This trail adventure report is a bit different from all of my previous write ups. Here, I want to document my first effort as crew and pacer for a Bear 100 entrant and my new friend, Sam. We were put in touch by an old friend and colleague and interacted a bit over the phone and facebook in the months leading up to the race. Sam arrived the Sunday prior to The Bear to acclimate as well as get to know the area, and of course, one of her pacers (me).
We hit it off without a hitch and spent the week exploring sections of the course as well as eating good grub and eyeing the ominous weather forecast for the quickly approaching race weekend. We spent our first full day together touring the Leathum Hollow AS location (the first spot where crew would be able to see her), as well as driving up and over from the Left Hand Fork of Blacksmith Fork Canyon to Right Hand Fork (where we would also be able to see the Cowly and Right Hand Fork AS locations). This plan was derailed when we ran into a road block with two unmarked officers. After approaching them to inquire as to whether or not we could continue, we were informed of an active crime investigation. We would later find out that there had been an officer involved shooting further down the road.
We turned around and backtracked to the turn off for Temple Fork, which actually took us along the same paths as the runners until the turn off for the top of Ricks. The sun was setting and colors were amazing, however, we were on a mission to see what we could see as well as take a short run upon arriving to the Spawn Creek Trail Head (also the location of an aid station for the second half of the race).
Fast forward to Thursday morning when John, Sam's other pacer and friend from her neck of the woods arrived. We ate breakfast and made our way up to see the Right Hand Fork AS, Temple Fork, Spawn Creek, and lastly Tony Grove - all locations new to John that he would be maneuvering likely after dark during my leg of pacing Sam.
Here, we were scouting out the location of the Temple Fork AS (above).
Scouting the location of the Spawn Creek AS (above).
Taking in the lovely views at Tony Grove Lake, near the midway AS (soon to be much different conditions) (three photos above)
After much training and the final week of waiting, here were are at the 2016 Bear 100 start. Sam seemed calm, collected, and ready to embark on the adventure. The impending weather, course changes, and last minute needs didn't seem to cause her much visible anxiety. She checked in and we visited briefly with some local friends who had also hosted three Bear 100 runners.
Looking around, I was proud and amazed by this mob of athletes and the journey ahead of them. Many were familiar with the area and/or the course specifically, however, it was a new day and conditions would be different.
Short video capturing the Bear 100 start (above).
Slide show of my 2016 Bear 100 photos (above).
We arrived at the Tony Grove AS about 10 minutes or so after the 1:00 AM cutoff and it was time to withdraw from the race officially and retreat to the car, amidst the blizzard conditions.
You would think our adventure stopped there, however, due to poor planning on my part the car may or may not have had enough gas to get us back down canyon to Logan. Luckily, Logan has some amazing folks and I happen to be friends with a number of them. Thanks to Stan, one of the ham radio operators at the Spawn Creek AS, for so graciously loaning me his rig to haul Sam and John home and pick up gas for my rig. Thanks also, to Stan's partner on the ham radios, who went out of his way to even fill my rig once I had returned with a tank of gas. Such kind folks, despite the weather and the late hour.
What an adventure!
Sam and I, parting ways, until the adventure!