Kent and Inge promised to make lunch for anyone who showed up at the second annual Bear Ridge Time Trial in Fall City, and that was enough incentive to get six of us to the start line on a seriously raining Saturday morning.
I had told Kent I was torn between the fun of trying something completely new and different -- two-mile uphill sprint! -- and the humiliation of finishing so far behind everyone, but he assured me that humiliation was reserved for those who didn't show up. So I said, "Fun wins!" and tossed my shoes and a bag of varying weights of wool tops and hats in the car and drove to Fall City.
I parked at Kent's house and walked/jogged the one mile to the starting gate, where I found Kent, Inge, Rune, Vesa, and Brian. We started right on time because Rune and Brian had tight Saturday schedules. Kent, Inge, Rune, and Brian were off in a flash, quickly disappearing around the first corner. Vesa waited until they were out of sight before he turned on the chase mode and headed after them. That meant, very quickly, I was all by myself on the trail, in a heavy rain that bordered on a little bit chilly, just the way I like it.
Kent had advertised it as two miles, 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and I had envisioned a steady slope, like running up Tiger. But it was way more interesting and fun than that: steeper uphills, flatter uphills, flats, one long downhill, followed by one long uphill to the finish, at the top of the ridge. The trail started out as an abandoned dirt road, but soon turned into overgrown double track and single track, the growth heavy with rain. It was an awesome trail to run on (and for me, to hike the steeper parts)!
It seemed like no time at all before everyone was coming back down the trail, heading for warm cars and dry clothes. Kent, in his quietly awesome way, turned right around and hiked and jogged back up the trail with me. That was cool, because he could warn me when I was almost at the top so I could break into my shuffling "sprint" to the finish. Done! My goal was to break 45 minutes, and I did it in 39:15, so even though I was dead last, as I expected, I felt like a rock star.
So Kent and I jogged back down in the rain, having a super fun conversation about cougars and bears and kids and jobs. At the bottom, we piled our wet muddy selves into his car and headed for home.
Inge had laid out a fantastic welcoming spread for the wet and hungry runners who had time to stay: home-made chili and warm crusty bread, cheeses and grapes and crackers, hot tea and coffee. We lingered over lunch and talked about lots of things while the rain dripped outside, then finally broke and headed for home.
Real-time results: Kent won, in 17:58, with Inge 11 seconds behind, Rune less than a minute behind her, Vesa a little over a minute behind him, and Brian five seconds behind Vesa. In the age and gender adjusted results, Kent's time dropped to 15:20, Inge moved up to three seconds behind, Rune was a little over a minute behind that, Brian moved ahead of Vesa by about 40 seconds, and my adjusted time was 26:35. I'll take it!
What a fantastic fun day -- thanks, Kent and Inge!