You have likely been watching with either excitement or dread how the race is evolving in these last few weeks.
I mentioned in my last email that next year we will be finishing the race at Ruby’s Inn. This is a great finish venue, close to where many of you are staying, with ample parking and room for family and crew. Since that email I have been scrutinizing the logistics of starting and finishing at the Thunder Mountain trailhead, a very difficult task which will require constant attention by our limited volunteer resources to keep it from turning into a major inconvenience for us and other trail users. I have sought out feedback from other race directors and experienced runners, who have each been agreement on what should happen given the options available.
My hesitancy to use Ruby’s Inn this year came about partially because we do not have the ability this year to transport the entire field from finish to the start at Thunder Mountain. However, I discovered that several point to point courses are successful despite the lack of such transport, relying on smaller shuttles or other runners to retrieve vehicles left at the start. On balance, I feel that the inconvenience of yet one more late change, along with the need to ad hoc get back to the start for vehicle retrieval, is more than offset by the convenience of the Ruby’s Inn finish. This is especially true given that Ruby’s will be the finish for 2014 going forward and would eliminate this year’s race being run on an asterisk course (Due to its variation from what the future course will be.)
Accordingly, I have decided to finish the race at Ruby’s this year. The maps for this change are on the website, both an overview map and smaller detailed topographic maps. There are also updated crew instructions to get to the aid stations, along with kmz and gpx files of the entire course available for those that would like them.
How does this last minute change affect you as far as planning and logistics? Very minimal:
1) We will be meeting at the same time and place at Coyote Hollow trailhead to start things off. No new planning there. If you can manage a ride to the starting line with a crew member or friend, it would work to your advantage, saving you a ten minute drive at the end of the race to retrieve your vehicle. We have obtained a 24 person shuttle bus that will be taking runners from the finish line at Ruby’s to their vehicles at the starting line. It will leave every hour on the hour.
2) Your Thunder Mountain drop bags will be transported to the King’s Creek aid station and will be available to you at the same mileage at which you would have accessed them on the out and back course. No need for a separate drop bag for the new aid station, just keep things how you had them if you’ve already got them ready. There will be a finish line drop bag pile at packet pickup.
Basically, you will be running the same course just splitting off the out and back at mile 80.5 to cut across the plateau for a finish at Ruby’s. With the exception of two miles of singletrack on the Keyhole Arch trail leading up to the King’s Creek campground aid station, the new section of trail is double track through the trees to the finish.
Because there is so much unknown about what the times are going to look like for this course, I have decided to move the overall cutoff back to 36 hours. This will eliminate the need for the 4am early start option (which would be sad anyways- you don’t want to miss the views on Thunder Mountain trail.) Again, no early start option and 36 hour cutoff. If you finish after 36 hours, you’ll still earn a buckle although your time isn’t “official”.
A Ruby’s finish does not significantly affect the total elevation gain (within 500ft), and moves the Thunder Mountain and Proctor Canyon aid stations from 8 and 16 miles to 10 and 20 miles, respectively. This shift was made in order to get the mileage to work out for the Ruby’s finish, and it shortens the tough gap between Proctor and Blubber Creek. It also means the creation of an aid station at Kings Creek campground, which may be convenient for those of you staying there. Finally, two limited self-support aid stations will be installed at miles 85 and 95 to tide over the gaps between the aid stations at Mile 80 and 89 and 89 to the finish.
To the degree I can control it, this will be the last change to the course. Every change I have made has been to make the course better for you. I apologize if this causes any inconvenience, but I think you will enjoy the race more because of these changes.
The trail is marked from Thunder Mountain to Blubber Creek. Should be able to finish from Blubber to Crawford today and the Proctor Canyon to Ruby’s finish tomorrow. Directional signs and any other tidying up of the course on Tuesday. Crew Access signs and directions will be put out on Wednesday. I will be largely out of touch from here on out but will try and read emails each night.
Get to the starting line early. First shuttle from the parking area will be at 4:45am and last will be at 5:15am. Do not park anywhere until a volunteer wearing a flourescent vest tells you to. One person failing to park where they are told could bottleneck things and push back the start time for everyone. If at all possible, get a ride to the start and have your ride drop you off at the shuttle pick up area just off of Hwy 12 and take the shuttle in to the starting line.
There will be a bin at the starting line to drop off any warm clothes, headlamps, etc. that you don’t want to run with. It will be taken to the finish line.
Be sure to make sure that you are counted at each aid station. This is your responsibility. The aid worker wearing the flourescent vest will be tracking the runners, so make sure that they get you down. Failure to check in at an aid station can result in disqualification.
Again, thanks for your patience.