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Triennial IX was successfully run on Saturday 24-September-2005. Conditions were perfect: temperatures about 6 C at the start, rising to 21 C during the day, gorgeous blue sky. The trail and most creek crossings were bone dry following an exceptionally hot and dry summer, making for fast times. Foliage was abundant; this and the bright sun made it imperative to pay close attention to the well-marked trail.
At the request of the team captains, we re-calculated the scores for a combined HNAC team ("one envelope" policy) with the slowest-runner rule (see entry form): this is 11 + 7 + 14 + 10 + 6 + 3 + 8 = 59 points, tied with I.G. CIME. Have your cake or eat it too...
Alternate Reality HNAC
In some parallel universe where people are reduced to tidbits (tiny morsels to be consumed by Illegal Space Aliens) the combined HNAC would be able to score their fastest runner... in that universe they would have had 12 points... but in that universe no light can escape from black holes so the information would be lost forever...
Adjusted Scores -1 point for each previous Triennial, president of FLRC, lactation etc. ... still to be posted but Atrocious has -37 points (Adjusted score 5), Mad Dogs -2 (Adjusted score 30), so draw your own conclusions
It was awfully nice of the FLRC to include Triennial IX in their official race calendar, thereby taking an insane insurance risk. We (I speak now of the Triennial Central Committee, meeting in my bathtub as per usual) handle this risk by carefully screening teams for a healthy balance of insanity and sense of humor. Also, we thank you for the use of FLRC equipment (namely five water tubs, five clipboards, 30 cups, and 12 result sheets), although that involved a trip to Irish Hill and a close encounter with Joe Reynolds. Anyway, I feel we owe the FLRC a brief race report.
It was gratifying to see that so many people had grasped the Spirit of the Triennial, although certainly the postcard-perfect weather helped. Many had prerun their sections of trail, almost all were ready to rumble, and the action in the woods was fast and furious. Or in my case not so fast, but certainly furious. We have to thank the Finger Lakes Trail Conference (although they don't know it) and all the trail maintenance volunteers, especially Joe Dabes who is now in charge of detailed trail mapping with GPS for the whole FLT -- finally we have accurate mileage (n.b. that does not include lifting your feet over downed logs or "roots"—actually limbs of the ground-dwelling "Trail Monster" that defend the trail against fast running).
The Triennial is a foot race. It is not a charity event. It is not a fun run (but of course it's fun blowing your competition away! and especially satisfying if you've gotten everything you can out of your feeble running ability). We saw some hard-core racing. I can't get out of my head the image of Charity McManaman in her long skirt desperately (and successfully) holding off Cindy Gretsinger on the brutal downhill of Star Stanton Road at the finish of stage 7, or Mike Wunsch with his head down charging out of Shindagin Hollow in (futile) pursuit of Alan Evans on stage 6 or of David Weiss snorting down Texas Hollow road on stage 1 like some enraged bull as he toasted the faster guys who hadn't learned what "trail is marked by white blazes" means, or (unfortunately) of John Basal and Jim McCutcheon blowing by me on Comfort Road late in stage 4 like I was standing still.
It was gratifying to have so many veterans who wouldn't pass up Triennial for their daughter's wedding (or even their own). The Bottom Feeders came from San Diego, Miami, etc., just for this race. Mighty Isis (the cat) wouldn't let Mama Isis (Tessa Bauer) rest until these feared fast feminist fatales were registered and ready to go. Skull is continuing the obscene names seemingly in perpetuity—as Spider notes, they, having TIUTALAM so that MABLIMFNIP, discovered that they had GCITEs. High Noon (HNAC) seems to be taking this thing seriously—so seriously that they spoofed the Triennial website (and my Atrocious HTML style), surely a first for competitive trail running! The Noospherians set a standard for cool names—thanks Gail! And thanks to Katie for proving that the Triennial is as American as Motherhood as she burned up Burnt Hill.
It's not too early to start your three-year training cycle for Triennial X in 2008. Springtime, summer, or fall? All you've got to do is call… Eastbound, westbound, inbound, outbound? Six or seven stages? Sugar Hill, Watkins, Burdett? To Caroline, Harford, Virgil? All is up for discussion. Your suggestions are welcome.
Well, it's back to the Netherlands for me, back to Merrie England for LeRoy, back to DC for Spider, Sh'Tara, and QUON, back to Beantown for Rick (a most Atrocious addition to our team), back to the left fringe for Herb, and back to... what does he do anyway? for Joe Daley. See you in 2008.
"Glad to see that at the moment, the 'complete results' are in the preliminary stages as there is much to be corrected.
"Let's start with stage 1. I believe that the team member for IG CIME should be moved ahead of the others who got lost on the stage. He is the only one with a perfectly legitimate reason for getting off trail: He did, after all, havel something 'in his eye'. But especially at his ripe young age, this could be quite a problem. You, being on Atrocious (translation: you're old), may not appreciate this, as I doubt any member of your team has had this problem for quite some years. (well, maybe Mini-me?) (editor's note -- you're right, I don't get anything in my eye, I put things where they belong ) So, this is minus 7 for IG CIME.
"Stage 2. Obviously my pick for leg of the day. What with Spider, Skull, and Buck Nakeed out there, this leg had the most people NOT hiding behind their birth certificates.
"On this subject, you unintentionally hid one more person on this leg (as well as one on leg 5) from the IRS, NSA, etc. For the North Mountain Clansmen, they had 3 brothers running, but you only got the last name correct on leg 7. I know these bastards well: cheating, stealing, boozing, and want their true identities revealed!! (editor's note -- sometimes a man has a good reason for wanting to start a new life... but next time they'll have to give trail names. I admire their audacity, they ran well and, most importantly, toasted HNAC so the race committee will not DQ them!)
"Stage 4. Where to begin? Speaking of true identities, the winner of the leg. I basically think the North Mountain Clansmen should just be completely disqualified from the triennial. I think in future triennials, teams should be held to the team members, and legs, they put down on their application. Heck, why not just institute this rule for this year. See, the REAL Scott Weiler is unabashedly taking credit for his 'accomplishment'. I don't even know what his pathetic reason for not showing up was. Perhaps he didn't like the fact that he had to run up Lick Brook, while he would have much rather have kayaked up it. He is a manly man. Yes, there is a 200 foot waterfall. He would have actually tried this anyway. His replacement, to remain un-named (but was originally listed on leg 1), at least only took the handicap he deserved, and not the amount the real Scott Weiler would have gotten.
"Now to IG CIME. Their runner certainly also had something in his eye. But in this case, it was the elbow of the runner who "finished" 1 sec in front of him about 20 yards from the finish. Please subtract 1 more point for IG CIME.
"Note: You can tell just how honest I really am. I didn't come close to trying to get my team into first. I know this would be pointless, as now matter how much crap I can make up, Atrocious will still be the champs." (editor's note -- does anyone besides me detect a non-sequitur here?)
"First, THANKS to the Atrocious leadership for their 11th hour call. This is the only trail race I like, and I like it a lot. I just love team events, which is why I've done four triennials, two cross state relays and an around Lake Winnipesaukee in the last couple of decades; and it's much of the allure of XC. Thanks also to my son Frank for watching his little brother Eddie while I was running, and to Eddie for putting up beautifully with the long car ride to Central NY.
"Now, great moments:
"I absolutely would have skipped the little Rumsey Hill loop if there weren't three carloads of people watching there.
-"One of those people watching was Karen Grover, who asked me a very funny question for mid-race. As I jogged by she said, "Are you in good shape?" by which she meant, "Do you want anything to eat?" or "Are you injured, or is your stride always that bad?" or "Have you been bitten by a rabid raccoon?" or something local. I, however, took it quite literally and I stopped, and said "NO! Since when have I ever been in good shape? Wouldn't I have to train for that? Training is too hard."
-"It was really fun watching Jeff 'Fractal Path' Juran disappear and reappear in front of me every 15 minutes for the first hour. It was no fun at all when he passed me with 100 meters to go when I thought he was 20 minutes ahead of me. I'm quite certain that he hid behind some trees and did that on purpose. I had ignored Satchel Paige's wise advice and looked behind me frequently in the last half hour of my 2.5 hour leg, just trying to make sure that I didn't crash.
-"It was strange to finish a tri leg with dry feet and no blood showing.
-"A related fashion note: I wore my longest shorts, quite stylish in these days. Shortly after seeing Herb on Porter Hill, I hit a pricker branch that caught and stretched them a little, but didn't rip them. I couldn't help thinking that John Saylor would have been bleeding quite a bit from then on.
"Finally, some historical perspective. By combining TWO, count 'em TWO, squads of pawns, the current crop of High Nooners scored 12 points in seven legs. Impressive? To the novice, perhaps. But look back at the 1996 race when the Green Goons of High Noon scored only 8 points in six legs! And that was with one runner per leg! And we got up that morning, milked the cows and tended to our chores before we drove ox-carts to the start of our legs. Nowadays? Hah! High Noon insists on having goodbye runs for people I haven't even met yet instead of getting out there and training.
"That's why when offered the chance to sign on with the multi-champion Atrocious team, I jumped at the chance. Imagine if the learned and wise team leaders had put in a weight handicap as well as gender and age; why I'd have gotten to start Leg 3 in late August."
"It was still quite cool on top of Connecticut Hill for my 10:00AM start of stage 3 of my first triennial; perfect weather for a trail race. After watching Tim Ingall, Jeff Juran, and several others who have no need for a head start leave before me and the 3 other 10:00AM starters, I took off. As I left the start I noted that, though there were supposed to be 4 of us, there were only 3. Being one of the slower runners, I let the others get in front of me for the beginning of the race. After about 15 seconds I heard some shouting coming from the road behind me, and then almost immediately, the 4th 10 o'clock starter (Ian Webber) was on my heals. Ian and I ran together for a while, zipping past a BottomFeeder (Matt) on our way down the first hill (This is an event that is becoming common for me as I gain more trail racing experience; no words were exchanged, no request to pass was made, but as I came upon the runner ahead of me on the steep downhill trail, he stepped to the side. I guess I am loud going down hills). After a couple of miles Ian got tired of my plodding pace on a flat stretch and passed me like I was standing still.
"Having prerun my stage and studied the map thoroughly (the race is to prepare) I had stored away in my brain what I needed to do at each road crossing, as in my prerun of my stage this is where I had the most difficulty keeping track of the trail. This strategy did not pay off; as I came out onto Cayutaville road, I thought I was on Griffin road; I turned right immediately, rather than looking several yards to my left for the trail. Fortunately I realized that there were no blazes on the side of the road, and it looked unfamiliar rather quickly, and my little detour only cost me about 3 minutes. This was the only time I got off trail, though I did have to slow down at a few double blazes to see where the trail was later in the stage. Shortly after getting back on the trail and into the woods, I came across a wounded Josh Cross, I quickly determined that he was in need of a ride and that BottomFeeder Matt had gotten in front of me during my off trail excursion. I caught up to Matt on the long road section as Tessa was driving by looking for Josh. After giving Tessa directions to Josh, Matt and I ran together until we entered the woods again for the first loop off of Rumsey Hill road, where I slowly pulled away from him. I might not have been able to do this had June not cleared the spider webs for me :).
"Coming back out onto Rumsey Hill road again, I caught sight of June. It took me until the beginning of the down hill chunk of the second Rumsey Hill loop to catch her. June was apparently having a wonderful race. I had run with her on multiple occasions, and I was surprised to see her having little difficulty keeping up with me until the steep part of the Porter Hill road climb. This is where I had stashed Gatorade; I took a moment to swap 2 empty bottles from my fuel belt for 2 fresh ones, and off I went down the hill. I would be a pleasant, solitary trip through the woods from here to Treman. I believe it was somewhere along this part of the trail that I saw the enormous mushroom that Jeff Juran mentioned in his post race recollections. It was on the side of a large tree that had fallen next to/above and across the trail and must have had a radius of 8 inches or more.
"Somewhere near the short bridge in Treman I caught up to a Noospherian runner. We ran together briefly before I went ahead of her down a hill. It was not long after this that I heard voices behind me. Looking back I saw Jeff Juran (?!?) talking to the Noospherian. I was quite shocked to see this, since Jeff had a head start on me, and is much faster than I am. It was not long before he passed me. By now I could taste the finish. I was on a very familiar section of trail, I knew very well what obstacles I had to overcome from here on in, and I could hear the cars on rte 13/96/34. As came to the last steep downhill section, I turned on the gas, knowing that I only had a quarter mile or so to go. If I had known then what I know now, I would have picked up the pace a little sooner. It turns out that I was only 17 seconds behind Ian at the finish; I hadn't seen any sign of him for more than 10 miles!
"I have to say that my first Triennial will not be my last, it was a great day."
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Last modified: Sun Aug 24 16:04:07 EDT 2014