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Old September 7th, 2019, 05:47 AM   #1
ese002
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Default Double Trouble at the Red River

[Mostly written on the flight back from Fargo. I had hoped to have a suitable cover photo by now but race imagery seem to be scarce this year]

Race morning began more smoothly than typical. I caught the first bus (barely, but I caught it). No gear was left behind. I had time to warm up. The body seemed ready to go. I did swap the routing of the hydration pack hose at the start line but they went. It just meant I needed to suck down a gu a bit faster than I prefer.

And we were off! I was moving fast with other people. I went to take that first deep breath and it didnít deliver! I struggled to suck down what I presumed was Gu but it was not going willingly. As I struggled people were passing me. By the time I was was breathing normally, I was alone. The nearest pack was not far but far enough and drifting further away.

I remembered the early course to be quite nice last year. This was not that nice. Was it just the small stones added to the top? Or was I misled by having a pack with me then?

I chased for 5.5 miles before catching up with a straggler from the packs ahead. After the second rotation I noticed there were two shadows behind me. For about five miles we were three. Then the original straggler rotated off the lead and dropped off. We were two. We caught up to another drop off but he was as too spent to join us.

As we approached the tight right turn onto the river trail, we encountered a pair. We were going too fast and I was not paying adequate attention. I didnít crash but I did overshoot the turn and I had to u-turn back. I lost the pack. My former pack mate joining up with the duo. I could see them ahead for a while in the turns of the river trail. And then at a fork in the trail I lost them. I still donít understand that part. They hadnít been that far ahead. Had I made a wrong turn? Had they? But I kept encountering bikes and half marathon skaters. The trail section is a confusing but could all those people be wrong?

I grew more confident as I reached the end of the trail and transitioned to the urban phase. Lots of turns but the direction was always clear. In the end, the gps total was close enough to preclude any routing errors. I still donít know.

What I do know is that I came in at 1:30, not great for a tail wind. Also I had two opportunities to place: I could have held onto the fast pack from the start. That would have given me second place. I also could have made the turn. One of the duo we met took third. With all the alone time, I was hoping for good photos.

On further thought and self-check I donít think my Gu problem at the start was Gu or at least not just Gu. Gu isnít that hard to swallow. My sinuses have been acting up. At home, Iíve been using sinus rinses to forestall the sort of sinus infection disaster I experienced in New York last year. I guess I need to figure out how to do this on the road.

I saw a lot more familiar faces than I have in prior years. It looks like the traveling contingent has discovered Grand Forks. Attendance is up moderately from last year. Thatís good. Maybe this race will stick around long enough for me to figure it out. Next week Iím off to Duluth for my 10th Northshore, another race Iím still figuring out.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 09:48 PM   #2
gopherfan
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Default

Interesting write-up. I heard even the winner missed a turn. I was strongly considering a last minute trip for this race and was checking out the course map because I've heard missed turns are common. It is quite tricky. Most times no-show or poorly trained volunteers are blamed. Could they just invest in some signs to mark the turns appropriately?

If this race doesn't conflict with the Cookie Half next year, I'm going to plan on making it to Grand Forks.
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Old September 8th, 2019, 10:38 PM   #3
ese002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gopherfan View Post
Interesting write-up. I heard even the winner missed a turn. I was strongly considering a last minute trip for this race and was checking out the course map because I've heard missed turns are common. It is quite tricky. Most times no-show or poorly trained volunteers are blamed. Could they just invest in some signs to mark the turns appropriately?

If this race doesn't conflict with the Cookie Half next year, I'm going to plan on making it to Grand Forks.
The trail section is complicated. There are numerous forks that will take you off the route. There are volunteers to guide you on and off the trail but once on the trail you have to be observant and watch for markings on the surface. Since markings mostly only exist near junctions, the lack of markings can either mean you are just between junctions or you have left the route.
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