The Dunlap clan headed up to Lake Tahoe last weekend, and we were able to fit in two events on Saturday. I got to do the XTerra Nevada 10k, a two loop trail run in Incline Village, NV, while Rocky the Pug took on the K9 Challenge obstacle course. Thanks to the friendly XTerra community of racers and volunteers, we had a wonderful time. Rocky most of all!
The XTerra Nevada 5k/10k run is part of the "XTerra Weekend" that takes over this little town once a year. While us trail runners were having fun racing through the trees, hard core off-road triathletes were racing up to snow-topped peaks on Sat and/or going for the longer National Championship course on Sunday. The chilly and wet conditions made for muddy fun for all.
I lined up at the start of the 10k and got a few laughs when I whipped out my camera. They warned me about what I soon was going to find out - there are too many tight turns and fast straightaways to be taking pictures! I guess toting a camera is more of an ultra thang. ;-) But I wanted to try and get a few shots of the golden aspens, flowing creeks, boulders, and happy runners all mixing it up with nature. I chatted with Trent Ward from Folsom, CA, who was back from injury to give a 10k a try, and local Piers Stockwell, who had spent the year enjoying every Tahoe event he could enter (including an impressive 5th place finish at the Tahoe Marathon). As the cannon went off, we all slotted behind Piers who led us out to the single track.
They were right about this course! So many turns, creek crossings, and roots to hop it was difficult to get out of second gear. But it sure was fun! A few short-course experts got by me, including Scott Bolin who was geared up for the triathlon today but had to pass due to not having snow gear. Perhaps it was his fitness or frustration, but he soon found himself leading the pack.
I was glad to be following Piers since he had good knowledge of the course. Although it was well-marked, you'd only have to miss one to end up criss-crossed on a different section. I came in on the first lap in roughly fifth place (20 minutes flat), about 20 seconds off the lead and a few steps behind Piers. My lungs were bursting from the altitude, but I did my best to pick up the pace.
Piers was fast on the uphills and I gained ground on the downhills, and when we hit the last mile I was within a few seconds of him. But any shot of passing him disappeared when he glanced over his shoulder, saw me, and found one more gear. Darn! I finished in third place, 39:58, and caught up Scott Bolin (1st, 38:31), Piers (2nd, 39:41), and Courtenay Brown (1st Female, 41:57) at the award ceremony. Apparently quite a few people got off course, so there was quite a bit of speculation about who might have won. The Women's grand prize was two tickets to Hawaii, so Courtenay was stoked to hear her name! The Men's prize? A nice XTerra bag. Doh!
The K9 Challenge
Later in the day, Rocky and I headed back to XTerra headquarters for the K9 Challenge. Roughly 30 dogs were ready to try their hands (paws?) at the obstacle course of jumps, planks, tunnels, slalom, and see-saws for a chance to win a year supply of Breeders Choice dog food. Kids lined the course on all sides to see everything from Dachsunds to Danes outrun their owners. I've never done something like this with Rocky, but I've found there is little he won't do for a biskee. He strapped on his XTerra bandana, and we lined up for our turn!
Rocky did great, although he wasn't so sure about the tunnel. We had a comical session of me looking in one end and Rocky tilting his head, wondering if I was coming through. He tried to go over it, around it...anything but through it. We finally just skipped it (5 second penalty), and he happily mastered the see-saw before getting his treats. There were three other pugs who did great on the course, but the competition belonged to the big mutts. Rocky was sure to give out kisses to dogs and kids alike before passing out in the car. It's rough being a dog!
All in all, a fun day with the XTerra community. These guys really know how to put on a fabulous weekend! (More pics here)