My last two Brazen races on Mt Diablo have been moist. REALLY moist. Ridiculously rainy and muddy. So I knew that the third time would be a charm and Sunday's Brazen Diablo Trail Adventure would be dry and pleasant.
And then a series of storms lined up off the coast, laughing at how naive I was. It rained on Thursday and another storm was primed to crash the party on Sunday, except it jumped the gun and ended up doing its thing Saturday night.
Sunday morning was sunny, if a bit cool, and glorious. The trails were a bit muddy in spots, but nothing like my last two visits here.
There were a LOT of trail running friends at this race, but the coolest was Ultra Woof's mother - Momma Woof! This was her first trail race (she is a power walker that has done numerous road events) and by all accounts, she had a blast! (Helping the blast a bit was her winning second in her age group - two medals! She's now hooked and is looking forward to whipping that turkey at Brazen Nitro Turkey.)
This is the first time I've worn calf sleeves, and judging by how dorky I look in the picture, it's obvious that they aren't there for style. I have a nasty habit of picking up poison oak whenever I come near a trail race in the East Bay, and my hope was that they would protect me a bit. (I'll know in a few days how that worked out.) Meanwhile, Not the Canadian (standing next to me) is explaining how cool it would be if Brooks came out with a line of high heel trail shoes.
This is probably 100 yards from the start line and I'm already in last place. And I think I had taken half a dozen pictures of the course by this point.
About a mile into the race was our first aid station, where Weird Haired Mom and about 30 other volunteers, rangers, and search and rescue people were keeping us all hydrated and fed.
This is easily one of the coolest pictures of me on a trail ever. You can see that I'm about to ford something just a bit smaller than the Mississippi River. I'm brave. I eat nails for breakfast.
Or maybe I'm just goofy. This is a picture just before that creek (those of you with excellent vision and a bit of imagination can see Esoj - not his real name - with a camera crouching behind a tree on the right). Esoj did an amazing job with that picture of Brave Notthat, but as you can see, it's actually quite easy to go around the tiny creek. Not that I can figure out why anyone would want to do that.
Shortly after braving the creek, there was a very nice uphill stretch of single-track trail. A fun thing is that I got a chance to see a lot of other runners at this point - the 10K people (who started well after us) had caught up to me.
The second aid station. It was novel to get to eat crunchy crackers, chips, and cookies after the last two races here.
As usual at these Mt Diablo races, there were a LOT of search and rescue people waiting for someone to do something stupid. They always got excited when they saw me coming, and I hated to disappoint them, but they all ended up being largely bored. (But dry!)
The third aid station. I was really tired by this point - the trail mostly just goes uphill (with a short downhill break early on) for the first 8.5 miles. Not long after passing through this aid station, the climbing is over.
One advantage of getting to the top are the stunning views you get to enjoy. (Another month or so and these hills will be startlingly green.)
There were a lot of small streams to cross, and I tried to stomp through all of them. Here, Ytsirhc (not nearly her real name) is sneaking up on me. Yes - hard as it is to believe, I had actually managed to get ahead of 3 or 4 people. (Most passed me well before the finish line.)
Eventually I made it to the finish line. And the BBQ (even as late as I was, there were burgers, sausages, and soup to go along with all the normal Brazen post race food).
There was some debate as to what kind of bird that's on the medal. I think turkey and flamingo were ruled out. Maybe pigeon too.
This was a great event. The Save Mount Diablo people help put it on and do an amazing job, not only supporting this race, but preserving and protecting this wonderful trail-infested area. There are a lot of great trails in the Bay Area, but it's hard to find any that are more fun or with better views.
Especially when it's not raining.
That's it - move along...
PS: You can see a lot more of my pictures (with snarky comments) here.