by Kevin Robinson
The Bradbury 6 mile Scuffle (measured 6.21 by my zigzag running) put on by Monster Trail Racers was fantastic. The trails were full of twists and turns, roots, rocks, hills, wooden bridges. Just about everything you would think to see running in the woods. On top of that throw in a soaking rain all night and a steady rain at the start.
Believe me the wet conditions created a whole new type of running. As you see in the picture, they managed a large rain puddle finish (which I splashed strait through as I kicked to the end.)
I didn’t fall but I did slide through some big mud bogs and tripped on one root. Each time I was able to control myself and maintain an upright condition. I believe my success was a direct result of my core training.
I loved this race and the rain just plain made it that much better. My biggest struggle was keeping my glasses clean enough to see the terrain in front of me. I was disappointed when I arrived and realized I didn’t bring my North Face trail runners…..could have used the extra grip and Gortex feature. If there was any race condition that warranted the trail shoe, this was it.
The start was a little tough as I was near the back and the trail was tight single track. I managed to pass a bunch of runners and used the downhill momentum to fly by a pack of runners before the twisty part of the trail.
I felt great at this point and the terrain was not bothering me at all. I managed to dodge puddles and mud for about 2 miles. After that my feet were so wet and muddy, it didn’t make much sense to waste the effort. My worst mile was three. For some reason the hills caught up to me, I couldn’t catch my breath and my legs felt heavy. I wasn’t looking forward to three more miles of this feeling.
Once I passed the water stop and hit a short span of somewhat level ground (If you want to call anything out there level) I started feeling better and the legs perked up. One thing about tight windy trails, is that you have little time to feel sorry for yourself. Concentrating on the trail helped me get back in the zone.
Mile 5 and 6 hardly even registers in my mind. I remember steady breathing, branches hitting my face and sticking to the trail like I was on train tracks. I was neither cold nor hot and the rain had no effect on me at all. Surely the best two miles of the race.
Suddenly before I could utilize my normal half mile speedup for a finishing kick, the finish appeared. I did manage a good kick and powered through the puddle as well as any adolescence enjoying a puddle jump.
This course was marked perfectly and easy to negotiate (even in the rain) The trail Monsters are very organized, courteous and down to earth people. There is no question that they love to run trails!
My only disappointment was that the finish came up so quick. This was surely one of my best finishes this year as far as how I felt and my energy level. This was a great race and an awesome experience!