"Every time I get out, they keep pulling me back in." That's the line from the otherwise forgettable third Godfather movie that comes to me each time I go out for one of these fairly long trail runs. This is the winter I'm definitely not doing the Chuckanut 50K because as the top two pictures show, I've been having a great time riding the Fantom CX up and down the dirt roads surrounding Bellingam.
That's MC Awesome (AKA, Jim Robbins) in the top photo about to summit Cleator Road on his titanium road bike (an Airborne) which he'd hoped to turn into a pseudo-'cross bike by putting fat (28s) tires on it. He didn't quite have the lower gears that professional cyclocross model Glenn Gervais (other dude in the below photo) and I have on our compact-crank adorned 'cross bikes but Jim is tougher than nails. Cleator climbs 1,550 feet in 3.6 miles (minus a mostly flat mile in the middle) and he gutted it out. Made us darn proud.
So it's rides like this--and up Galbraith too--that I plan to occupy myself with this winter and to keep me from even having the slightest whim to run that damn Chuckanut 50K.
The above ride was Saturday. Sunday, I decided to tag along for just a bit with the Sunday running group. (See below, photo courtesy of Polly Favinger.) It was great to see everyone (even John Clark) on a beautiful morning and to run wild on those back trails to Lost Lake. I was surprised that I didn't feel more beat up from Saturday's ride; in fact, given how little I'm running right now (maybe twice a week) I was amazed how really good I felt. (I ran 1:47 with 2,100 feet elevation gain; they did the 3-plus hour Samish Loop with 4,100-foot gain.) Talk inevitably touched on the 50K and the possibility/likelihood of a route change. Though I tried to ignore it I found myself involuntarily intrigued, interested and mulling it over especially after I turned around at the Lost Lake sign and had a solo run back to my car.
That night I told MC Awesome about this potential quandry. His impression: "Who are you kiddin', McQuaide--you'll end up running it. You know it."