Don't Fence Me In Trail Race

Friday, June 1, 2012

“Don’t Fence Me In” turned into “Don’t Start without me”

By: Matt Byrne

But it did.  Yes the race.  Ok, so not an ideal start but it’s over 18 miles and two plus hours of lumpy Montana single track; plenty of time to make up for a stupid start.  

How did this happen?  Well, it sort of starts in Scranton PA, the scene of my first dumb move.   Without a single tag on my bag, I showed some serious faith in Delta Airlines as I placed my one and only bag on the gate bridge.  Why wouldn’t my bag be there when I arrived in Detroit, right?  Wrong.  After 3 hours of dead-end bag searching, onward to Helena, Montana I went; with not much more than the clothes I was wearing and a debit card in hand.  Luckily, I was sporting the new Vertical K’s.  At least I had my kicks.  30K in jeans?  Let’s hope not. 

Scrolling through my contacts I found Ryan Woods’ number.  (Come on Ryan, be on your way to Montana.  Not only do I need a pair of shorts but if I’m lucky, I could grab some bonus points by taking you down tomorrow.  Answer…answer….Yes!)  Ryan, “No worries Matt, I gotcha covered.  Got a pair of shorts and we could even split the cost of a room”  Saaweet.  That was the easy part.  Taking Ryan down…usually not so easy. 

Weirdly enough, the bag showed up in Helena, Montana that night.  I guess leaving your only form of ID in your bag sometimes IS a good idea.  Back in business.

The early morning Montana sun seemed to forgive my mental slip and the warm-up jog confirmed that everything was back in order.  Let’s get this thing started.  Some last minute lacing up in the La Sportiva tent was noticed by rep Vince Close.    “Ready to go Matt?, how was your trip out?”  Funny you should ask Vince, let me tell you.”  “That’s a great story Matt, but don’t you think you should get to the starting line?”   BANG!’s starts and I’m still in the tent. 

Catching the back of the pack just 100 meters in, I hurry through the field and catch Ryan near the top of Mt. Ascension.   “Tell me you’re in the lead, Ryan.”    No luck.  Arizonians, Rob Krar and Jared Scott are feeling right at home on the single track and torching this course.  I separate and hope to catch them both at some point.  But other than a late sighting of Jared coming down Mt. Helena, this race was over.  Don’t think a good start would’ve challenged these gents today.   

Rob Krar made a serious Mountain Cup statement with a 5 minute victory over ‘steady eddie’ Jared Scott and I pulled in behind Jared for 3rd.   Woods was not feeling right at home and will probably try to replace this 6th place finish.  He’s better than that and the Mountain Cup leaders are well aware.

Post Race:  One of the race sponsors, The Blackfoot River Brewery, somehow ran out of suds at the post race gathering.  To make sure everything was ok at the brewery, a good number of runners then ventured across the street to the brewery itself.  I’m happy to report that the brewery is just fine.  As luck would have it the brewery also doubled as nice place to chat it up with the ‘Prickly Pear Land Trust’ peeps.  A solid group to say the least.  Not only do they take pride in their backyard, but their hospitality is unmatched.  Thanks. 

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