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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Four Peaks Challenge 2016

This is the second year for this event which consisted last year of a hiking challenge.  The hiking challenge included 4 hills in the area for a total of about 11 miles of hiking.  This year, they added a new option.  Instead of driving to each trailhead, you could sign up for the Elite challenge and follow a route of roads and trails to get to and from the Four Peaks.  This version consisted of about 20 miles of trails and hills.  Yes, if you know me at all, you know I elected the crazy long version.

I got there about 6:00 for registration which was handled smoothly and efficiently.  They had pancakes and bacon and oatmeal.  I had some oatmeal and put my race number on and then dropped my stuff in my car.  The nice thing about small races is parking is not a huge nightmare.

At 6:20 they had some announcements for those of us doing the long race including some notes on the course.  Then we lined up at the start line for the countdown to 6:30 and we were off.

The first couple miles were pretty flat and easy and most of the pack stayed within sight of each other but people started to find their own paces.  We got to Calderwood and the the group really started spreading out.  There was one spot on the trail where I got a bit turned around and almost took the wrong route which would have bypassed the summit and cut some distance. i think some others may have accidentally done that since I know there were more people behind me that I didn't see again till they passed me when the route doubled back towards the start/finish line later in the race.  I grabbed a water bottle from the aid station and filled my water bottle at the bottom and took off, trying to focus on keeping my breathing from getting too labored.



As I got close to the next trail segment, I caught up with a guy and we chatted and then a lady caught up with us and the three of us kept pushing each other on for the next several miles.

This event is organized by my church and supported extensively by a lot of volunteers.  It was fun to see a lot of my friends out there supporting the event.  One of the aid stations for the runners was manned by Pastor Brad who was supportive and encouraging.

When I passed the 10 mile marker, the volunteers said 2 hours and 12 minutes and I was feeling a bit tired but overall pretty good.   Even though we had passed part of the West Wing trail, we had not climbed that summit so East Wing was technically the 2nd of 4 summits.  By the time I got to the top, I was starting to feel dead legs.



On the way to the last peak, the route took us up to the summit of West Wing.  By this time, there were more hikers on the trails and congestion started to play a role.  That didn't play a huge role for me because I had started to have an upset stomach and had started doing more walking in an effort to get it to settle down.



By the time I made it to the top of Sunrise, I was feeling a bit lightheaded and was mostly walking.  I stopped long enough to take a panoramic picture.  I like this shot because you can see Calderwood to the left, West Wing straight ahead and East Wing to the left just past the dam.

About a mile and a half from the finish line, my lightheaded feeling got pretty bad and I had to sit down for a bit.  A group of hikers stopped to make sure I was ok and one of them went back to one of the volunteers to get some extra water.  After a bit of cooling off I started to walk again and when he caught up with me and gave me some more water, I started feeling a lot better and made it to the finish line.

All-in-all, this was a great event and a very tough, challenging course.  I will plan on doing this one again, hopefully with a bit more training and improving my approximately 6.5 hour time.

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