Last weekend I did my first volunteer stint at a 100 miler - Cascade Crest 100. I've been pretty lax getting something posted about it - even most of the bloggers who ran it have already managed to get a race report up. Oh well...At WR50 Alison asked if I wanted to work at No Name Ridge with her and James, and of course I jumped at the chance - even though it meant being awake most of the night (something that is harder to do - at least voluntarily - as I get older). So here is a brief report....
Saturday after dinner, I drove to Hyak to meet Alison, who was pacing Suzanna Bon from there to No Name. No one wanted to pace Suzanna the whole 47 - she's too dang fast! - so her training partner Paul was to pick her up at No Name. I met Paul at Hyak and gave him a ride to No Name. James called and said the trail between No Name and Thorp needed glow sticks - I was in no shape to run 9 miles (much less 2!) and he had fallen at Cutthroat Classic earlier that day and banged his knee up bad. We were definitely the gimp aid station! Adam was also going to be there, but he had run 26 miles earlier in the day and was refueling at Village Pizza in Roslyn. After adequate pizza and, more importantly, beer, he was ready to mark the course. Whew!
We arrived, after a nice little climb up logging roads, about midnight. Paul made a nest in my car to get some shut eye and I plopped down in the zero gravity chair to watch James putz around the aid station. About 1:30 a call came over the ham radio to expect our first runner. We waited...and waited...and waited...and a little after 2 am, Tom and his pacer Justin came through - not who we were expecting. They said Jesse (first runner) had left Mineral Creek 18 minutes ahead of them. Oops. Justin said the markers at the junction were hard to see and he may have gone off course. Since Adam was still out and I had the only other car (besides the ham radio operator), I was elected to go hang glow sticks at the turn and look for runner #22. I even got to carry a handheld to report back if I found him (my dad, a ham radio operator who is now a 'silent key' would have been pleased to see me finally using a ham radio). Sure 'nuff, after coming across a few runners and pacers, I saw Jesse climbing up the road. I reported in, marked the course and headed back to the AS.
From here on, runners trickled in every hour or two. I managed to get a little sleep in the back of my car after Suzanna and Alison came through (around 4 or 4:30) and she and Paul left. James would give a whoop every time he saw the lights of a runner approaching. I must have slept through a couple of those whoops because I came back out of the car a little after 5:30. The sunrise was really pretty.
Throughout the morning we heated up raviolis, made grilled cheese sandwiches, and crepes filed with Nutella or cheese or whatever we had on hand. I had brought some freshly roasted Ethiopian beans and a hand grinder and French press. Some of the tired runners seemed to really perk up after a hit of that. Alison tried to combine a nap with an escape from the mosquitos - see if you can find her in this photo:
At one point I was surprised to see the intrepid Rob Hester and his faithful pacer Eric Barnes heading up the road. I wasn't aware Rob had planned to do CCC! He looked really strong and seemed to be in pretty good spirits for someone with 81 miles under his belt! He's a machine!
Other familiar faces appeared throughout the morning and by 11:30, we were ready to strike the set and head back down to the finish. Alison rode back with me and it was really amazing to both of to see all that road they had to climb up! Really puts it in perspective...
Back at the finish, Devon and her runner Monica were soaking their tired feet along with others. Jonathan was tiredly walking/limping around after finishing his first 100 miler - he had decided last Tuesday to go ahead and get it done this year. And he ripped it out in 26:06!! Stud.
All in all it was a great experience - I love volunteering at these things. You get the best of both worlds - being outside and having energy left over to take it all in, plus a very minimal recovery time! Back in Seattle, I wore my volunteer shirt today at the University District Farmer's market and someone commented on it. I turned around and he had a blue version (mine is orange) - he crewed his nephew Devin Corcoran who came in at 23:48. Another person - a gal working at one of the stands- said she was getting ready for Seattle marathon but wanted to do some volunteering at ultraruns. I highly recommend it.