For the last few years, the blooming of Coastal California's sea dahlias signals that Coyote Two Moon is fast approaching. Thanks to decent and desperately needed winter rains, the display is especially grand this year. Also known as the giant coreopsis, this plant grows only on undeveloped sections of California's southern and central coast and on the Channel Islands. For most of the year the plant is brittle, brown, and quite frankly looks dead. But come February... voila! The brilliant yellow blooms shoot out of funky Dr. Seuss-like "trees" and signal the arrival of springtime. One of our frequent running trails up La Jolla Canyon is loaded with them right now. But enough about flowers. As I said, it is time for the Coyote Two Moon 100 km. and 100 miler this coming weekend. Chris, the RD, has put me to work stuffing and organizing our, um, unique runner bags, organizing and procuring the aid station basics, and basically keeping the garage organized. (You could say I'm anal about organizing everything.) Fillmore the cat does quality control:
In preparation for the event, we do trail work on one or more of the trails on which the event traverses. This year we did around 150 hours of work on the Lion Canyon Trail on two separate work trips. It would've been more, but we got rained out of one trail work day. Andy is working on tread, below, and Bill is about to kill a yucca. (For those non Westerners reading this, yucca quills are somewhat like those of a porcupine, with barbs on the end that easily penetrate clothing and skin, and which are very difficult to remove. We don't like them this close to the trail.
A bit of a precarious section of the Lion Canyon Trail. See, Hardrock isn't the only 100 miler with "Acrophobia! Exposure!" Fortunately, we have oxygen, and fortunately (?), the majority of 100-mile runners do this section in the dark. (100k'ers don't do this trail.)
Water and soda needs to be trucked in (4WD) and stashed at our three on-ridge aid stations. Manley and Howard perfect the art of the soda bottle pyramid.
What I don't have photographs of are the hours and hours and HOURS consumed behind the scenes, Chris's dealing with the Forest Service, the folks at Thacher (the start/finish of the event), the runners, product sponsors (THANKS to Patagonia, Black Diamond, Salt Stick, Hammer Nutrition, Drymax socks, ZombieRunner, Nuun, Moeben, Jitterbeans, Little Moon Essentials, and Hydra Pouch [BTW, their HydraPour high-speed valves rock!], please see the C2M website for sponsor links), the Ventura Bowling Center, coordinating with aid station captains (HUGE THANKS to Wes, Manley, George, Mark, Howard, Luis, and Zack and their assistants)--they in turn coordinating with their crews--and the radio people (equally HUGE THANKS to Dan, George, and all the others; these guys are gems!), and on and on. I am a little embarrassed to say that I ran ultras for about 15 years without any real CLUE of what was involved with putting one on, especially a more complex (this ain't a fat ass) event like C2M.
We still make the time to run, swim (Chris) and do yoga (me) at the Y in the midst of all the confusion. Yesterday the waterfall (above) in La Jolla Canyon had more water in it than I'd ever seen; most of the year the "waterfall" is dry. On Saturday, despite tsunami warnings (!) along the coast, we ran 17 miles in the rain and mud in the park. But the beauty of Southern California is that a rainy February run here feels like a rainy June run in most of the rest of the country. The mud IS a bit stickier, though.
Wheeeee...! Serrano Canyon...! Wheeee...!
Friends met on the trail...
...and water where I've never seen it.
(When you're wearing shoes this bright, the rest of you must be black 'n white.)
Not sure when the next post will happen. Right after C2M I'm going back to New England for a couple of weeks to play in the... snow??!!