Sunday, May 5, 2013

Watching Miwok 100 (actually 60 km) trail run

Yesterday Cara and I revised our previous plans to watch the Cat's Hill Criterium, passing up on dealing with Caltrain, and instead rode out to watch the Miwok 100.

We rode out across the city. I've been feeling tired, a combination of allergies and residual fatigue from the Devil Mountain Double. I had lightweight running shoes stuffed under my jersey in case I wanted to move out onto the trail a bit, but we never really did. We stayed near the Tennessee Valley trail head.
riding to the start

The race was scheduled for 100 km but it was shortened to 60 km since the Mt Tamalpais State Park pulled the plug on their access due to a perceived fire threat. Honestly I question this decision. I think the State Park runs with way too low a risk threshold. The Mt Tamalpais Hillclimb has been canceled two times in recent years, the first time because the park refused to issue permits in anticipation of a possible park closure due to state budget cut-backs (the park budget regularly used as a negotiation chip: shutting down parks doesn't actually save much, if any, money). The next time the Mt Tam Hillclimb was canceled it was because of thunder threat the night before. A closure extended essentially to essentially coincide with the start of the climb, but the promoter decided to cancel, since this wouldn't allow the officials to get to the top early. The fire threat in this case was essentially illusionary, it being the point where the extended threat window was ending. And this time they shut it down because of recent heat, possible heat in the forecast, and strong winds. But the race was going through early, well before any serious chance of heat.

Was there a non-zero fire chance? Perhaps. But no aspect of life can be taken with a zero risk tolerance. Just driving to the start, let alone the rigors of putting your body through the effort of running 100 km, esposes runners to substantial risk. To me it showed a real disrespect to the runners' commitment to the event, and important one in the ultra-running calendar, to protect them from an extremely small numerical hazard. What's the acceptable risk? 1/100 thousand? 1/10 thousand? But this is all just my view. Perhaps if I worked in the Park my view would differ. But I doubt it.

watching the Miwok 100

Anyway, we had a good time watching the runners come through. I barely got my camera out when the leader came through, catching his back. I unfortunately missed my friend Gary Gellin in second. I was watching out for cars driving by, part of the amazingly large traffic volume to the nearby stables. Additionally, despite the fact cars are parked well back onto the roadway leading up to the trailhead lot, everyone seems to want to try their luck taking a lap of the lot. It's important when doing an 8-mile hike to the beach to not park more than 50 meters from the trail head.

My photos are here. They're nothing special: I just pointed and shot whenever a runner came through, although I botched a few, and as I noted, I missed Gary. Cara teased me about that. "You're so funny" she said. I felt bad about missing Gary so I didn't think it was so funny, myself.

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