hour buckle.  Still, looks slick!  Thanks, volunteers who helped me get it.

with my 2011 La Sportiva Raptors

GPS recorded maps
last 15 miles

 Since I missed the pre-race packet pick up, I didn't get a parking pass, nor did I manage to get one race morning-- made me nervous.  As feared, when I went back to my car I saw a parking ticket attached to my windshield.   Fears of an extra $100 to fund this adventure.  Fortunately, I later found that the "fine" was simply the normal parking fee, which I gladly sent to the National Forest Service.

My old tent I bought 2nd-hand cheaply in the 90's was drenched with moisture.  I decided then to upgrade (which I've done with multiple models).

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