1. 16th Annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet
A little out of the blue, but likely because I helped out with the Striders and other members of QuickSilver to clean trails at the Stevens Creek and Almaden Quicksilver County Parks, I got an invitation to attend the volunteer recognition banquet. I was expecting a limited audience and was quite surprised when I entered a room with likely more than 300 people! Furthermore, I never saw so many Park Rangers in uniform at once. It was also intimidating to be invited to a crowd made of people who gave hundreds and thousands of volunteering hours to the County, compared to a few dozens for me. Topping the list is Kitty Monahan who created the overall volunteer program and has given more than 9,500 hours of her time so far!! And counting...
I didn't know anyone in this crowd and ended up sitting at a table with one of the very special award: Junior Volunteer of the Year, presented by Senior Ranger Aniko Millan (a.k.a. Big Mama!) to her protegee, Maria Panorea Hadres. Over the past 5 years, Maria spent more than 250 hours helping out at Vesona Lake in particular, with activities ranging from volunteering at events to counting hundreds of geese!
2. Quicksilver 50K and 50-mile races
Back to running... As I mentioned earlier, this is the major race put up by our club, the other one being a combined trail 10K and Half-marathon in the Fall. Because it was squeeze this year between Ruth Anderson 100K and Miwok 100K, one week apart, I decided to enter the 50K (am I not reasonable sometimes...?! ;-). With the start scheduled for 6 AM (and no plan for flying from Phoenix, AZ on race day this time, see last week's report!), I woke up at 2:45 to get a good breakfast before 3 AM (my 3-hour no food pre-race window). The drive was quick at that time of the day and I was the first one to reach the parking lot, which was still closed at 4:10. A few cars followed me and Race Director, Pierre-Yves Couteau, opened the gate around 4:40. Pierre's minivan was full with aid station gear and stuff and another surprise: Adrienne, Pierre's daughter, full of energy and who will help on many projects throughout the day! With a few volunteers already here we set up the registration table which was ready to operate ahead of schedule at 4:55.
With my hyper (or ultra...) busy life, it is rare that I spend more time hanging out at a race than running, except when volunteering of course, and not counting the travel time, but I had no hard commitments today and stayed for a total of 14 hours (from 4 am to 6 pm), including the 4 hours of racing. Which, I know, isn't much compared to the time that the volunteers put into this event, starting with Pierre-Yves. What a great community with so many abilities and passion for pushing the envelope and enjoying the outdoors. And what a perfect weather and convenient location for such a social gathering.
I spent several hours taking pictures of the runners approaching the finish line or the 50K mark for the ones continuing on the 50-mile. See my Picasa album which also includes a few pictures from Agnès at Dam Overlook. About 280 total...
The food was amazing. If Dick Collins Firetrails is renowned for its Café, I vote that Quicksilver 50 gets elected for its outstanding and best Restaurant! The food tent even included a kitchen section with a fridge and a mega portable BBQ, courtesy of "The Couple Chefs", Paul and Darcy Fick! Paul on the left, and Keith:
- Course marking: Jim, Gene, Dan, Susan, Keith, Peter, Greg
- Aid stations: Mike (the aid station Czar!), the Striders (Peggy, Peter and Peter, Bill and Bill, Dennis, Charles, Mike, Randy, Gene, Gregg, Kristin, Patrick, Claire, Liam, Isaac, Rob), Dorsey, June, Fay, Gene, Bill, Mathew, Clare, Scott, Andy, Keith, and I know I'm missing many others, especially as I barely stopped in any on of the aid stations this time, shame on me running too fast! ;-)
- Course monitors: Everitt, Harris, ...
- Check-in: Adrienne, Jim, Harris
- QuickSilver Restaurant and Bar: Darcey, Paul, Maria, Gary, Keith, Ian, ...
- Parking: Bob, Leroy, Bob, ...
Last but not least, several volunteers from the club cleaned the poison oak off the New Almaden trail for the safety of all of us (and I know a few of them got stigmas on their hand and arms from this). By the way, beyond some bruises on arms, knees or legs, the medical staff got busy with a significant casualty: Charles, from San Francisco, felt flat around mile 5 on New Almanden trail, and his hand got so severely wounded that he spent from 8 AM to 4 PM at the ER in San Jose. Here he is, with Pierre-Yves, after coming back to the finish area to pick his car. It's written on his shirt, he is not only a fighter, he is "The Fighter!"
Again, many more pictures in my Picasa album.
4. The tail of The Relay
This Sunday morning, as a recovery run, I ran on the Stevens Creek Canyon Road, starting at the end of McClelan Road. I ran about 1.5 legs (half of the 28th and the whole steep 29th), taking pictures of the 16 runners I crossed on my way back (12.5 miles total). The temperature along the wonderful Stevens Creek was great and it's is comforting to see the Stevens Creek reservoir 100% full on this first day of May!
The Relay's website to learn more about this 200-mile 12-people relay from Calistoga to Santa Cruz.
5. Closing remarks
What's next? Well, you read it above, I'm in for another 100K next week and not anyone of them: the toughest on our ultra circuit, Miwok 100K. At least, with Geoff Roes and Dave Mackay at the top of the list and 10 other potential winners (see the 2011 entrants list), I have no expectation to see anything from the front of the race except at the turnaround. Unfortunately, per his blog, Tony Krupicka will not be part of this mini championship. Between the very mixed experiences I have had on this tough course and my current hyper racing mode, my main goal is to contain my excitement in the first half, pace myself so I don't suffer too much on the trip back to the beach. Oh yes, there will be a lot of fun on this gorgeous trail run but suffering is part of and assured on this hilly course!
It was great to see so many of you this weekend and take the time to chat and catchup on everyone's experiences and joys coming from trail running (you can add your own stories as comments on this post, I love hearing from you! ;-). See many of you again next week then!