With the new year off to a running start at the Resolution Run 5 mile, my next goal was to run (walk?) in the Fat Ass 25K (7000+ ft of elevation). This is a very informal trail run on Tiger Mt., 15 miles or so east of Seattle.
Basically, you show up, sign the book indicating the distance you intend to run, and start running at 8:00 a.m. No money, no fuss. I'd talked it up after the Resolution Run and I was very pleasantly surprised to see Patty and Trevor at the start. We chatted until the official start time then we were off.
Trevor and his dog shot up to the front never to be seen again that day. Turns out he finished the 25K in 2:25.
Tiger Mt. is a maze of trails. I'm always fearful of getting lost when I go there because not all trails are signed on the ground nor marked on maps. The race organizer keeps the getting lost factor down by pre-running the course and hanging Christmasy ornaments and things at each turn. By being alert one won't get lost.
The run starts out with a gentle drop towards the west (Issaquah), passes behind Issaquah High School, then climbs for a couple of miles. It's a very gentle rise trending generally south and east. Ultimately we reached the summit of West Tiger #1, then Tiger #2, and finally Tiger #1 where we made our final descent.
Here's a cue sheet for those interested:
|0||0||High Pt. Lower Parking Lot|
|0.5||0.5||Swamp Trail (Shortened) Right at Power Line off Upper Park Lot|
|0.6||1.1||Bonneville Power Line (Double Power Line) - jog to right|
|0.1||1.2||Brink Trail (Left)|
|0.4||1.6||Right at Power Line to Overlook|
|0.7||2.3||Issaquah High School Trail (Detour around Construction)|
|0.7||3||Poo Poo Pt. Trail|
|0.2||3.2||Cross Power Line|
|2.8||6||One View Trail (continue up)|
|1||7||Right on Tiger Mt. Trail (TMT)|
|0.9||8.8||15 Mile RR Grade|
|0.3||9.1||Paw Print Rest Station|
|0.7||9.8||Continue on 15 Mile RR Grade|
|0.9||10.7||Left and up Bootleg|
|0.4||11.1||Right on NIER bypass Trail (West Tiger #1)|
|0.3||11.4||Down Tiger Mt. Road, Climb over Gate|
|0.5||11.9||Up to Tiger #2|
|0.5||12.4||Down and Up Saddle to Tiger #3|
|2.7||15.1||Down West Tiger (Tradition Lk) Trail past Up Park Rest Room|
|0.5||15.6||High Pt. Lower Parking Lot|
The day was pretty warm at the start so I had to remove my jacket a mile or so into the run. I packed it away in my fanny/hydration pack and hooked up with Patty as she was coming by. We ended up running/yakking together for the entire run.
At West Tiger #1 we came out of the forest and the wind was just howling across the ridge top. It was so cold that we dropped back into the forest and put our jackets on. I didn't know it at the time but when I pulled my jacket out of my fanny pack I also pulled out my car key.
This was clearly a BIG problem when I got back to the car and couldn't get in! Was I pissed.
Patty was kind enough to give me a ride to my house so that I could at least get home.
At that point I was faced with a decision about leaving my car at the trail head overnight or trying to get back to it that day. I'm the only driver in our house and that's also the only car that we have. After eating and clearing my head with helpful insight from Janet we figured out that I could load my bike onto a bus, ride the bus to Issaquah, and then pedal on from there to retrieve the car.
This is exactly what I did and it worked out just fine.
Now there's a key lying somewhere along the trail at West Tiger #1 waiting to be retrieved.
The race organizer took some cool photos on the run. Many thanks to Ron Nicholl for graciously allowing me to post them here.