April 12, 2009

Zumbro 100

Well, The Master was at it again. This weekend marked the inaugural running of the Zumbro 100 trail races down at the Zumbro River Bottoms, which is part of the Richard J. Dorer State Forest southwest of Wabasha. For those who may not know, RD Larry is known for putting on awesome trail races, and is perhaps the only RD who does 2 100 mile races per year (along with another 10 miler -In Yan Teopa - just a couple of weeks after his other little race).

The main event was the 100 mile race consisting of 5 laps of the same 20 mile loop; the fun run was 100K starting at midnight for 3 laps over the same terrain. Since I am no where near qualified to be doing even the kiddie race at this event, I opted to do a single lap sweeping the course with Wayne and Alicia and score a free sweatshirt :)

The weather was absolutely perfect - overnight lows in the 20's and daytime highs in the mid-50's. No ticks, mosquitoes, or other biting insects. No timber rattlers hiding under the deep leaf litter. No horse pies on the trail. Abundant sunshine. A full moon overnight. A dry week prior to the race so that the course was in perfect condition.

I had never visited this area before, so I was excited to get out on the trail to see what it was like. I was envisioning something similar to Afton: lots of hilly climbs up and down the bluffs with loose gravel making the downhills in particular somewhat slippery. I have to say I was a little surprized at the difficulty of the terrain! This course is probably the second most challenging of those that I have run in the midwest, second to the Superior Hiking Trail. There was deep sand, lots of baseball sized rocks, fairly steep climbs (almost 55% grade according to my Garmin), and deep trenches full of leaf litter hiding many of the roots and rocks. These trenches made me feel like I was on a bobsled course at times. Can't imagine trying to navigate some of that stuff in the dark! Justin took some nice pictures of the course last week on a beta run.

It was lots of fun seeing many of my trail buddies for the first time after a long winter, although I missed meeting up with several of them since I was still out sweeping when they finished their races and left. Larry tried to catch us up with who finished and who didn't when we finally returned from the forest just before the cutoff time, so I'm looking forward to hearing their race reports over the next few days.

Zach, Steve G and Steve Q all earned their first 100 mile buckle! Kim Holak beat everybody in the 100K - I'm not sure who the first place male was. Matt finished the 100K, Maria didn't, and I'm not sure about the others in that race. Winner of the 100 mile was Dallas Sigurdur followed by Scott Meyers, Dale Humphrey, and Garret Mulrooney. Susan and Rob finished the 100 mile in fine form after completing another 100 miler at Umstead just last weekend. Wow!

Congrats to Larry for another great race and to all who toed the line!

And just so you know, Larry is already planning a new route for next year to "take out that flat part."


SteveQ said...

I say Zumbro is harder than Superior, but ask me after Superior and I'll probably say the opposite. Superior has twice the climbing, but Zumbro's footing is far more tracherous.

Wayne said...

Kel, It was fun sweeping the long part of the course with you and Alicia, so thanks for letting me tag along. I don't know what the non-snow-covered Chippewa trail is like, but I can't imagine it's as rugged as Zumbro... yikes, that's tough. I think I'll just plan to volunteer every year. :)