Wow, Climb-a-thon is in two days. Have I put in enough time on the trails this summer to bang out 10 laps this year? It doesn’t really matter, I’m going to be out there for 10 hours no matter what. I’m not sure what the difference is between 9 and 10 laps anyway. You kinda stop counting after lap 5 . . . or was that 6?
It’s funny what you remember as a racer. It seemed that each time you got back down to the tram base there was usually a group of runners all setting out. But quickly, it’d get really quiet as everyone spreads out on the trail. Running drifts into speed hiking as the trail climbs out of the valley and up towards the top terminal. It’s all about repetition. Remembering to swing my arms, keeping my chin up and placing my feet in the same steps as the previous laps. Repeat.
And, it’s inevitable, there’s another lap ahead of me. I would always keep an eye out for the tram car as I approached the tower. Adjusting my pace a little near those top switchbacks. I know this trail well enough to know when I can catch the tram that is docking or when I will have to wait for the next one. Missing it wasn’t the end of the world. The extra time meant a fresh dry shirt, full water bottle of additives and electrolytes and some much-needed GU packets. Rushing back down the stairs to catch a ride back to the trailhead, it seemed there was always one less rider than last lap.
Maybe I can pull off eleven laps this year . . .
Thoughts from a dedicated Climb-a-thon racer who completed ten laps in 2009.