TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

On and Off the Training Plan

Saturday:  Twin Peaks training plan adjustment.  Instead of the plan, I volunteered for the Harding Hustle 15/30/50k Ultra.  And so fortunate was I to be assigned to the “Four Corners” aid station.  I woke at 4:30 AM, left before sunrise for a shift that began at about 5:45 AM. 

I was the driver for this aid, so we packed the bed of my truck TO THE BRIM.  We had ice chests full of ice, lots of food, soda, chairs, radio equipment, etc.  All this stuff weighed down the back of my truck, which was a good thing.  With an empty bed, the back of my truck slides slightly in the opposite direction that I turn when I’m off-roading.  A little relieved about a weighed down bed I was a tiny bit anxious about the drive because I had never driven up Harding Truck Trail (the gates are always locked) AND I was driving 3 others to the station.  Among the group in my truck were two other trail runners (Donna and Red) and “The Radio Guy” (That’s what I called him, then when I asked him his name, he answered “The Radio Guy”).  Another radio guy and an EMT met us at the top as well.

Anyway, the drive was bumpy.  The trail was overgrown.  There were times when the sun shined directly in my eyes.  You don’t see yellow or white when the sun shines directly in your eyes like I thought.  You see BLACK.  This unnerved me a bit since I was driving alongside a cliff for 9 miles!  But then the radio guy suggested I look at the bottom of the truck in front of me, and if I suddenly didn’t see the truck, stop.  I laughed.  But it worked.  It got my eyes off the sun and gave me some vision of the road.

We were the aid for the 30k turnaround point.  And we were aid for the 50ker’s continuing up to Santiago Peak, and on their return.  I had a blast filling water bottles, refilling goodies.  I saw some runners that I know, lots that I recognized.  In my opinion we all worked together well at the station.  I also liked the fact that I felt comfortable telling runners where they were, how much longer, etc.  I’ve been up on these trails more than once. 

Volunteering the Harding Hustle was a fantastic experience, drive and all.  It was 1:30 when we finally arrived back down at the bottom of the mountain.  3:00 PM, I was home

“Four Corners” Aid Station:

Sunday:  Back to Twin Peaks Training.  I hit the trails about 3PM for an out-and-back to Top of the World in Laguna Beach.  It was HOT.  Fortunately, the heat took less than ten minutes off my best for this route.  I’m gaining back some of my heat tolerance.

I had a little incident that I’d like you to decide whether or not I was a bully.  I ALWAYS run the right side of the trail.  Most runners, hikers and mountain bikers stay to the right.  We after all drive on the right side of the road here in the U.S.  Staying on the right is not a rule it’s just something that happens more often than not.  What I believe is a rule, is that if both people are travelling downhill, the one lower down the hill has the right of way.  That person after all does not have eyes on the back of their head and therefore cannot see who is travelling behind them.  Also, bikers yield to runners and hikers.  Common etiquette also dictates that you let others know you are coming.  For example, I let myself be known by speaking when I’m coming up on hikers (especially on a single-track).  Mountain bikers often ring a bell or speak up.  Also, you pass on the left.  Generally, I give everyone the right of way, IF I KNOW THEY ARE THERE.  (I especially give bikers moving uphill the right of way, even if they are on the “wrong side of the trail.”) 

Today, I was running downhill on West Ridge on the right side of the trail.  I took a step to the right to hug the right edge, opening up the trail more for bikers, etc.  Just about then, a woman screamed “ON YOUR RIGHT,” at the exact moment she passed me riding extremely fast, almost uncontrollably fast.  I hopped out of the way, but we were so close I could feel the breeze of her speed as she passed.  When she reached the uphill, she glared back at me and continued up the hill.  What??? The woman nearly wiped me out.  More than perturbed, I hollered out, “You might think about a bell!”  Moments later her friend dinged her bike bell and passed me on the left. 

Now, I am really not one to confront strangers, pretty much under any circumstances.  But as I ran up that hill, steam began to escape from my ears.  When I reached the top of the hill, the woman was resting with her friends (another woman and three males).  I stopped, intent to give her a lesson on the rules of trail right of ways.  And this is what I said in a stern voice, “Did you throw me a dirty look back there when you nearly ran me over?”  The entire group seemed stunned that I approached her with this question.  And they all simultaneously stumbled over their words.  The offender said, “Oh no!  I was just struggling so much, that was a look of discomfort.  We’re good,” she continued, “we’re good.”  The others chimed in, “Ya, ya, everyone lived to tell about it.  It’s all good.  We’re all good.”

I said a few light-hearted things, smiled and told them to have a good time.  Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed about my approaching this lady, especially since I was so out-numbered.  I seriously was going to give her a list of rules if she had answered differently.  But she seemed so worried by my obvious anger, that I let it go and moved on, shocked still by my behavior.  So, what do you think?  Who had the right away?  Should I have said something to the woman?  If so, what should I have said? 

Just wondering. 

A pose at Top of the World on this HOT afternoon (wearing my Harding Hustle volunteer shirt):

A view of Santiago and Modjeska Peaks from West Ridge:My Activities Cyn Vistas out-and-back 7-8-2012, Elevation - Distance

14 comments:

  1. She's lame. I always stay on the right, and pass to the left.

    My friend ran Harding 50k yesterday as her first ultra, and seems to have loved it! Thanks for volunteering!

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    1. I'm glad your friend had fun, Giraffy. And I hope I got the chance to refill her fluids. That is a tough trail run. It's uphill for soooo long and with very little shade. Thank for reading.

      ps. I still pass on the left. But I am way more cautious of mountain bikers now. : )

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  2. I'm a mountain biker, primarily. I pass people on the right or left depending on where there is room. I’ll always say “on your right” or left. But what I don’t ever, EVER do is pass hikers or runners at high speed; it’s rude and dangerous. I’m glad she didn’t plow into you. I'm glad you talked with her...maybe she'll slow down.

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    1. Thanks for your opinion Scott. Most of the time mountain bikers are not rude, they always say "on your right," "on your left," or my favorite, ring their bell. I think this lady was new at the sport. I'm glad she didn't plow into me either. Her downhill speed was so fast I would have been seriously hurt.

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  3. Kudos to you for calling her on it, next time hopefully she will think twice!

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    1. Thanks for your opinion Stuart. I really felt like a bully afterward, the way I worded my confrontation and all. I learned a lesson too (hopefully she did), and I am very cautious even taking one step to the side. I will always look over my back.

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  4. I think you are explaining this the way I do it... I stay on the right and pass people on the left.. Before passing somebody I yell out "ON YOUR LEFT" which I think often scares them more than me sneaking past and not yelling anything.... I always look behind me when I am passing somebody to make sure Im not hopping in front of somebody moving faster, on foot or bike.

    I always stay on the right and pass on the left no matter which direction (up or down).. I think it was bad etiquette for her to pass on the right. I dont really think you are wrong to have confronted her about but I can see where it might have been taken the wrong way and that maybe it could have been worded differently, but I probably would have done the same.

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    1. Thanks Khourt. Looking behind you is a must on the trail. For some reason, I got lazy when taking just a step over. Now, I always look over my shoulder no matter how far I nudge over. And I agree with you wholeheartedly. I really should have worded my confrontation differently. Next time I won't let my anger get the best of me and I will try to be who I want to be -- upfront, but kind. : ) Thanks again.

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  5. Not only is passing on the left the normal way to go - bikes are supposed to yield to runners/hikers (though they nearly never do).

    Thanks for volunteering. You rock!

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation Jessica. Because I don't want to get run over, it seems that I mostly yield to bikers instead of the other way around.

      The Harding Hustle rocks! I still can't get over the race those runners ran. It was dang hot out there!

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  6. Volunteering is always an uplifting experience for me. Especially at an ultra. It motivates me for my next challenge. I never run on paths that are also used by bikers so I can't comment much. Your way of doing it just sounds logic to me. We keep left and pass right over here :)

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    1. I love volunteering too Johann. I wish I had more time to do it. Seems like volunteering takes up more time than my long runs. : ) I've always had a great experience volunteering. This fall I will be volunteering a 100 mile race!

      We don't have many trails in my parts that we don't share with mountain bikers. Most of the riders are considerate.

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  7. It's always "On your left" in the USA. Sheesh.

    I was taught in elementary school to walk facing traffic. Once in a while I'll get a biker yelling that I'm on the wrong side of the road. I usually spin around and yell "Wrong!, Look it up!" 8)

    Kudos for volunteering !

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    1. LOL Paul. I learned that in elementary school too. And when I ran the road a couple days ago, I ran on the opposite side of traffic. When I'm on the road anytime (running, walking, etc), I'm on the opposite side of traffic -- I want to see when a car gets out of control (and if God-forbid, someone stops to nab me, I can more easily get away if we are travelling opposite directions). Thing is, on the trail, there's no "opposite side of traffic." It's more like a road, and I am the traffic. That's why I stay on the right. Thanks for commenting. Much appreciated.

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