This past weekend, we headed up to Chatsworth to do the QBTR. Doug (the organizer) was offering a 12 mile Set Speed and 6 mile RNT. Being difficult, I convinced everyone that Linda and I should do the 12 mile trail as a RNT, promising that I would do most of the running (and I made good on that!). We later discovered it was actually to be a 14 mile trail (22.4km) but that wasn’t about to change my mind.
Before I get into it, here is a link to my nike+ tracker. It is slightly off because 1) I forgot to start it when I crossed the start line and 2) there are a lot of tight switchbacks so it doesn’t always register correctly. That being said, mine seemed to be more accurate than Linda’s garmin (which I think she said pegged the whole ride at 5 miles). So lets say I had a 10% margin of error for my Nike. Not too bad.
Dougs trails are always my favorite (except last year when it snowed!) Tight “Mantracker” trails, big tough hills, nice views, variety of terrain. It is NOT an easy trail despite being a training ride – the nice part is there are no time constraints and a tough trail makes for a very fun trail. We also had perfect weather this year, which was well appreciated by all.
You might notice from my nike tracker that I was a little slower than I usually run. I did have to walk quite a lot, but it was suitable for the terrain. If you have never done a RNT, you may not understand what its like to run around hoof divots – its like running an obstacle course the whole way. There were also a few areas that were muddy enough that I climbed neighboring trees to try and save my shoes. Though shortly after starting loop 2, I said “@*%# it, I am just going to get new shoes” and plowed through tough mudder style. I also did manage to take one good faceplant running down a hill getting my toe caught on divot or rock or something. Fortunately it was soft dirt/mud and no damage was done. Just get back up and run dirty!
I wore my helmet cam on loop #1 and got some nice footage. I did manage to get on Sable twice, but with the twisty turny forests, the horses could never get too far ahead of me so switching off wasn’t really useful. They had a half hour hold (we were riding with Amber, who was doing her first ever set speed! So she was held for that) so I took off running with a head start. I was planning on leaving my helmet behind, my math gut telling me the horses would never catch up so I wouldn’t need it and if I really did, just take Lindas helmet. I tried to explain to Linda and she said, no wear it so we don’t have to fuss around. We both had rider/runner brain and I took off in helmet. Next time I will trust my math gut – as I finished a good half hour or so in front of them. They came back to me yukking it up with the vets, chowing down on granola bars and pondering sunburn or trail rash? Of course, still dirty as can be having taken no steps to cleaning myself up – more training as far as I am concerned, plus its more fun to play “guess the colour of the bath water” that way when I get home – the traditional post ride game we play.
Lee asked “Did you win” well of course – we were the only ones doing the long distance as RNT. Haha. I certainly considered myself a winner, very proud to say I finished the whole thing despite a very challenging course, and more than double my usual run distance. I did about 20k of it and finished grinning. In fact, I was choking up a bit at km 19 or so as a kinda-sorta-sappy song came on, and had me reflecting about how fortunate I was to be allowed to be out here running such beautiful trails on such a beautiful day. Thank you so much Doug!
Without further ado, here are a bunch of helmet cams for you to scope out (unedited… some day my video program will decide to stop losing hours worth of editing work and I will get a nice tight RNT video made!)