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19-May, Sunday, 20 starters & finishers
East to West; Caroline (Rt. 79) to Watkins Glen State Park (lower entrance)
Catherine the Great: Regis Carver
Christopher Columbus: Reinhold Wotawa
Andrew Carnegie: T.J. Pempel, Larry Prud'Homme
We just repeated the successful formula of the first edition, but let teams form by themselves. Some stage boundaries were adjusted. The Caroline leg was extended about 2 miles to Coddington Road, so that the South Danby leg began with the brutal ascent of Eastman Hill. The Lick Brook/Enfield leg was extended about 1 mile to Porter Hill Road, so that the Connecticut Hill section began with the ascent to Riemann Woods (do you detect a pattern here?).
Caleb Rossiter writes:
On Leg 4 (Connecticut Hill), Larry Prud'homme, who could beat me by several minutes over 10k, decided he didn't need to pre-run his section of trail, because he could just hang on my coat-tails until the finish was in sight (in modern terms, we would say he was dissing me big-time). Off we went up to Riemann's Woods. Harold Schultz got in front of him, slowed down a little, they missed a blaze, and I was off like a shot, beating them by fifteen minutes (not to mention that they ran on the roads instead of the trail whenever possible...). It was a hot day and the leaves were still not really out... they suffered, they suffered...
Second Triennial, 1984: Memoirs of an Atrocious Runner (Spider Rossiter, Leg 3: Jennings Pond, Danby, to somewhere past Upper Treman Park)
In the second Triennial, we again went east to west, and the competition again was intense. I was 32, on a leg with T.J. (Torn Jock) Pempel, who was an ancient guy, probably over 40, but still plenty tough, and some younger High Noon oxygen junkies. I was unaware of their caliber, since I'd been living in Washington, DC, for the three previous years. One may have been Jim Booker, keeping up the family tradition of his running parents, Jack and Barb. I'd say there were about 6 of us who took off from the Comfort Road start, fully inspired by the dedication of the lovely Donna, colleague of the Dump Truck, who had prepared a giant race board that she filled in at the end of each leg, showing accumulated time for the teams. What we did to deserve this totally cool and professional race board, I don't know. We need it again!
I found out in a hurry that I was with a serious group: I had to run full tilt along the truck roads and hedge-trails on top of Danby Hill for the five miles or so to the top of Lick Brook, just to stay near everybody. Descending Lick Brook in a pack, I made a rookie mistake: put my foot on a fat, wet log, and before I knew it I was flying horizontally down Lick Brook, passing in the air the startled runner ahead of me, then smashed down on my back in the bushes, but returned to the hot pursuit.
At the bottom, crossing Rt. 13, a few runners began to pull away from me and TJ, but within a mile we were the leaders, since we simply laughed and watched them a quarter mile ahead as they stuck to the truck trail as it went up a steep hill, and missed the blazes that go around a pond and up a tiny foot-trail. (THE RACE IS TO THE PREPARED: THERE IS NOTHING IN THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS ABOUT HELPING YOUR ENEMY IF HE HASN'T PREPARED!)
Halfway up our own hill, though, TJ pulled away, leaving me the same whimpering mess I was in Triennial I with the same five miles to go. But I kept on through upper Treman, and watched TJ miss a right turn into the woods a half mile ahead of me on a long, straight road. (THE RACE IS TO THE PREPARED: THERE IS NOTHING IN THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS ABOUT HELPING YOUR ENEMY IF HE HASN'T PREPARED!) After a mile jaunt through the woods, I came out near a bridge, crossed it and headed up a road toward what I knew was the final two miles of trail.
And here came one of those Triennial Moments: the three fast guys who I'd last seen in lower Treman came running down the road toward me, from the wrong direction! Somehow they had run a huge square around the trail, missing it at least four times as it veered across roads. I just kept on running, straight at and past them, and didn't say a word or give them a wave. (ONE LAST TIME, ALL TOGETHER NOW: THE RACE IS TO THE PREPARED: THERE IS NOTHING IN THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS ABOUT HELPING YOUR ENEMY IF HE HASN'T PREPARED!). They were so excited to have finally found the trail that they decided not to follow me. Of course, they were following the trail back to Jennings Pond.
Anyway, as probably the weakest runner in the field, I somehow stumbled out of the trail onto the road at the finish in first place, led the last mile by an excited Cliff Balkam, my teammate from DC Harriers and Atrocious, who was warming up for his leg. Cliff ran the last leg. This was the year of Regis Carver's Katherine the Great performance, and I can never forget the fearsome sight of Regis and Cliff gasping, faces set in stone, hammering out of the woods and across Rt. 79 at the top of Watkins Hill, on the way to the uphill part of Excelsior Glen.
I think Atrocious won this race, because of our superior preparation, and I think that this is what caused the other teams, especially those High Noon youngsters, to start scouting the trail in the succeeding Triennials since then, it's been hard to win anything!
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Last modified: Sat Aug 23 12:31:54 EDT 2014