Only a week later, it’s time for race #2 in the series. At least I think it’s time – since this is the first time Trail Runner Magazine has done the series, it’s hard to say if one has to race every weekend, or if just a few races will do the trick. TRM is expecting 40,000 racers to participate – my guess is there are at least a dozen that will race as much as possible. It should be interesting to see what is the better strategy - race a lot, but not as hard, or race a few races and go hard.
The Redwood Trails of Napa is another great race by Redwood Trails, held in Bothe State Park just outside of Calistoga in the wine country. I thought it was going to be a fairly flat course (vineyards, right?), but I thought WRONG! It turned out to be a fairly steep two loop course, with about 3,200 vertical feet of climbing. The steepness made it a difficult race – you can’t make up time on the downhills when you’re sliding on your ass. Still, it was a great course. You worked three miles up to a ridge, then ran along that ridge in the heat for a mile, then back down the next gulch. Two stream crossings kept you honest.
I placed third (http://www.redwoodtrails.com/2004_results/naparesults.html) in 1:50:57, behind my new arch-nemesis Malcolm Dunn (coming in an amazing 13 minutes faster) and Stephen Judge, who passed me a couple of times after taking wrong turns. Everyone was in good spirits, and soon were enjoying the spirits of nearby Napa Valley as well.
Christi and I had stayed at a B&B nearby, who made a wonderful fruit breakfast that I inhaled. We soon after learned an important lesson – NO NEW IS GOOD NEW. I fought stomach cramps for the first eight miles even with just a slight change in diet. Christi soon coined the phrase, and it would be our mantra for race prep from here on out. Routine is a good thing when it comes to pre-race diet.