Sunday, February 8, 2009
The Wild Oak Trail, 2009
Twice a year in February and October, ultra legend Dennis Herr hosts a run around the Wild Oak Trail, affectionately known around these parts as TWOT. One loop of this sweet single track trail boasts about 8,000 feet of climb over 25 miles. Most runners opt for one loop and the parking lot party, while others go out for a second loop under the full moon. Some folks even attempt four loops, the TWOT 100.
This year was perfect for at least two loops, as temps were in the 60s during the day on Saturday and the sky was clear for the full moonlight.
Four runners, Emily Grossman, Mitchell Goodman, Mike Dobies and Andy Peterson went out on a second loop but only Mike, his friend Pat, and Andy finished the loop...that road crossing at 10 miles leading back to camp is just too seductive in the middle of the night!
I ran with Bobby Gill, John Cassilly, Marlin Yoder, and Marc Griffin for most of the morning until John and Marlin dropped us like a sack of potatoes climbing Big Bald. By that time, the fluffy snow of the morning that had been so fun to run in was now slushy, not-so-fun snow. Throw in the ridiculous climb up Big Bald, and you have a freaking hard climb. But hey, that's why we love TWOT so much---you get three long, hard climbs, a fabulous, runnable trail, and Dennis catering to our every whim, so it's hard to hate Big Bald for long.
I enjoyed running with Marc and Bobby. Marc and I tried to scare Bobby, who is running in the Beast series this year, with tales of Grindstone, which shares a lot of the TWOT course. As we were climbing Big Bald and going into anaerobic debt doing so, Bobby asked, "Does Grindstone-gasp-have climbs-gasp-as hard as-gasp-this one-gasp?" To which we replied in unison, "Yes, and harder." Silence.
Bobby, who just started running in 2008, was a good sport and took it all in stride, including creating his own ode to TWOT. In fact, there were a bunch of young (read: 20-something) runners out there, including the JMU mountain bike crowd, who came into the parking lot hooting and hollering "I had so much fun out there!" That's a pic of those young guns, below.
It's cool that a new generation has discovered what we've known for awhile---that the Wild Oak Trail is truly a special place and we are indebted to Dennis for introducing us to its beauty. Thanks, Dennis, for another memorable TWOT!
Here's the link to results
Here's the link to my pics.
Here's the link to Charlie's pics.