Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Western States Aid Station I'm Most Looking Forward To - No Hands Bridge

Our synchroblog topic for today is "what Western States aid station are you most looking forward to?". That's a tough question, since I suspect they are all pretty awesome. Honestly, as a first-timer I'm looking forward to each and every one. But when it comes down to it, the one I'm most eager to find is No Hands Bridge (mile 96.7).

Why No Hands? I guess it's the symbolism. In my mind this aid station represents a crucial crossover moment in the first time you do this race. It's one last time across the great river, heading into the final climb. Your direction is clear and purposeful for 100 yards, brightened by the landing lights on either side. The finish is close enough to taste, but the race ain't over yet since there's still one big hill. It is the moment where triumph begins to elbow out the demons of defeat.

The "No Hands" Bridge (named by equestrian Ina Robinson, who would drop her reins to ride across the then guardrail-less bridge) is the "official gateway to Auburn". It has survived weather, breaking dams, and floods as a testament that mankind can persevere against nature. I think it's a fitting monument for finding the courage to push it five more miles.

I've seen No Hands Bridge many times, but I suspect it's never more beautiful than at midnight after a 96-mile adventure (note that I'm hoping to be there before midnight!). The aid station volunteers will certainly take care of me, and I'm hoping for a hug to give me that last boost to the finish. Then I'll come back to No Hands to cheer on the others!

Hear what the other synchrobloggers are saying:

Craig Thornley likes the River Crossing
Andy Jones Wilkins is looking forward to Devil's Thumb
Sean Meissner's favorite is the Finish Line
Bryon Powell enjoys Cal 2


  1. Ha. I remember the first time I reached No Hands Bridge. It was 1981 and I had NO BUSINESS being on the course at all, let alone that far into the race. I was so unprepared. I reached No Hands and my pacer said "only 4 more miles to go!" It sounded so far to me that I started to cry and stagger and ended up sitting down in the middle of the bridge, in the dirt, unwilling to get up and face the end of the run. I finally did, crossing the finish line in 27:01.


  2. That's an awesome story, Kathy! Way to rally...


  3. A nice bit of history.
    And just make sure you head towards AUBURN after filling up at No Hands, to avoid any "accidental" extra miles ;-)

  4. My first year there I tried to squat and pee right after the bridge - and my legs seized...couldn't get back up, had my pacer pull me standing. Ever since, I don't try to sit down anywhere after mile 50:) Next year I saw No Hands in illumination. That was a cool sight...

  5. Really enjoy these synchroblogs and the story telling in the blogs as well as in the comments. This is the stuff that gets me pumped up to help out and aspire or maybe just daydream about someday running a 100. Good luck to all, see you at Browns Bar!!!


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