Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pre-Race Report: Creemore 100 Mile Challenge

Is there such a thing as good weather in Creemore?  We all know there is exciting weather in Creemore.  The Creemore Vertical Challenge in July experienced 3 inches of rain in the first hour of the 50K race.  The runners probably did not notice since they were busy trying to avoid being struck by lightning and to climb hills that were conveniently converted into mudslides.  What fun!

And in previous years, brutal baking hot temperatures made sure the runners heart rates were tapped out on the flats (or is it the flat?), let alone while striving to run up a 600 foot vertical hill in the heat...  More fun!

In 2009, the OUS Spring Warm-up was held in Avening, a hamlet quite near Creemore.  The race started in gale force winds and sleet, then the weather turned bad...  I was asked by 2 runners if they could run the course backwards (counterclockwise instead of clockwise).  Why?  When running clockwise, the section of the course that went north was on top of the Niagara Escarpment and they were not able to make headway into the wind...  The fun never stops, enjoy the buffet!

So when the long range forecast for December 1 & 2 called for sunny skies and a high of +3, I waited...  And waited.  I even had the temerity to joke that if the weather was good (okay, I'll say it - IDEAL) I would catch flak from those who had braved the Spring and July races.  Now that the forecast has turned south, what the hell was I thinking, taunting the weather gods? Will I ever learn?  No, don't answer that.  I'm 54 and don't need the constant reminders.

For those of you reading this blog with trepidation (that would be the 29 rationally challenged individuals who signed up for the Creemore 100 Mile Challenge), rest assured that the weather is not horrific.  There, now I've eased your minds!

I ran the course this morning and it is in surprisingly good shape.  To preface the course update, it has been snowing "a bit" in Creemore for the last 3 days.  The backroads have about 2 inches of snow (most have not seen a plow) and the trails have about 3 inches of snow.  The footing is mostly good, with a few slippery parts.  I have added a rope with knots at the steep downhill leading to the ridge run (the trail with 20 foot cliffs on each side) and cut stairs directly before the beaver dam.

The course requires effort to run, but has several long, gradual downhill sections where recovery is facilitated.  You still need to burn calories to complete the 10.6K loop, but it is not a constant grind.  I ran the 3 uphills (since I was only running one loop) and although tough, the course is not much more effort than running it when dry.

A huge thanks to Elise Maguire, who will be marking the course on Friday.  I have run out of spare vacation days (I only get 34 per year) so it will be nice to ensure the course is well prepped the day before the race.  Elise needs volunteer hours on the trail (as opposed to at an aid station) for entry into a race (I have forgotten which).  Not a bad idea!  Although fun, setting a course requires considerable time and effort.  Much appreciated, Elise!

Well, let's get it over with...  The Forecast:


Good!  Cloudy with a low of -4 and warming to +2.  This should keep the course from getting too muddy.  Not too cold, so changing clothes every loop is not needed.  The footing should be good (frozen) until later in the day.


Could be worse...  A low of +2 and a high of +7.  Light rain.  The course will degenerate overnight.  Hopefully, the runners will be far enough into their race that 2 - 3 final loops in the rain will not be significant.  Change into dry clothes every loop or simply push through.  I talked to Jeff Ashizawa after his 48 hours at Dirty Girls and he claims the runners would have done much better had it rained Saturday instead of Friday.  Perhaps Jeff is the reason for the forecast?  Jeff:  Did you want rain on Sunday?  Probably an academic question as Jeff is likely to finish before the rains makes an appearance.


The Creemore 100 Mile Challenge is a Fatass.  What this means is that it is not a sanctioned race.  No person or body assumes responsibility for race details, such as aid station stock, volunteers, insurance, etc.  This is all the responsibility of the runners.  Hence the race is "Free" (try telling that to yours legs at the finish) as no one is ensuring the well-being of the runners.  A good example is there are currently positions available for volunteers at the 5K aid station on Saturday night.  If these positions are not filled, there will be less support for the runners.  This is fine, as the runners simply need to take care of their hydration / nutrition requirements themselves.  However...

Come on down to Creemore for an action packed night of cheering, yelling and yes, even whooping!  We have 29 runners who would truly love to see you Saturday night / early Sunday morning.  See the greats, such as Stephan and Kinga Miklos, the incredible Jeff Ishazawa and returning from an amazing showing at the 24 hour worlds, Sharon Zelinski!  Get autograph worth hundreds of pennies!  Rub shoulders with the who's who in Ontario Ultra running!  Have the time of your life and most importantly, see people that look and feel much much worse than you!

A bit of a plug for vollies; please contact Jodi Langley if you can help out:

Hope to see you next Saturday!

1 comment:

  1. Go figure ... 10C Sunday, had to pack some shorts. Stupid global warming!