Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Fire Tower Aid Station Report
Actually, I guess the post is about the whole weekend. Regis and I took off about 1030 to go to Mohican...a strange time for us to going there. Usually it's the crack of dawn. So we celebrated by having a beer. We don't usually get to do that before going to Mohican either!
We got over to the race start/finish to find about a zillion bikers there! They were getting ready for a big group ride. Regis and I jumped right into helping Rob, Nick, and Terri. Tom Jenning and then Mike Keller and his girls showed up about the same time, so we got all the supplies split into the various bins for the various Aid Stations. Don and Roy returned from their earlier trail markings, and Don organized the trail marking supplies, and Reg and I left to mark trail.
I took advantage of Regis a bit; he started at the Covered Bridge and came toward the Fire Tower, while I started at the Fire Tower and worked my way mainly downhill toward him. It was a bit challenging to mark trail, because the mountain bikers were out in full force!
It was a nice change of pace to be mainly walking on the trails, got to look around in the woods a bit more than normal. Reg and I finished up, took a beer break, and then headed over to the Purple Loop. Since it was a beautiful day, there were still lots of folks out even in the late afternoon. We finished marking around seven and went over to the cabin for showers and food.
Mrs Baun had sent a lasagna over, and Amy Powell had spaghetti and meatballs, rolls, and salad ready! We tore into the food, with several more beers of course. Matt and Tom joined us before long. Rob was still out marking course-in the dark, on his mountain bike--his first time on a mountain bike, on trail, in the dark.... he eventually showed up right before the "worrying" cut off would begin. I reassured his wife that we knew the trail and could spot his body in a ravine if we needed to go out.
We all got up around 500 ish. Although Reg and I offiicial duties didn't start until later, we decided to go over to the start in case there was any work to do. I didn't do a darn thing but talk to all my friends as they arrived. Kind of a nice feeling, to be relaxed and able to just chit chat and not be thinking about what was ahead.
Rob gave a great speech bfore the race, that he wanted everyone to finish, and something about "if you drop, you'll get a ride in about three hours so you might as well keep walking" that got a good laugh. He then introduced Regis Shivers Jr to say a few words.
For those of you that knew Regis Shivers Sr, he loved his Mohican, and Jr does too. Reg gave a nice speech about Regis, and then started the race. I had to smile at Paul; Paul is a veteran ultra runner, he was just walking out of the start as everyone bolted down the road toward the first hill. Paul knew what was in store for him!
Nothing to do now than head over to the Fire Tower. Wild Bill had introduced me to two friends, Tara and Arabella. Arabella wanted to run but had not registered in time. Bill proposed that she help out at the FT and I gladly accepted the help!
The rest of the volunteers showed up soon, the Gallion girls softball team and parents. It did not take us long to erect the canopies, organize the food and drink and then.......wait......we were ready for action about 930, and our first runner did not show up until 1115'ish? I am not sure because I forgot my watch, but I had delegated the timing to Kristen, who did a great job. Jay Smithberger was in and out very efficiently, and the volunteers soon had the AS duties down pat.
It was so fun to see people that you know come into your area! Trevor, one of the neighbor guys, arrived looking great, in about 8th place!
We really didn't get the big crowd of middle packers that I expected, the runners were well spread out. I think the most we had was about 5 runners arriving, with 4-5 runners just a bit behind. We had enough food and drink at our AS for a 100 miler, but hey, better to have it than not!
My mom had made homemade potato soup, and we started pushing that to the middle pack and then the back of the pack runners. It went over very well, and the amount was just right, we used it up completely!
I think my highlight of the day was seeing Ruta come through. Ruta is an old time race director (although she's not that old!!) She used to put on the Dan Rossi Race before I entered the ultra world. I met her at Umstead in 2007, where I found we're practically neighbors. Ruta's not been training that much lately, and she had said she was only going to run to the second Aid Station and stop. But Rob said there was no DNF'ing, and then Regis gave his speech...and Ruta kept going!!!!
We were down to 5 runners. Three came through. We were still waiting. Our cutoff was 245pm, and about 3 pm we began to pack up. Rob called from the finish line, and I told him I was short two runners. But they could have been missed. So after everything was packed up, I ran the course backwards down to the Covered Bridge to compare runners. It felt good to run!
I climbed up out of the Gorge Trail and ran toward the AS, and got a big cheer! (They didn't know I wasn't in the race.) That was cool! As it turns out all was well, my last three runners were the same last three that had left the CB coming to the FT. Regis and I caught a ride back to my vehicle, and then went over to the finish line. We stuck around long enough to eat some soup, say some goodbyes, and get on the road home as we were both rather tired.
Rob had some mad skilz as a Race Director. He did a very good job and I am very proud of him. All I heard was compliments on the race! Congratulations on a great inaugural race Rob!