Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bad Buzzard

The Buzzard has obviously not been good about staying on top of things the last couple of weeks. Lots going on and not much free time...................so, something had to give. And, unfortunately, that meant posting on the Muddy Buzzard has been on a leeetle bit of a hiatus. But, let's get caught up a bit.

To begin with, I've just finished up my first week as the head coach of the Plains H.S. Cross Country Teams (the Horseman and the Trotters (that's right ----- the Trotters. Perhaps one of the more unfortunate team names)) It's been a bit of an eye opener to deal with the HS psyche. So far, I don't have full boys or girls teams (4 and 2); but, we're hoping to pick up at least one boy so that we have a scoring team.

On the up side, I do have one boy (a sophomore) who made State in the Class B two mile as a freshman on some pretty marginal training. So, with some good training, I'm hopeful that we'll see some good things out of him.

On to the statewide scene. On the 15th I was at the Huckleberry Run 5K in Trout Creek. It was a decent race (won by Jacob Naegeli of Trout Creek, sophomore to be at Earlham College in 16:59., the Buzzard won the masters at 17:57) - but, the weather was the news of the day. So, here it was in mid-August. Usually the dog days of summer. Still plenty of time to be out on teh lake, hitting the pool and catching some rays. Well, not this year. Race time was in the high '40's. Conditions were great for racing (no wind, cloud cover, crisp); but, not expected at this time of year. Not prepared to see my breath during a summer run.

But, the big news of the last two weeks would have to be the Ridge Run in Bozeman (also on the 15th). The men were chasing the almost untouchable record time of 3:06:30 by Scott Creel in 2007. First this year was Chad Andersen of Bozeman in 3:35:42. Chad has won at least 3 time previously (1993, 1994, 1996). Pretty impressive to come back 13 years later and get win #4.

Rounding out the top 5 me were Dewey Peacock (3:41:37), Kevin Murphy (MSU alum, now in Seattle) in 3:41:53 (amazingly close 16 second split after 20 trail miles), Justin Prigge in 3:42:46 and Douglas Wadle in 3:50:26.

First Master man was the 2008 winner and 52-year old Kyle Klicker running a 3:58:08.

The women's race saw a new record set. And, it should come as no suprise that the winner and new record holder is ultra queen Nikki Kimball. Breaking her 2004 record by almost 10 minutes, Nikki's 3:43:49 outpaced second place by about 50 minutes. She also finished 5th overall in the race and her time was only the second time a woman has been under 4 hours in this event.

A great day on the ridge for all involved.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, August 09, 2009

One That Flew Under The Buzzard

Forgot about this event - and apologize for not mentioning it sooner.

On July 26th, the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race was held in Colorado Springs. The event was a selection race for the US Mountain Running Team that will compete in the world championships in Italy. The races were limited to 100 men and 100 women - with the men doing 12K and the women at 8K. With limited fields and the positions open on the US Team, both races were filled with trail studs.

And, Montana (and some with Montana connections) was duly represented.

On the mens' side, former Bozeman resident Tommy Manning was 7th overall in 50:24, just a bit over 3 minutes behind Tim Park's winning time of 47:13. In 13th was Ryan Hafer in 52:36. Ryan grew up in Colorado Springs, ran at Harvard, has family in Billings and would spend time in Billings during the summers. One of his first tail races was an XTerra event at Moonlight Basin.

Thomas Jodoin of Helena was 20th in 56:20. Great race against the big boys.

Trying to return to the team she made in 2006, Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge also took to the high altitude trails. Megan Kimmel of CO took the win in 39:23. Although competitive, Nicole finished outside of the top 2 (which was required for team selection) and her 43:19 placed her 10th among the women.

See results at http://www.trailrunner.com/results/race_results/2009_cheyenne_canon_results.htm

All in all, I would say that the Big Sky boys and girls made their mark at this national leval event.

The Muddy Buzzard

Kenworthy Does Ashland

Craig Kenworthy was doing a west coast trip a few weeks ago and figured out how to squeeze in a race. But, not just any race........................how about 5,600 feet of climb over 13.3 miles. Second only to Pikes Peak in vertical gain, the Mount Ashland Hill climb is in it's 32nd year of quad-busting, lung-searing, gut-puking fun.

With this area becoming a current hotbed of trail running activitiy, it's also a race that attracts some of the best of the US dirt and mud crowd - people like Erick Skaggs, Hal Koerner, Ian Torrence and Jenn Shelton. And, our very own Mr. Kenworthy.

Craig did the Big Sky proud with his 10th place overall (3rd place master) finish in 2:11:23.

See a good story in the local "rag" at http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090802/SPORTS/908020338

You can also see full results at http://www.mtashlandrun.com/results.html

I don't know. Makes a guy a bit nervous when someone from Bozeman is working so hard on big hill climbs like this. And, Bozeman is hosting the MT Cup. Does Craig know something that we don't about what the race course will be like this year? Ominous indeed!!!!

The Muddy Buzzard

Bozeman Classic

The 31st Annual running of the Bozeman Classic was held yesterday (for us old-schoolers it will forever be remembered as the Sweet Pea Run).

The most competitive race of the day was in the men's 5K with John Ricardi (new Idaho State grad) taking his 3rd win in a row with a 15:41.7. John grew up in the area (went to high school at Manhattan Christian (in addition to some time in Gardiner and Bozeman) and has been running the race since he was a little kid (I can always remember the "Runnin' Ricardis" showing up to this and other road races in the area starting back in the 90's).

John's time gave him a 5 second + win over Steve Hickman (15:46) with Kurt Michels another 5 seconds back in 15:51.

The first master's man was Kirk Keller of Three Forks. With some renewed spring in his step since he has turned 50, Kirk ran 17:58.7 and became the first over 50 runner to go sub-18:00 at this event.

On the women's side, Elisabeth Driscoll (Bozeman High and MSU grad) won in 18:01.4 (good for 12th overall). The time gave her a comfortable 61 second win over Heidi Fry-Johnson (19:02). Keeping the masters titles in the over 50 category, Priscilla Flesch-Birtic of Bozeman (58) took the top slot in 22:07.

The 10K wasn't quite as competitive. Dan Jackson of Bozeman took the win over Birch Haraden of Billings as their 34:04 and 34:50 were the only two sub-36:00 times of the day. Lindsey Evans of Bozeman took a 42 second win over Renee Graham (Azusa, CA) - 40:11 to 40:53. Ultra-goddess Nikki Kimball continues to work on a return to race sharpness and gathered a 4th place finish with her 41:26.

Masters crowns went to Scott Snedden of Billings in 37:23 (6th overall) and Kisa Francis (Wilson, WY) in 43:36.

See www.perfect-timing.org for full results. And the Chronicle had a nice story about the event at http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2009/08/09/sports/000classic.txt

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, August 03, 2009

Still Another Adventure

So, I wrote the other day about some great runs that I took in the middle of last week. Well, it turns out that they were just precursors to something even bigger and better. On Friday evening I got a call from Anders Brooker inviting me on a long trail run on Sunday morning. Here's my summary of the run.

Epic. Awesome. A couple of words that are used all too frequently too describe events and activities are more than likely to be ordinary, routine; or, even mundane. But, yesterday (Sunday, August 2nd) I was fortunate enough to take part in a truly epic trail run in the Bitterroot Mountains east of Superior. Leaving Plains at 6:00 a.m. with Tim Brooker, we met up with Anders Brooker (Tim’s son and the owner of Runner’s Edge in Missoula) and Casey Jermyn a little after 7:00 at the Fish Creek exit on I-90. (Interestingly enough, all four of us are current of former residents of the small town of Plains.) After about 30 minutes of driving, we arrived at the Clearwater Crossing campground just upstream of the Hole in the Wall Ranch.

At 8:00 sharp, we headed out up the North Fork of Fish Creek. Temperatures were perfect to start the run. High 50’s, no wind, clear skies. We knew that things would heat up later in the day; but, we were going to enjoy the conditions for as long as we could. The first 6 or 7 miles followed the creek and had nice, open trail conditions with a relatively slight grade. We traveled through old-growth larch and cedar groves seeing trees that were super tall and up to 5’ or 6’ in diameter. At that point we hit an old mining or logging camp and shortly thereafter began a several mile and 1,000+ foot climb up and over the MT-ID state line and into Goose Lake at approx. 5,800’ elevation. The climb featured several open meadows that were carpeted in wildflowers.

From Goose Lake, we began an arduous climb of about 1,700’ over the next couple of miles to the Stateline Trail along the ridge-line that separates Montana from Idaho. We then had about 5 or 6 miles that followed the ridge line across multiple peaks. The scenery was filled with wildflower and multiple alpine lakes. The cool breeze along the ridge made the temperatures pretty comfortable, in spite of the mid-day sunshine. The views from some of the peaks were endless, 360 degrees vistas of ranges far into both states. Truly spectacular. Part of the run also traversed the Great Burn of 1910. The bear grass was thick; but, what was super unique were the ghostly, bleached out snags that still remain standing almost 100 years after this devastating fire.

We then had a fairly steep descent into Fish Lake; and, unfortunately, some of the trail was a bit rugged and overgrown. But, after a couple of hours of dry, sunny, ridge-top running, we were happy to finally hit the West Fork of Fish Creek and pick up some water and some shade. Again, we had some terribly overgrown trail areas (the wild flowers and alpine willows were super thick). Our big surprise of the day came after about 24 miles when we suddenly came upon a section where the trail was clouded in dust and the bushes on both sides of the trails were shaking. We were pretty nervous thinking that we had come upon some bears. Rather, it turned out to be some wolves that had been spooked by an outfitter’s pack train that was heading up to Fish Lake. Not every day that you run into wolves on a trail run, even in Montana.

By this point, we’re into the run about 5 hours and fatigue, dehydration and hunger are all starting to kick in big time. We were at the point that coming back through the cedar and larch groves wasn’t nearly as exciting as on the way up. About another hour down the trail we come to a beautiful, wide spot in the creek with a natural swimming hole. We all dipped our water bottles (using a filter of course) and washed off our faces and drenched our hats. Tim and Anders thought a little dip was in order to cool off a bit. On the other hand, Casey and I figured that one of two things would happen if we hit the water: 1) We wouldn’t want to ever come out; or, 2) (and much more likely) our legs would stiffen into wooden stumps and we would be forever getting through the last 3 miles. So, we stayed on the bank and waited for the Brooker boys to finish up.

Then, it was a gentle down slope on a wide open trail for the last 25 minutes back to the car. 6 ½ hours run time (and 8 ½ hours total time) and 30 some miles later and we were back to the beginning. Yes, it was time to stick the forks in us because we were done and had all pretty much had our asses kicked. But, as Anders said, that was as much fun as you can have beating yourself to a pulp for almost 9 hours. Can’t really think of a better way to spend a Sunday. 3 friends, an open trail, scenic vistas and amazing landscapes. Epic. Awesome. These two words certainly were appropriate for the occasion.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard