After two days of ultrarunner friends and sending off some of our friends on their 100 mile race, it was time for Lesley and I to run the Bighorn Trail Run 50K on Saturday. The logistics of even getting to the gun start of a mountain trail race that's point-to-point was a lot, and that's this post, hopefully useful for anyone running it next year too!
4:30 am: Yep, a 4:30 wakeup for an 8 am race. Yawn.
5:15 am: Lesley, Rebecca, and I loaded into the car for the 25 minute drive from the hotel in Sheridan to the tiny town of Dayton. We had to park at the local high school there, about a mile from the finish line.
5:45 am: We're loaded one of several school buses. You HAD to buy a bus ticket for $10. I personally wish they had included it in the entry fee, because making sure you had that ticket on you was very stressful! Ultimately, they didn't even check for our bus ticket. However, please note I would NEVER advocate not having a bus ticket. If you didn't have it and they had been sticklers about it, you would have been stranded completely!
6:00 am: The bus starts the long drive up the mountain. By trail, the start line would be 17 miles away. But by road, it took an hour to make the drive. We saw deer as we drove up. Our bus driver did not really get where he was going and missed our turnoff (luckily enough had run it before or crewed the day before to yell to him seconds after it happened), and then he made a wrong turn on a dirt road that he had to back up and turn around. Great way to make us all nervous that we would even get there!
7:00 am: We had to disembark the bus so they could get them out of the start area. So we're 7500 ft up on a mountain, in 45ish degree temperatures, with no bag to leave gear, trying to stay warm and standing around. We immediately got in the portapotty line, thinking it would get worse with each bus that arrived after us.
While in the line, we could see Luke and Courtney. We chatted about our awesome friends and our amazement that they could win the whole thing. A girl in the potty line behind us chimed in, disgustedly, "You can't tell how people will perform just by their body type. That's not fair." I was astounded. And Rebecca says, "No, we know them. They're friends of ours. And they're really really fast."
After the bathroom stop, we met up with Courtney, Luke, and Phil and talking to everyone passed the time quickly. Shivering loses lots of energy pre-race, especially with standing around for an hour, so I was glad to have my jacket, even if I would tie it around my waist only 2 miles in.
8:00 am: A guy sang the national anthem, we lined up, and off we went.
I'll write up the race itself soon!