(Another gorgeous day on the Oakridge trails, photo courtesy of K McCree)
Two Days, Four Races
The Sunsweet Trail Fest is a series of four trail races in one weekend (3 on the first day, 1 on the second), designed to give you a full flavor of what makes trail running fun. There is mountain running, trail running, ultras, and even a kids fun run. You can race solo in all four races for the "festival competition", choose your favorite races among the four, or put together a team of up to six people (including an ultra relay). Here's the layout of the races:
Race 1, the "Oregon Adventure Hill Climb" - Going UP! A 5 mile mountain run, ending with a 3-mile, 2200 vertical foot climb that would make Bernie Boettcher proud.
Race 2, the "Flying Turtle Downhill" - After a brief rest, groups of 4 runners/mountain goast sail down a 5-mile course in 1-minute intervals. If you have the need for speed, this is your race!
Race 3, the "Salmon Creek Stomp" - The afternoon race is a 10-mile run along Salmon Creek, one of the many gorgeous river runs that have made Oregon races like Where's Waldo 100k and the McKenzie River Run 50k instant classics (yes, I know "instant classic" is an oxymoron, but honestly, you will know what I mean as soon as you see the place). The kids can join in on the 1-mile Fun Run while you are out, play some minature golf, or meet you at the big dinner bash at the Trailhead Cafe.
(Crystal clear Salmon Creek, photo courtesy of K McCree)
(At 180 ft, the Westfir Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in Oregon, photo courtesy of 2G Construction who helped restore it in the mid-90's)
Whew! That's a lot of trail running. Cash prizes and merchandise will be awarded to race winners for both Open and Masters, best combined times, and more. Although the event is billed for fun, don't forget that folks like Craig Thornley, John Ticer, Jeff Riley (fifth at the AR50 last weekend), Sean Messiner (4-time Tahoe Triple marathon winner), and Kami Semick all live within driving distance, so no win will come easily. Oh yeah - let's not forget that nearby Eugene, OR, is home of Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Bill Bowerman/Nike, and the 2008 Olympic Trails. They kinda obsess about running. ;-)
A Bit About Oakridge
As a former Oregonian (with a father who obsessively skied at nearby Willamette Pass), I got to visit Oakridge quite a bit over the years. The trails are lush, the trees are huge, and the water is insanely clear. The town's low key (and low cost) nature feel more fitting to me for a trail festival than the glitz-and-glamour Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO. Oakridge people are laid back, have a deep appreciation for the outdoors, and welcome all visitors.
There's going to be a Fat Tire mountain bike festival in Oakridge around the same time, so the whole town is going to be celebrating the joys of outdoor recreation. I think it's going to be spectacular weekend, particularly for these first few years before "word gets out". You can get a lot of "bang" for your trail running dollar at this event, and I'm looking forward to sampling the many trail formats. My thanks to Beverly and Alan Abbs, the Sunsweet Team, and all the volunteers for their hard work in making this vision into reality. I look forward to a great time.
(ps, if you need maps of the races, let me know and I can send them your way)