Sunday, 11 March 2007

12 foot Track

Chapter 1 – Jenolan Caves to The Explorer Tree

In what most may regard as a reckless and pointless exercise, I decided to run a 12 foot yesterday. I had been accepted as the grim reaper, along with my mate Horrie and thought that it would be a good idea to get some steady miles in prior to the event. These extra miles all contribute to the training programme for the Western States 100 mile race in June.

In terms of gear. I carried a small bum bag with gel, a cdma phone, a uhf cb, a spray jacket, one hand bottle, a big boomer headlamp (and a small back up) and a small medical kit. I wore std running gear and trail shoes/gaiters.

I left Caves house at 2am, which gave me just under six hours to get to the start, easily doable in my current state. I managed to get 2hrs sleep and had some "breakfast" (a can of coke and a cup of coffee) before setting off.

As I set off from Caves House I made a loud COOOO EEEE sound (sorry if I awoke anyone). The rise out of Jenolan caves was magical, wallabies and inidentified animals were bounding around all over the place and I felt at one with the environment I was loving it. I was in front of schedule at the road crossing, where I had left a bottle of water the night before.

I arrived at the deviation ahead of schedule and went right where the big 6 foot track sign is. And ended up off course. Circumnavigating a pine forest. I got back to deviation and very very carefully decided to follow the sign again back to the pine forest and retraced my steps to deviation. I spent 10min checking maps and scouted again before getting back to deviation for the third time and realised that the track isn’t marked and I shoud go searching for a track that goes south east then east for 10.8km. At this point I almost returned to caves to pick up the bus leaving caves at 5:30am.

I finally found the track having wasted a lot of time and doing another 8.5km according to the garmin. So I decided not to go back, rather I should continue and push hard.

The trip from there was a bit of a blur. I just remember running into a few monster puddles on Black Range and gunning the pace. There were lots of RFS camps at the aid station locations and I did most of it without water because I only had one bottle. The temp was cool and I was feeling good.

The descent down pluvi and mini were brilliant canyon training for this year’s WS100. At Alum I came across a stranded four wheel drive with three semi sober guys who were out pig shooting and had got stuck, I didn’t hang about because their pig dogs were looking mean and doing lots of growlingand I arrived at the Cox’s river crossing with 1:30 before the start.

I lost more time while I bumbled around for a while in the darkness of the river shallows and decided to head upstream to the footbridge. The footbridge crossing was treacherous (now I see why the race uses the river).

The sun came up as I crossed the footbridge; it was nice to be working in daylight.

I was starting to tire and after numerous attempts in contacting people on my mobile I decided to press on. I had been without water for a good couple of hours by the time I got to Megalong road and the kind RFS team filled my handbottle. I stopped for 5min to recompose myself then proceeded to my halfway point.

It was great to see the Early Starters then Wave one come past me. It was a rare perspective to observe these runners in race mode. I even got some good luck’s from some of the runners. But most just said “hey mate you’re going the wrong way”.

I took it very very slow coming up a very slippery Nellies because waves two, three and four were coming down and I didn’t want to get in their way. So that took ages as I walked 3 metres stopped to let people past the scurried on the next few metres again.

What was wonderful was to view the whole race

I arrived at the start line at 9am. 53.5km in 7hrs on the Garmin and lots of hanging around. I was happy with that.

End of chapter one.


At 12 March 2007 at 6:47 am, Blogger undercover brother said...

cant wait for chapter 2!

At 13 March 2007 at 6:55 am, Blogger Mat said...

Good to meet you at Pat's this morning. I was wrong, I'd not read this post yet. Very well done. Can't wait for Chapter 2 either!


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