2016-02-07 - Rocky Raccoon 100 Sweeper

~14.6 miles @ ~21.3 min/mi

"Santa Claus is coming to town!" says a Rocky Raccoon ultrarunner at mile 92 when he sees me with a big bag on my shoulder this morning. "No, I'm just picking up litter," I explain. "And sweeping the course, but you're far ahead of the cutoff. Don't fear the Sweeper!"

Despite über-intense cold, friends at the RR100 do great — kudos esp. to Edward Masuoka and Stephanie Fonda! — and overnight duty at the main aid station is good training for me in The Art of Power Napping. Starting ~25.5 hours into the event and covering all but the first/last ~3 miles of the 20 mile loop, I pick up scores of styrofoam cups, scraps of energy gel packets, and other trash dropped (inadvertently, one hopes) by hasty racers. Additionally, it's a good time to take down hundreds of pink/orange course markings, ribbons attached to branches via clothes pins. Race Director Chris McWatters foolishly lends me a big knife to remove yellow caution tape. Yay! And somehow I manage not to hurt myself wielding it or running with it.

One competitor I catch up with is hypothermic and exhausted, lagging the cutoffs and walking slowly back with her pacer. All ends happily, though, after nervous moments in the wilderness: she reaches the aid station called "DamNation" and, at last glimpse, is sitting on a camp chair in the sunlight wrapped in blankets and awaiting a ride out.

Sweeper/cleaner work is tougher than expected, but my part of the job finishes in time for me to get a big hug from the RD before heading back from east Texas to watch some minor sporting event with Mom & Dad. Apparently a few people care about a game called "Super Bowl", though it's hard to see why ...

(trackfile) - ^z - 2016-02-20