Monday, December 11, 2017

Race Review: One Epic Run 2017

I thought I'd left running in the snow behind. I thought I'd left running in sub-freezing temperatures behind. I thought I'd left all that Vermonty running nonsense behind...

There really is a certain beauty in snow.

Gahdamn, I've really become a pussy.

Also, I don't have a lot of pictures. Neither wifey or I have a quality picture taker yet.

Here's a little backstory on One Epic.

Heather and I ran this back in 2015. It was an excellent race then, and it was an excellent race this year too. Did I just Clif Note my race review?

We had signed up for the 2016 One Epic a long way back. But for some reason the Carolinas decided to catch on fire in the Fall on '16 and the race was cancelled. The air quality at the venue was bad enough that we could smell it four hours away in Myrtle Beach.

I heard some rumors the RD caught hell for cancelling the race. I say Kudos to the RD. I run in an attempt to avoid cancer. Running with shitty air quality not only lowers your performance, it's a god damn health hazard. Again, kudos.

So our rego was transferred to the 2017 Epic. Transferred with ZERO hassles I must add.

If you did bother to read my Epic '15 review, you may have put together that this race is at Croft State Park in Spartenburg, SC. Although absolutely worth it, it is a haul from Myrtle Beach. If you want any kind of climbing in your trail racing at all, you gotta drive to it. Or your buddy Paul with the kick ass mini-cargo van drives your broke ass to it.

Four of us made the drive up Friday morning, only to arrive in Spartenburg with it being around 34 degrees and snowing. Or was it raining? Or was it sleeting?
It was doing all the above. 
Persnicketying is the term my sister uses for this kind of weather. 
Persnickety: gross shit falling from the sky while it's cold and gloomy out. 

This was the ground Friday afternoon.

Since we got to the venue quite early, we went to get supplies. Supplies we don't normally need...Hand Warmer packets, rubber boots and a small space heater that would become our best friend this weekend.

I won't bore you with the detail of our tooling around town, it's irrelevant to this review anyway. 

Why are my hands sticky????

We set up camp in the Persnickity. I think I've a picture.

Not our particular site, but you get the idea.

Our particular site was Site#1, basically the first site when you pull into the campground. I was scheduled to share the site with my wife (duh), and six other people. It was a huge site, definitely big enough for 3-4 tents. And we were only a short walk to the Staging Area/Turn Around/Transition Area/Food Buffet/Porta-jons.
For ease of typing, we're gonna call this starting area the TA.

My buddy Paul really has the right idea with the mini-cargo. Damn was it cold. Four of us packed into the van to enjoy the space heater, watch Rocky Horror on the Ipad thingy and enjoy some quesadillas.

Yep, that's a propane tank and an open flame in the back of a mini.

Jesus, that doesn't pertain to the race at all. I'm sure you already figured out that we were cold.

One Epic starts at 9am. When it's that cold out, that 9am start is excellent. It gives you more time to stay in your nice warm sleeping bag with your nice warm wifey.

The race start area (remember "TA") has an Ez-up or two set up for the runners to stage their gear. So we bring our bins down and await the normal pre-race briefing etc. There's plenty of room for everyone's gear, but damn I shoulda brought down a folding chair.

The race briefing is pretty short and to the point. First a loop around the parking lot, then we've got a 3.1 mile lolly pop shaped course to run as many times as we can/want in 24hrs.  I think that's what the race brief was, I was distracted dealing with my stupid gear bin.

I stole this picture from the One Epic Run Ultrasignup page.

At 9am the horn goes off and a hundred thirty plus runners take off. (I later heard there were 50 something DNSs as the weather kept many people away. Some places nearby had 6 inches of snow on the ground.)

There had some kind of persnickety going on for a while and the trails reflected that. The initial descent from TA, even though covered in leaves, wasn't too bad.

Trail Head. The PG kind of Trail Head, you perv.

In fact for the first four or five laps the trails weren't too too bad.

I don't have picture of the bridge we crossed, but man, by the end of the day, the opposite side of the river crossing was a mess. Some kind soles later built a quick log crossing over the mud. Wait, I found a picture. I didn't take it, in fact I stole it from my friend Julie. Thanks Jules!!

The bridge itself was never too slippery.

The initial climb never got too bad either, even after 10hrs. But a couple of the descents got sh-sh-shitty. Slick as snot. 

Thank you Hannah! This is pretty great picture.

We had also heard that 30% of the trail was under water on Friday. Ugh. Fortunately that 30% went down to less than 5% on race day. There were very few standing puddles and the couple of water crossings were covered by bridges this year.

Thanks again Hannah!! Who dat in the far right?

Some of the above perhaps sounds pessimistic and criticizing?
Well it's not. This is what I signed up for. This is why I'm a Trail Runner. The trails are beautiful and challenging. The sloppy trails are just part of the experience. 

I've got some pretty sexy tights on.

And the mush obviously didn't impact all the folks that got the hundred...

Feels Vermonty!!

Alright I'm losing steam and I'm still rungry so let's wrap this up a bit.

This is a great race. 
The food at the TA is plenty and Ultra specific, they even go the extra mile with crockpots full of soup, etc.
The course is great. What seems easy at ten miles will probably kick you in the ass at mile twenty.
The environment is great. There's a large and friendly trail running community in the Upstate. (Heather and I are trying to weasel our way in.) 
The swag is great. You get a sticker and a quality cotton Hoody. (You'll probably end up wearing that at the event). 

Altra Torins are NOT included in the swag.

When you sign up for 2018 go prepared. Bring TONS of warm clothes, but you also should be prepared in case it is warm. If you're camping, make sure you have a quality tent or a mini-cargo van. Bring extra shoes or galoshes and a garbage bag to put them in after the run.

But mostly be prepared for great company and good times. Grab a plate of food then go kick it by the roaring bonfire and shoot the shit with some fellow trail runners.

Thanks for reading.

Bonus picture!! Hoody with a bunny!

I may have broken a toe.

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