Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bad Bass not acting all that badly

Brazen's Bad Bass race is generally the same weekend as the Wharf to Wharf race, so for the past few years we have run the 10K at Bad Bass to save something for Wharf to Wharf. This year was a bit different - Mrs Notthat was still not healed enough to be running any kind of a race, let alone back-to-back races, so she skipped Bad Bass completely and promised to walk the Wharf to Wharf race.

So I decided I would walk the Wharf to Wharf with her and not worry about saving myself for that, and instead go for the Half at Bad Bass. A bonus was that it would get me one step closer to qualifying for the Brazen Ultra Half Challenge. At least I think that's a bonus.

Bad Bass is a very popular race. It has a mix of pavement, fire roads, single-track trail, and hills that are challenging, but not deadly. An attractive thing is that the Half runners get to run all the way around Lake Chabot (or Loch Chabot as it is named for this race).

One odd thing about this race is that the park does not allow amplified music or PA systems. So, for reasons that are likely not even clear to Mr Brazen, this race is blessed with bagpipes. (Look, it could have been an all accordion band, so don't roll your eyes.) And if you're going to have bagpipes, you need to have kilts, and this race has WAY more than its share of kilt-wearing runners.

A gaggle of Nguyens.

We started by heading along the edge of the lake for a bit. This is on pavement and has some mildly rolling hills.

The first aid station is at mile 1.7 - the 5K turnaround. This is where the pavement ends and the fun begins.

Just past that aid station, the Half runners take a right and start heading up our warmup hill. (The 10K runners skip the warmup hill and head straight for the Hill of Death.)

After looping around the warmup hill, we joined up with the 10K runners and made a dash to the Hill of Death.

But first, you had to survive the Bridge of Death. (The woman behind me was giggling at the bounciness. I wanted to turn and yell "don't you know that this bridge is one bounce from total collapse and sure death???" But I was too busy focussing on survival.)

If you managed to survive the bridge, you got to turn right and take on the Live Oak Hill trail.

There is not a lot of sprinting up this hill. As a bonus, it has several cruel false summits. An advantage for Half runners (well, at least for me) is that we don't have to come back down this hill. The 10K runners do though.

Climbing as far as the eye can see.

Eventually, you make it to the top of the hill, to the second aid station (mile 4.34). There was a cutoff here, but I beat it by about an hour. (Yeah, I can hardly believe it either.)

Once you leave that aid station, you are on trails that only the Half course uses, which means things get a lot less crowded. You also get to spend a lot of time wandering through the trees, which is very cool.

Well, it's very cool until you hear the gunfire. There's a firing range that we passed really close to but couldn't see. It's a bit unnerving, although I'm used to it after having had to pass by it many times before.

The third aid station is at mile 8.7, and also had a cutoff (which I beat by about 50 minutes). From here there are a few small climbs, but we mostly go downhill back to the lake.

In the winter, the Brazen NYE and NYD races around this lake are not allowed to turn left here on to the pulse-quickening single-track Columbine trail, and instead you have to stay on the relatively boring Goldenrod trail. So it had been a while since I'd made this left, and I was really looking forward to it.

Parts of the trail are steep, root-infested, and scary, but most of it is like this - just plain awesome.

Shortly after that trail we ended up back on the main fire road that runs along the lake. Lots of rolling hills from here to the finish, but all the hard stuff is done.

The fourth aid station, mile 12, has no cutoff since you are so near to the finish. By this time we are also back on pavement.

The finish area - make a left and circle around to the arch. It's all good.

It's hard to imagine a fiercer looking kilt-wearing bass.
This race is always a blast. (Quite literally a blast up around mile 6.) The conditions were perfect and I managed to finish reasonably close to my goal.

Even more amazing, Mrs Notthat kept to her promise and we successfully walked the Wharf to Wharf race the next day. (Which was a completely different kind of blast. Click here to see my pictures from that event.)

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures from the Bad Bass race here.

1 comment:

mary ann said...

Not interested in the hill of death but the prizes are very cool...