Well, as feared, the Fragrance Lake 50km trail race was canceled (or possible postponed). Bellingham is under a 6″ thick sheet of ice, and the trails on Chuckanut mountain are icy, snowy, slushy, and dangerous. The access road that would be used for any emergency evacuations is closed. Destination Trail canceled the race (saying they’d reschedule it when they can), and it makes good sense. I can’t fault them. I’m disappointed, but in the weather, not the company.
So we’ve adapted in a couple of ways. First, we signed up for the Badger Mountain 50k. It’s at the end of March, and we’ll do what we can in Southeastern Washington. It’s actually about a 55km race, being listed as 34 miles. We expect it to be windy! It’s real ridge running. Fewer big hills that Fragrance Lake, and a faster cutoff pace. A total of about 4100′ of gain. I think it’s another ambitious but doable challenge. Depending on if we get early start or not, we’ll have to keep up either a 15 minute or a 17 minute pace.
And then, this Saturday, the same day that we were planning to do the Fragrance Lake ultra, we are doing the Fort Ebey trail marathon instead. Fort Ebey is an old military base on Whidbey Island. The marathon is 26.2 miles and has about 5500′ of gain. But no sustained climbs and mostly non-technical trails. We’ll need to keep up a 16 minute pace, which I think we can do.
So lots of fun running to do despite the disappointment of the weather. It’s been a record-breakingly wet and snowy winter here in Seattle, which is likely a consequence of global climate change. More humid, slightly warmer air has more water in it. So when it does get cold, there’s more precipitation. I fear we may be in store for more slushy, frozen winters as time goes by. Which is no fun, but at least the mountains will get a lot of snow, and they need it. Of course that means a later, shorter exploring season. Alas.
But all things considered, I’m pleased with what we can do. It’s going to be a long tough run Saturday, which is what we’ve trained for. Can’t ask for much more than that.