Even with the advantage of the higher starting elevation, the trail was a rough go. Rockodiles waited along nearly the entire stretch. They aren't so much a problem on the way up, since speed and gravity aren't so critical an element - especially at my speed - but on the way down, they would prove to be problematic.
We started early and it was oddly dark and warm: overnight clouds had moved in and actually dropped a Nevada downpour: getting the ground exactly evenly wet, and no more. But with the clouds, the typically bright predawn was not happening. At the park and ride, we all met up, and had a few newbies-to-us joining the regular crew: Lindy, Melissa and Carol. We checked their resumés for sense of humor, and seeing it all was in order, we piled into a couple of cars and headed to Echo Lake Marina to start.
Speaking of climb, it was a steady, rocky grind that deceptively resulted in 3000' of gain over the course of the 13 mile run, nearly all of it in the first half.
We spent a longer-than-normal time at the top admiring the view, and generally puttering around the lake. I think the inactivity was detrimental to my overall performance. I was hurting like the end of a run for the decent. What with the rockodiles waiting to grab, twist and generally mangle the unwary runner, the added effect of pains in the legs made for a slow descent for me. I guess I tried to adhere to the motto "get up quick, go down slow." I liked to think of myself as a fixed-gear: one speed for ascents and descents!
We did have a couple of crashes on the way down, though. Gino, sometimes trail dog, sometimes trail pig, took out Melissa with his patented "pass on the left, get perpendicular to the trail and stop" technique. She ended up with a scraped hand and leg. Shannon was the "winner" of the takes-a-spill award. I didn't see it (she runs far to fast for me to see her on a downhill!), but I did see the goose egg on her forehead when I finally DFLed it to the parking lot.
Enjoy the photos! more on the home page slide show.