Sunday, March 30, 2008

C2M Race Report

The Two Moon Buffoon's final race report is copied below. (Warning: it's in Chris-speak.) Final results - bonus and boner adusted - as well as the executive summary are up at the Zombies' site.

First things first: Bonus and Boner Minutes. Despite Volunteer Martha’s promise to dole out all her discretionary BM’s to her husband, Bruce’s DNF meant all those BM’s were for naught. And he had a parcel of ‘em (300 minutes’ worth), mostly from their roamings as Ojai/Ventura/Oxnard tourist, further enhanced by some proofs of visitation inscribed with cutesy notes. Talk about sucking up!! Oh, well, good practice for next year, when he returns to claim his buckle.

Among the finishers, Derrick Carr was only barely eclipsed by Betsy Nye. Derrick also accumulated major BM’s for visitations – 3 consecutive mornings at Mrs. Olson’s – but it was Betsy’s remarkable performance on the bowling lanes (oh, yeah, and the beanie miles on the course) that rocketed her to 250 BM’s. Besides her two consecutive frames of gutter balls, she actually guttered seven times, and missed pins altogether 11 out of 20 opportunities. Still, she beat Bruce by 3 pins. Also receiving major points for bowling “finesse” was Nick “Mr. Style” Ham, whose gyrations approaching the foul line looked more like a toddler’s first visit to the ice rink.

The positive BM’s spread easily, first to those who had any history with either C4P or Dos Lunas (the predecessor challenge that resulted in C2M); second, to those who partook of pre-event frivolities; third, and most liberally, for almost anything that remotely entertained a Volunteer. Just being at La Jolla on Wed/Thur, plus BJ’s and Bowling, garnered a “four pack” of 40 minutes for 100M’ers, 20 minutes for 100K’ers. Actually having a standout performance at any venue snatched a few more. Nick’s dashing stance in his Blood Cloaking Device (BCD), Amy Sproston with her cuddly bull chair for testosterone dispensing, even Roch’s mindmeld with the Country Crock bowl, all yielded faster net official times on the record book. Thirty minutes each, too, to Roch and Betsy for actually eating the (meow…) dip at Gridley Top (before the moths claimed it for themselves), Roch gaining another ten minutes for guiding Betsy to it, Betsy losing ten minutes for too easily following Roch’s lead.

More than a few entrants captured Boner Minutes for disregarding action-intended pre-event e-mails. Other social gaffs in public settings usually racked up Boners, too. A couple of the more egregious Boners actually earned a few Bonus Minutes just for the entertainment value of wondering how many Boners the culprits could accumulate. Kinda like the kid in the back row of class who can’t help himself at torquing people off, they just reeled in Boners with ease. One philosophy presumes one must know the bad to appreciate the good, so all in all, there was some balance to the BM equation at C2M.

Get the impression that BM’s are frivolous and ill-defined opportunities to alter the raw data toward a more enlightened view of performance? Good guess. Perhaps we’ll improve on the theme next year…

How ‘bout them aid stations?!!? Though most of our keenly tuned volunteers have been where you were – on the receiving end of such support – we weren’t sure how the equally long hours on the course would play out for us. Stressed? Yes, but intended to find relief thru ample partying and hijinx with runners without jeopardizing support. Stressed? Yes, at Rose Valley when temps hovered 10 degrees colder than predicted – you got to climb out of it, they had to suffer in place. Jazzed? Yes, because their excitement for your being out there bled into their own operations; because your appreciation for them being there kept them working to continue the support. The Ranch? We think, a keeper. You decide: yea, you’ll be back; nay, you won’t.

Of course, the staggered start and repetitive out ‘n backs / ups ‘n downs under a full moon weekend more directly defined the running experience. For this first year, our rocket scientists could only guess at correlations between your other experiences on the trail and what might play out for you on this course, flavored by as much moonlight as we could force you to use. Because of the lack of credible comparability, calculated finish times – and the resultant Start Group assignments – tended to be more conservative.

We wanted to not overly stress the opportunity for you to find the finish line before the 8AM cutoff, hoping for most of you to crunch together around a 6AM, or midpoint, finish. Roughly a fourth (22) of the finishers crossed the line before 4AM, and only six after 8AM (each of them obviously spent enough time earning BM’s to result in official times that qualified them as “finisher”). A fascinating dynamic of the staggered movement along the course: at Gridley Top (roughly 4 miles to the Finish), watching lights approach from Cozy Dell, we couldn’t tell fershur until the runners entered the station whether they were from the 100M 4PM Friday or 100K 5PM Saturday Start Group. Each set of lights presented a unique surprise!

It was the performance of the BOK-Q squad that will set the precedent for future C2M’s. The combination of sandbaggers Barbeau, Owens, Kumeda and Quivey’s too-quick movement on the course (Andy finished at 10:30’ish PM Saturday…) wrenched the planned aid station migrations (e.g., the Lion Cyn team splitting much earlier than anticipated, to stay ahead of the lead runners). An odd twist – where is it that the slow runners, rather than the exceptionally fast runners, throw the game out of whack? The inverse logic of C2M means we need bookend cutoffs, to corral you all within our range of planned support.

So, now that we have your guinea pig stats available, we won’t be quite so generous in subsequent calculations. For one, sandbagger performers will have to fend for themselves, or just cool their jets until the Aid Station sets up as planned (how lonely and parched was Thacher, Gilles?). And we’ll tighten down the “windows” in the calculations to put more risk to finishing before 8AM. We designed the event to challenge your ability to gauge your performance, not stress the support system to insure you could use all night, all day and all night again (oh, wait, some of you did just that) to find the Finish. So, Karl, when you return for your pre-summer season warmup, maybe we’ll start you at 10AM?

Make what you will of the numbers. The statisticians among you may be hired to help with next year’s guesstimates. The “blue sky” kids among you will look for your own and friends’ times and go quickly to the next article. Me, I’m four issues behind in my New Yorkers…

Other normal stats talked about over coffee: Weather: we had it. Different from planned, so what’s new about that? We had two gorgeous moons refereeing your movement. We’ll visit the crystal ball and ten local palm readers to predict next year’s weather. I’ll bet we have some then, too. Trail conditions: lots o’ dirt; some rocks rolled, some didn’t, all wanted to chat with you as you moved by; some trails runable (all downhills?), some suggesting cautious motion. Scenery: ah, some distinctive moments – that big yellow ball peaking above the eastern horizon, cruising across the sky (any of you run w/o flashlights?), then sliding below the ocean’s rim; the Channel Islands lazing offshore; the shimmering lights of Oxnard/Ventura. Probably have your own distinct visual references, eh?

Which brings us to your log book… It’s yours – embellish, lie, paint freely. The “official” results are mere references to tweak expanded discussion and promote fun stories for those who weren’t there. 102+ miles? Not even 23K feet of climb? Cat food?!!? C2M isn’t and won’t be just about running. It’s more about camaraderie – Leslie and Craig slugging out 100 miles together; or high fiving each other as runners pass in opposite directions; or dropping out and helping at your favorite aid station; or mellowing out with your buds and sipping on a mimosa. It’ll be the stories from different parts of the course, at different times of the day, from different runner views of the experience, that hopefully will evoke the telling over… and over… and over.

Keep the Coyote Moon with you, until we howl again…

Two Moon Buffoon

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

C2M preliminary results & some photo links

These three photos were taken by Glenn Tachiyama (link to more of his super shots below):

Pat Devita, my heroine! She rocks. :-)

Karl Meltzer running up the Chip-Seal Road out of Rose Valley. "Bookends" (first and last of both genders in both distances) were supposed to wear their C2M beanie hats.

Betsy Nye, fastest woman in the 100 miler, happy on the Chip-Seal descent.

Preliminary results are up at the Zombie's site . These are actual times all the runners ran. There will also be a separate list of bonus/boner-adjusted results!!

More photos are up,
Stan Jensen's which are mostly of the start/finish, and H'ard Cohen's. This link is for the main event, but note also two separate files for pre-event activities.

Glenn Tachiyama has some awesome shots taken on the road out of Rose Valley and on the ridge!

For a runner's perspective, 100-Mile finisher Jakob Herrmann has some great shots with thoughtful narrative. He also has one of the cutest babies I've ever seen. :) Be sure to check out the video of the talking Topa head on page 6.

I found a very well written C2M report by "Chrrrris" here and photos here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

C2M brief recap

A quick post to report that the inaugural C2M was a resounding success!

Thursday's bowling night was a blast, with at least a couple surprising hotshot ultrarunner-bowlers by the names of Dean Dobberton (a 206 score!) and Karl Meltzer, rolling a "disappointing" 168. Who knew? My team had the lowest average score at 79 and won some cool hats for sucking so badly. :p Both Wednesday and Thursday afternoons a few of us - run entrants and volunteers - spent some casual hours logging a few miles in Pt. Mugu State Park, socializing with friends old and new, and knocking back a few cold ones.

After the initial prerace activities, the Lion Canyon/Gridley Top and Ridge Jct. aid station folks headed up to the ridge to set up while I marked course up Lion Canyon and met the rest of the LC crew at the ridge. With the staggered start, aid station runner traffic started slowly, with activity and congestion picking up as the hours wore on. Friday night's traffic flow through our Lion Canyon aid station was light enough that most of our group was able to get a few hours of shut eye, but by Saturday afternoon and evening, and with three passes per runner through our Gridley Top aid station, activity was virtually constant. With plenty of liquid refreshment in the form of hops 'n barley for our crew, a fart machine-mooner guy combo (and subsequently renaming ourselves "the 8th grade aid station"), Barb Miller's awesome baton twirling, and our fearless RD dressed up as a giant white Easter rabbit, my belly hurt from laughing so hard. :) I witnessed a total of five moons - two from the moon in the sky both nights and three from runners (ewww). Then we had Naked Topa Man, who showed up wearing only his pack, running shoes, and a sock rubberbanded to his, uh... thing. (His reward being ONE Dirty Girl gaiter.) The stories are endless, of course, with everyone experiencing her/his own hopefully fun-filled adventure through the spectacular Ojai mountains.

As for results, Karl Meltzer ran an incredibly freakish (and I mean that in the most complimentary sense of the word) 19:24 in the 100 miler, with Justin Angle and Andy Jones-Wilkins tying for second in 23:48. Betsy Nye was our fastest woman in 29:32 with Kerry Owens only a few minutes slower in 29:46. David Goggins was first in the 100K, with speedy Amy Sproston for the women. Running radically faster than they and the RD predicted, a few sandbaggers - let's call them Kumeda, Barbeau, Quivey, and Owens - had to forego aid at Thacher and Gridley Botton because they arrived before the AS crews.

We had the BEST core group of volunteers, in particular the S/F and aid station chiefs, H'ard Cohen, Bill Kee, Mark Weineke, Gretchen Garnett, and Brian Polley, who, along with their crews, went above and beyond their basic assignments, which alone were challenging enough. The radio guys also deserve special mention. Most of them are C4P holdovers and were very excited to continue assisting in the latest Coyote installment. As previously mentioned, we are truly grateful for the Zombies hosting C2M on their website and putting in countless hours. Finally, the start/finish at Rancho Grande rivals and in our opinion surpasses the best of 100 miler venues. We were fortunate they agreed to host us as their first big group, especially after Chris "cold called" by climbing over their locked gate, inquiring as to whether they'd play host to a bunch of nutcases for a weekend.

I could write on and on but need to clean and sort gear, go through aid station leftovers, sleep, etc. We are beat! (I think running the event would've been easier than working it!)

A few C2M photos

Roch, Betsy and the moths liked the "cheese dip."

Our Gridley Top aid station sign, staffed by a bunch of middle-aged 8th graders.

Derrick Carr, en route to a spectacular 24:50 fourth place time. For those who care about such trivia, it was agreed all around by those who ran it that the C2M course is noticeably harder than Wasatch and Massanutten.

Cheese kay-sa-dee-yas, Vienna sausages, jelly beans and Peeps -- YUM-O!

Little Mooner Guy and Nick the Brit... who fully embraced the Coyote spirit!

Zombie Runner Gillian, AKA "Really Brave Chick," for partaking of some of our more questionable aid station fare: silkworm pupa on a Saltine.

A fearless runner heading down Gridley.

Jack Fierstadt, 100K finisher, along with aid station workers Barb and Rick "Mississippi Mud" Miller.

Craig Heinselman has more photos posted
here. (Click on C2M 2008.) There'll be a lot more coming.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Coyote Two Moon - behind the scenes

Today a very nice runner told me I needed to update my blog, so here ya go, Mark! :)

Before getting to the primary focus of this post, let me say that my latest "adventure" didn't quite pan out. The good news is it was the result of the (freak!) weather and not injury. So, I spent a day or so feeling sorry for myself and then got over it. I will return to complete what I started and will provide a full report then.

The weather here, on the other hand, has been absolutely GORGEOUS!! I love California in the winter and feel so fortunate to be living here. :)

Chris and I (mostly RD Chris) have been super busy getting ready for Coyote Two Moon 100m/100k next weekend. As you can see from the schedule, C2M is no ordinary ultra (!), with prerace get-togethers--running, bowling, partying--beginning Wednesday, with the main event beginning on Friday (for some) and going through Easter morning. The rest of the program is here. Being a Chris Scott event, it is of course unique. Okay, maybe I'm a bit biased, but no one would argue its creativity and ingenuity. Probably the most differentiating feature is the staggered start based on estimated finish times, with everyone--in theory--finishing within a four-hour window. That means the fast guys will be trying to catch everyone ahead of them throughout the entire race while the slower runners get first dibs on the aid station yummies. You can read more about the staggered start on the program. It will be very interesting to see how it all pans out!

We have some Big Dogs entered, including perennial Hardrocker/Wasatcher Betsy Nye, VHTRC standout Derrick Carr, my ultra hero Eric Clifton, 2007 W$ winner Hal Koerner, 2007 VT winner Andy Jones-Wilkins, 2006 Ultrarunner of the Year Karl Meltzer, rock-star Grand Slammer Hiroki Ishikawa, consistent top 10'er Justin Angle, and sub-24 Wasatcher Roch Horton in the 100 miler. The 100k roster boasts the likes of my other ultra hero, Pat Devita, Amy Sproston, David Goggins, Tom Nielson, Josh Brimhall, and Tracy "Snake Legs" Moore.

Big dogs aside, Coyote Two Moon is less about "The Race" and more about camaradarie in the dirt, part Coyote Fourplay (RIP), part a new and different challenge. The mountains above Ojai are spectacular, with some surprisingly kick-ass climbs. In my opinion, the only harder 100s out there are Barkley, Hardrock, and maybe HURT.

We are anxiously anticipating the festivities of the coming week and welcome all the runners, friends, and families. And a HUGE thank you to all the folks who are--and have been--coming out to volunteer, especially the Zombies, Gillian and Don (who put in about 1,000 person hours). We couldn't do it without you.

Here's a little visual as to what we've been up to the past few months in preparation for C2M...

Course marker party! We are trying something new here, too: both regular surveyor's and reflective tape tied to wooden clothespins, to be reused year after year. That's me (having tied one too many markers), Jeanne, Wild Bill, Ben, and Sook.

Checking out the start/finish area, Rancho Grande, with (front row) the twins, Marla, Gretchen (these four will be doing the Thacher aid station), and (back row) Bill, Mark, H'ard, moi, Drew, and Jack.
The same group as the previous shot clearing trail... Heehee, kidding. :p

Shoveling SNOW on 3/15! There was one pesky section of the ridge road that receives very little wintertime sun. Consequently, about 1/4 mile of hardpacked snow was exceedingly slow in melting, so we finally took matters into our own hands and chopped and shoveled our way through. The snow wouldn't have been a big deal for the runners, but the ability to drive between our on-ridge aid stations made clearing the way for vehicles essential. (And, no, as a matter of fact, we didn't have any qualms about utilizing child labor.) That's (front row), Otto, Otis, me, and (back row) Mike, Chuck, Mark, Brian, Cecil, Debbie, H'ard, and Bill. Chris took most of these photos so he's not in any of them. We did a great job clearing the road!

Bill, Laurie, and I slog back up the Horn Canyon Trail after doing the final brushing out and treadwork on this badly overgrown trail. This is the most technically challenging of all the different trails on the course; just ask Bruce Grant. We did a total of three work trips on just this trail, with a rough estimate of 240 person hours!

While dropping off water at the ridge aid stations, our vehicles got stuck in the snow twice and sustained two flat tires! Sorry about that, H'ard and Mark.

The Patagonia order arrives! We came home one afternoon to all these boxes on the front porch. If only the neighbors realized the value of the contents... (O_O) All this stuff had to be sorted and reconciled before being brought to the stitchers and the screeners, then resorted and re-reconciled for bag stuffing. Yes, the house is a total mess.

Good luck to all the runners this weekend!