The second of the Western States training runs (read about the first here) would have me covering the section from Foresthill to the Rucky Chucky river crossing. Foresthill is 62 miles (100 km) into the race, and is where you can collect a pacer for the first time. On race day the crossing of Rucky Chucky will be a cooling experience since most of the water flowing through it was snow not too much earlier. We would not be crossing the river but would instead hike a few miles back to the road for a bus back to Foresthill.
I arrived at Foresthill and met up with Denise, who I had run with for the last few miles on the previous day. She introduced me to Scott, who had driven down with her from Bend, Oregon, and then Scott brought a few others into the group. The “Other” Brian Purcell is so named because there is a Brian Purcell (let’s think of him as the original Brian Purcell) who won Western States in the 80’s. There was also Steve (who will be pacing Scott at Western States this year, and was referred to as “Dirty” Steve although I never found out the reason) and the final person might have been John, although we lost him quite early in the running.
We set off down the main street of Foresthill (population 1483 in case you were thinking thinking of 5th Avenue in NYC) and soon turned down a side road that would take us onto the Western States trail. Since there was no bus to the start line for the run people had been taking off whenever they were ready so there were a lot of people on the trail in front of us.
The run down to the river would take us down 2600 ft (800 m) and was extremely good running. We took off at a steady pace, consistently overtaking runners, but also consistently speeding up. It was enjoyable running on great single track and Scott assisted with his entertaining tour guide duties highlighting key points along the course as well as historical bits and pieces, and even some random funny comments. We had people drop off and join on to the group as we ran, before the group totally broke apart as Scott pushed up the pace on the descent into the first aid station for the day. But at the aid station we all regrouped and recommenced the run down to the river. You actually first hear and then see the river quite early in the run, but then have a long traverse alongside the river before the crossing.
We eventually reached the second aid station, and from there had only a couple of hundred yards (a couple of hundred metres) down to where we will cross the river on race day. We strolled into the river and allowed the cool mountain waters to revive weary legs. Then we hopped out on the same side for a climb up to the bus departure point for the return to Foresthill. Scott made a call that since the hike out was on trail that was not part of the Western States trail he would not run any of it, so we started the hike out. We eventually arrived at the final aid station at the bus departure point, enjoyed a hot dog, and then caught a bus back to Foresthill.
It was another great day of running, although where I had run the first training run at the pace I planned to run on race day, this day had been run considerably quicker. You can check out the details (map, graph, charts, etc.) of the run on MovesCount.com here.