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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recce the Trail at Zion

recce [ˈrekɪ] (Brit)
A. N ABBR (Mil) =reconnaissancereconocimiento m
B. VT (Mil) =reconnoitrereconocer
I just love the British term "recce"  (pronounced "recky") to reconnoiter or recon.  I arrived in Las Vegas, spent the night, then drove to Utah to recce some of the trails for the Zion 100 Race.
I wanted to try and check out Guacamole Trail and the Grafton Mesa Trails, as I would see this into the dark.
I also wanted to take pictures so I wouldn't take so many during the race! 

This was a pretty tall order, as I over estimated what I could do, with leaving Las Vegas, losing one hour time ( Utah is in mountain time zone) and a 2.5 hour drive to Virgin.

I was able to find the Guacamole Trail relatively easy, with the amount of research I did. It mainly involved researching the mountain biker trail records of the Guacamole Trail.



It was really neat coming into Utah. The landscape is so foreign to me, and so striking.




I got up on the Guacamole Trail and got to experience "slick rock" for the first time.

What is "Slickrock"?  Slick rock is Navajo Sandstone, devoid of any soil, it's just pure stone.
The name "slickrock" was given by early settlers of the area because their horses' metal shoes had difficulty gaining traction on the rock's sloping surfaces. The same is true today for cyclists who use shoes with metal cleats while riding the Slickrock Trail. Slickrock also becomes very slick when wet.

The slickrock is a very irregular surface. Think of poured concrete, in very  rounded tiny hills.   There are little tiny craters, little lakes  if it rains.  I guess I would call it technical terrain, as it is hard to get into a rhythmn on.  But it's nothing like MMT rocks.





 It was very cool to run here.  This section will be in the dark for me.  I think it will be slow, but not as slow as a rocky trail. 
 It was very windy on top of the mesa.  When I was at the edge, I was glad of my gloves, headband, and long sleeves.  I am glad I got up here, I will make sure to have my gloves, hat, windbreaker, in my drop bag for the night time mesa sections. 





 Petrified wood! This stuff was every where!!  This was a really big piece.

Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization.


I  ran about six miles of Guacamole Trail, then drove over to the Smithsonian Butte Trail.  I didn't even drive up the whole road, as it was pretty steep on a dirt road, and I was driving a rental car.  That's going to be a nice steep uphill during the race.

I'm glad I've got to recce some of the course. It is, as advertised.  The RD has said, when there are ascents, they are going UP! 

I then drove  over to the Zion Visitor Center.  This place, on April 1, a Monday, was packed! What the heck is this area like real tourist season?  I can see why cars are banned from the park, and the shuttle bus is encouraged.



I am planning on hiking to Angel's Landing in Zion National Park in the morning.

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