Glenn took Struth and I on a very detailed WR training run. He has lots of experience with running White River and running ultras in general and has been a huge help to me in preparing myself for the WR run physically and mentally. Thanks Glenn! Struth thanks him too because not only does Struth get to go on all these runs, but Glenn brings lots of biscuits for Struth. Plus Glenn always throws the stick for Struth. We started off running the last 6 miles of the course which follow the White River. It was gorgeous. The river was running fast. the air was moist and dewy and the trees where huge. It was much different from running at Tiger for all these reasons. I commented to Glenn that it was a nice change to run somewhere besides Tiger not only for the change of scenery but also because we didn't have to start off going up Nook and Section line. These 6 miles, which are the last 6 miles of the race, were mostly flat with some rolling hills and came very close to the rivers edge.
As always, it is amazing to see how the seasons effect the landscape. It was a very snowy winter with some wind storms and with that, change in nature that randomly and naturally occurs and what ultimately drives life-cycles. I suppose that's why we call it "nature" because it's so natural. There were a lot of big trees that had fallen and a lot of washed out areas for the trail. Truly beautiful and cleansing to see such change. We continued the 6 miles to the campground and stopped to put on bug spray. I thought it'd be too early for mosquito's, but I was wrong, not only were they out, but there were hungry bloodsuckers. This is another example of why it's good to go with Glenn, he was prepared for bugs and had some spray. From the campground we headed up the 8+ mile climb to Suntop. This is the second climb of the the course but Glenn thought it's be a good idea to do this loop first and save the second for next week because there would be less snow. So we headed up though varied terrain. We passed a lot of streams that were quite raging and at one point, had to get our feet submerged. Good thing I had my drymax socks on....the cold water felt so good on my feet that it gave me a boost to keep going, not that I was tapped out or anything quite yet, but it was so refreshing to have my feet submerged in glacier water. So up we continued amongst beargrass and paintbrush and various scat. It was cold and sprinkled rain at times so we did not have a view of Rainer, but the clean air felt so good in my lungs and on my face and I hope that during the race the views are out because I have a feeling I might need some inspiration at times. Not knowing yet how the first climb will be, this climb seemed pretty challenging. There was still some snow that was hard packed and of course, every time we ran into a patch, Struth was sure to roll around and Glenn and I were sure to throw snowballs at each other. He got me right on the back of the neck and it actually was refreshing..... Anyway, we got out of the tress and past the road and climbed the last mile to Suntop. I can hardly wait for a clear day because I am sure the views are amazing. The final mile of the climb really opens up. There were lots of beargrass and arrays of flowers to see. At the top here, it is mile 37 of the race course and there are 7 miles of downhill on a logging road followed by the 6 miles following the stream which is what we did earlier. I am glad to know what's in store for me after mile 37. At the top, the lookout station had some people in it that were spending the weekend there on fire-watch. Although the fire danger level is nil, they still got to stay up there for the whole weekend. How cool! They invited us in, but we didn't stay that long up there as it was getting a bit cold. But we made it up and bagged the peak!
Then we headed down the logging road until we got to the car. Ugh, logging road....it feels so jarring on the body....but it's better than a regular road. We ran into some mountain bikers who say the same thing, the logging roads are the toughest and the trails are where it's at. I gotta say that I am amazed by these mountain bikers, it can't be easy getting up these mountains on a bike, but it is something I want to try. At least try again. I've done some mountain biking, but my bike is so outdated that I don't know if it would handle the trails any longer. My old bike now travels to and from work and occasionally the grocery store. These destinations are less than 2 miles from my home. I think my old gray mare like these short rides. So, Glenn, Struth and I get back to the car and Struth is ready for the car and his back seat bed. Glenn and I soak 20 minutes in the river for recovery. Let me say that it was way colder than an ice bath but in the end, I have to say that I am so glad that we did that.....it was refreshing and healing! Next week, we do the first 25 miles and I am looking forward to it. All these photos were taken by none other than Glenn Tachiyama.