EduranceBuzz.com Cedar Ridge Trail Run Race Report by Larry Kocian
I Didn’t Hit the Wall, but I Did Hit a Bridge
The Cedar Ridge Trail Run promised Formula 1 trail racing where the action will be fast, fun, furious, and a little delirious on a steep and sometimes technically challenging climbs and descents. This description was exactly what was delivered. The 36K course was four 9K loops with around 1200ft elevation gain per loop. The first two were run counter-clockwise and the last two run clockwise. Many of the runners were worried around the recent rain making the course too muddy but by the 5amstart, much of the moisture had been absorbed and the only real problem were the bridges. I had set a goal to break 4 hours for the race, but wasn’t quite sure on its feasibility since I hadn’t had many long runs over the summer. I had run into Olga King before the race and knew she always ran a strong consistent pace so for the first two miles of the morning start I ran with her. Somewhere around the first aid station I lost track of her and slowed a bit figuring she would catch up, but I found out later she was having some headlamp issues that were making the first lap difficult. The course was already difficult enough to read with a 200 lumen lamp, I felt bad that I didn’t stick back to help her out since we were keeping a pretty brisk pace till that point. Another runner, Mike O’Connor from Ontario, was also having some headlamp issues and ended up running the last few miles of
the first lap with me. I was surprised that I came in, even after a short restroom break, right at an hour. Daylight had broke and I still felt fresh, so I began to push the pace harder on the next lap. I was able to make up some time and knew that since the next lap was clockwise that I would be able to see how far behind the lead group I was. I also knew it would be encouraging to see some of my friends running their second 18K loop on the way to their finish. At the turnaround I counted off that I was in 7th place and only 10 minutes behind the lead, which was much faster than I expected for myself. I filled up another bottle with the Roctane drink mix and decided since I felt good I would try to keep up the pace and try not to lose too much time for the leaders. The downhills were getting pretty precarious. Hikers had invaded the course and in large groups and weren’t always making much of an effort to give right of way even after verbally signaling that we were passing through, which added another layer of difficulty to the course. About 14 miles in, I was running a difficult downhill section, trying to avoid rocks, roots, and a large line of hikers that had populated half the path. Little did I realize that at the bottom of the hill was one of the aforementioned slip-n-slide wooden bridges. As soon as I hit it, I realized my mistake and had zero traction. I hit the bridge truss rods as full speed and thought for sure that I was about to go careening off the bridge and end up in some Dallas hospital bed. Luckily for me, the truss hit just an inch above my left knee and I took most of the impact in the muscle belly of my right thigh. I got up and self assessed. Any broken bones or loss of mobility…nope. Can I run without hurting too much…yes. My right thigh was throbbing but I figured I could still hold on to a strong finish. I was able to run the flats and downhills without any problems, even if I was a bit more cautious heading downhill, but on the uphills I noticed that I was having to rely on my calves a lot more so I began to alternate hiking & running up. Around the Fossil Valley aid station Mike and I started trading places and joked that we were “Team Hoka.” He would pass me on the ups and I would pass him on the flats and downs. On the fourth lap we started talking and came to a easy truce. I was really just looking to break 4 hours and he was happy with a top ten finish. We ended up running the last lap in together and had a good time chatting it up. He was suffering from a strain himself so it helped me keep my own pain in perspective and realize that I was not the only one hurting out there. It was nice having some company and I think it helped both of us to continue to push hard through a painful lap. About a quarter mile lap, I told him to make sure he finished ahead of me since he took the lead through most of the last lap. I joked that I don’t think that it would be exciting for spectators to see two guys sprinting it out in Hokas, that it would be about as fun as watching two minivans drag-racing. We finished right
at 3:55 in 7th and 8th place. The award for winning was a beautiful bottle of honey with a finisher’s wooden keychain; which unfortunately, I left at the race. I had a great time hanging out with some amazing Dallas trail runners; Jacqueline, Chanc, Nikki and others. They really have a great community up there and it was fun to trade Houston/Dallas running stories. Around 20 minutes later I got to see Olga finishing strong. A few of their other friends came in a little later. A few of them had planned to finish earlier but due to injury had to slow down, but stuck in there through the pain and finished before 6 hours was up. I had brought my Roll Recovery R8 and it definitely got some use and new fans there as well. The Endurance buzz event was great. I would recommend their races without doubt if you are ever in the DFW area.