Monday, February 18, 2008

Orcas Island Race Report

Let me start by saying: I love the Pacific Northwest! Good people and good times are always the backbone of a great race. So, a big Thank-you to Race Director James and his lady Alison for putting together a great weekend!

After a relaxing drive from the Vancouver Airport and a beautiful ferry ride across to the island, I was feeling pretty happy to be back on Orcas Island on a clear and sunny day!! I checked in, got myself settled in the five-star camping at Camp Moran....and blast up to Mount Constitution for sunset.

As I was saying....good people and good times the backbone for a great race....and it helps when you have mother nature to provide you with some sweet trails and some perfect weather. Despite a course make-over due to snow on Mount Constitution, the new and improved course was so great. I LOVED THIS COURSE!

As well as the sweetest course, this race was just the coolest little event and loads of fun. Where else could $40 bucks buy you: 2 nights accommodation with other smelly ultra runners, an AMAZING course, the yummiest apres-race food , BEER (and not the crappy stuff, love the Fish Tale Organic brews.....), massages AND a blue grass band!! Very cool.

Camp Moran is pretty special!

This course had all of my favorite things: lots of up and down on beautiful rolling singletrack, lots of challenging climbs and thigh pounding descents and fantastic scenery! I had a big smile on running this course: how could you not running through the woods on Orcas Island? The forest is magical: a green carpet of mosses, ferns and huge trees. Throw in some sparkling lakes, cascading waterfalls and outrageous views of the islands and you get the picture. Maybe the SUNSHINE interfered with my ability to be non-judgemental, but this course was a pleasure.

My race went great, I was having loads of fun and I was so busy snapping pictures and checking out the scenery that before I knew it I had completed one 25k loop. I had lots of people to visit on the first lap, but on the second lap found myself largely alone and chasing down the backside of some girl who I never got to meet.....but I enjoyed the chase! It was my first time on a loop course and though initially I had dreaded the idea of 2 loops of repetition, the opposite actually occurred. I found myself chasing down the next landmark and looking forward to what was around the next turn. We got to circumnavigate Cascade Lake and Mountain Lake, scramble up a sweet little climb as well as enjoying the ups and downs through the many-shades-of-green forest. There was a "secret loop" up Mount Pickett where we emerged from the trees on a mossy slope with incredible views....a nice reward at the top of the climb.

And there was the hippee shack....a poly-tarped home made "cabin" with a sweet deck and wood smoke thick in the air. One of my roomates Francis spotted a couple of naked hippees enjoying a wood fed hot-tub and a great view! I had flashbacks of my last visit to Orcas with Jen Silverthorn after we ran the Chuckanut last year: we met an ancient naked hippee at the "spa" at the Doe Bay Resort who enchanted us with his naked yoga and fabulous flexibility. He did the "plow pose" and I swear he had a ball in each eye. Hee-hee. Ah! Good times.....but I digress.

I slowed down a wee bit on lap #2 but crossed the finish line feeling good and smiling! I crossed the finish line with my roomate Arthur and we decided to go straight to the lake for a leg soak. I swear by the cold water therapy although it is tortuous! We almost managed to stand in there for 10 minutes before my lips turned blue. Glen got a great photo of us: ch-ch-chilly!

The post race celebration was great, the food was DELISH and plentifull.....and there was a KEG and a blue-grass band. Hee-hee. If this is normal in the Pacific Northwest, I want guys do it up right!! It is always great fun to get to visit new places and meet new faces, and run some new trails. So thanks ALL! It was a pleasure seeing some familiar faces from last year and getting to know some new friends.

The next day I had lots of time to make my way back to the Vancouver Airport for my flight out. I did "Leslie's Tour of Naps" and went to 3 different pretty places and napped in the sunshine. Now that is a good day to end a fine weekend.

The Pacific NorthWest a great place to run and nap in pretty places! Here are a few pics of my great nap spots the day after the 50k run.....mmmm. nap.

Nap #1 - Chuckanut Drive

Nap#2 - Near Bellingham

Nap #3 Larrabee State Park


Backofpack said...

Hey Leslie! It was a great day wasn't it? I loved it. Eric and I both grew up in Whatcom County - your nap tour took place in some of my favorite places! We made sure our boys grew up knowing Chuckanut and Larrabee as a couple of the most splendid places on Earth. Thanks for sharing.

Journey to a Centum said...

It will probably cause an international incident but I can't help but call you nappy headed trail trash. You run a 50K on Orcas, drink all the Fish Tale Beer, and then go sleep around near Bellingham. My god woman, have you no decency? :-)

Sounds like you had a fabulous time and made the most of your trip. Great photos!

Take care!
Trail Scat

Mike said...

Wow Leslie, Great race report!
Sounds like you used Phil's method of post-race re-hydration :)
I don't know if a 50km is supposed to be THAT much fun though. I guess we should all chip in and buy a keg for Blackfoot...

Anonymous said...

hi leslie! it was fun meeting you and i'm glad the weather decided to cooperate for the race! although with your personality i'd imagine you'd make the best of it no matter what. i hope our paths cross again sometime.

Laura H said...

Hey Leslie -

I stumbled upon your blog through Eric's. Great race report!! It was indeed an awesome weekend - I didn't want it to end. I love your nap spots too! It was good meeting you; see you on the trail!

Leslie said...

Nappy headed trail trash? Hey - thanks for the compliment!

Leslie said...

Hi Glen! Thanks for the pretty I've got to try some of those good lookin' recipes!

Leslie said...

Hey Michelle - it was a pleasure meeting you and your crew. You do live in paradise! Make sure to keep in touch and you will see that I also live in paradise when you come for Death Race Weekend! Off for a nap....

Leslie said...

Hey Laura! You can share my coffee anytime!