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Baldy Peaks 50K

by Tom Crull Near Claremont, CA July 24, 2004 Race Report From The Rear I was awakened by Bartender Bob Barr flushing the toilet in cadence with the barking of a local dog. Time to get ready to see Messer’s Gassan and Roth for another ritual desecration of one’s body. Mr. Trail Safety gave his hydration and numerous warnings with his usual vigor, but as we would later learn, there are still those hot shot runners who think living in heat, higher altitudes or being a fast runner exempts them from the warnings and rules of this little 50k distance. Hey Stud muffins, this is BP, pay attention and listen up, the Barking Ducks are rumored to be in right echelon formation looking for WMD at the summit! We were off down Ice House Canyon, right turn at the Church and on our way to Bear Flat aid station manned by the world’s best and most dedicated volunteers, Terry and Larry Grill. These runners back pack water to the three and one half mile mark, which is not an easy hike. Believe me, water is needed at that point. I was following Mary Yoga Campilongo and Surfer Jennifer Evans to the Summit. It was with one hell of a lot of laughs. Following Campi’s legs is a treat, believe me! We arrived at the Summit and sat down so Jenn could get her blisters fixed. Hey Jenn, you don’t break in new shoes on a long run. This would put her in her Doctors office on Monday. We left for the Notch where they both smoked my rear end on the downhill’s. So much for, you’re not getting rid of us Tom. The Notch is always manned by fun people, and they really take care of you. To get to the Notch you go through Jana Fastashellowitz Gustman’s favorite part of the trail, Devil’s Backbone. What a treat trying to get by Lifetime AARP hikers on the loose rocks. I thought the Park Rangers required wide load signs! From the Notch down the switchbacks to Manker to be pummeled, abused and hugged by my bud, Geri K. I was second from the end so I got to hike, you don’t run this next section, unless you are a mutant animal, with Larry Grill who stayed with me till the finish. This climb is tough! Arriving at the Sierra Hut you really get to see the toughest volunteers in Ultra running. They back pack all the supplies up one steep, long, rocky trail at altitude. Don’t complain at this point, they’ve been there. Leaving the Hut you face your maker. This section is horrible. You cross a lovely boulder field then a Muther of a climb on rough trail to the top of Baldy again. Thank God for cool winds at the top. Larry Grill, at this point was a blessing to have around. I was cratering fast. Walk 20 yards sit in a shady spot, etc., all the way to the top. Back down to the Notch at a reasonable, for me, pace. I think at this point I was only 8-10 minutes ahead of the cut-off. From the Notch up to Thunder Mountain. At this point in the run, it’s a tough mile and a half climb. About 200 yards from the top, I had to bend over and rest. Unfortunately Joe Bonzi Magruder, the turn around marshal spotted me. ” Heeeeeey Crull you lazy piece of —–, I’ve seen snow melt faster then you’re moving.” Joe is such a motivational speaker that I promptly mustered the energy to shout my own obscenities and get to the turn around. The trip back down to the Notch was fun. At this point I was lucky to run with Mark, Joe and Larry’s wife Terry. It was a treat because my stomach, back and all parts of my body were in shut down mode, and they kept me talking. We really picked it up on the 3 1/2 miles down to Manker, where I was now DFL and Geri, I know, was ready to get out of there and throw some Michael Moore Voodoo dolls at me. From Manker, I picked up the pace on the hot, smelly asphalt road to the finish, dodging all those dam Crotch Rockets on the curves. You know, if those dirt bags would buy a Harley, at least you’d hear them coming and have some chrome to look at. Down to Ice House Canyon Road, a left turn and a nice little 1/4 mile UP HILL hike to the finish. This is one tough run!!! The whole race is superbly organized with really great sponsors and volunteers. Where else could you go and get kissed by the Race Director? Tom Crull
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