For those who aren't familiar with the Coyote Events (formerly known as Coyote 4 Play), it consists of a unique combination of brutal trail running and "tom-foolry." With 28K of climb and descent for 100 miles I knew it would be a tough test in March but an excellent way to kick off the 2011 trail season. After having some pizza and pasta with my family I drove the little red "dropka" to Salt Lake City to Roch and Catherine's house for the rest of the commute to always sunny SoCal. The trip was uneventful and enjoyable. We met in Ventura with the rest of the Patagonia gang for a series of meetings with the shoe and apparel folks at corporate headquarters. It was fun to meet up again with new and old teammates and take some time to help with design of the new shoe and apparel lines that will be coming out over the next couple of years. We saw the famous Tin Shed and ate amazing food from the campus cafeteria. On Thursday we were able to run a 7 mile loop at the Ray Miller trail a little South of Ventura. It was 70 degrees and sunny, honestly I thought I was going to melt. I figured that I had put in at least half a dozen runs that were 100 degrees cooler this winter. Seventy degrees felt very warm, but it was amazing to be back on dirt again. I was hoping that it wouldn't be that warm on Saturday, careful what you wish for...
As part of the festivities we were divided into teams for bowling, with bonus points to be won for costumes so Nacho Delgado made an appearance. Leaving the hotel lobby for the bowling alley I received an ovation from the guys at the bar...Nacho! Nacho! Nacho! Bowling was a good time although most of us aren't very good bowlers. Chris Scott (self proclaimed "Chief Idiot") Had prizes for all-I scored a sweet Bob Marley Tie-Dye...I haven't owned one of those since high school.
Friday night I camped at the field at the start/finish area with Jared and Mindy. We check out Ojai and talked about the impending weather. It did in fact dump rain all night but come race time at 10 a.m. the weather was perfect. It was 55-60 degrees and overcast. As we lined up the start it was fun to see the charges get fired up. We had the option of running around the field in honor of Vicki or head straight on the trail. I was more than grateful to have a chance to back off and work my way into the day. I knew that I needed to be cautious and not get caught up in the action too early. There was plenty of time to suffer. Early on the trail out of Thatcher Jared pulled away early and I spent some time with AJW. By the time we reached the first aid Jared and I were running together bringing up the rear. We picked up our rocks for the trip up Topa and began to climb again. It was a new experience being the last to go through the aid station and to have them waiting for us so they could shut down. By the time we got to the Topa aid stations the snow started to fly. As always it was fun to share an adventure with Jared. We climbed and descended the ridge without many problems. I did have a few bouts of atomic diarrhea but other than that it was a blast. Jared kept pulling away from me but was kind enough to wait at the aid stations. We had planned another trip up Topa on the way back down the ridge but we were falling behind and the snow was starting to fall pretty heavily. My favorite trail was the Lion trail. By now it was dumping rain down low and snowing up high. The trail down to Cozy Dell was a real grease pit. We passed Jeff, Karl, and Justin coming back at us and I was shocked to run up on AJW again. We were pretty wet and miserable by the time we reached the aid station but we changed into dry clothes, stuffed some food in our mouths and were ready to get back to it when they pulled the plug...it was a strange mixture of relief and dismay. I had come this far to run 100 miles but it was obvious that Chris had made the right choice. So much for always sunny SoCal. Maybe writing this report will give me some closure:)
*hanging with teammates and friends on the trails *the quesadillas at Howard Creek *Luis's ham and cheese sandwiches at Gridly Top *performing with the Patagonia Glee Club *visiting Patagonia headquarters *testing a new trail prototype...this one is a keeper folks!
El Vaquero Loco 2014 - Thanks for making this year's race such a success.
11th annual. Saturday, August 8th, 2015. Out and back course on nearly 100% singletrack. Beautiful vistas. Very tough and technical. It has been our experience that you run the 25k if you are not used to running technical trails at altitude.