Trail runners for some time had all been talking about one race this year, the Grindstone 100. The word (Grindstone) was passed around like folklore. Some comments made the race sound almost other worldly, other comments made the race seem purely masochist. After running Hellgate I knew that I wanted to run the Grindstone.
My description for the Grindstone is BRUTAL. The entire 100 miles you are either climbing or descending. The climbs I rate as monster, huge, big, and climbs. There are a few spots of relief , but they are very short. The race is an honest run. Honest meaning that the course is not going to give you anything. The course gives you nothing but climb after climb, miles and miles of rocks, steep descents, and some beautiful sights.
The hardest time for me was within the first twenty miles. I had already fallen twice and I was having some hydration issues, but as I entered the third aid station I refilled my fuels and left quickly. I did not want to give myself the option of quitting. It was not long after aid station three that the voices in my head decided to give up, and let me run in peace.
I feel that the climb out of aid station five was the longest. I was well rewarded when the trees parted at the top of the wild oak trail, because the night sky was breathtaking. I had not seen stars like that since my time in Iraq during Desert Storm. I started to run with Stephen Baker after aid station six and enjoyed the company. We had both ran the training runs and knew that it was easier running on the return trip. Still the course was tough and especially the descent back down to the north river gap aid station. I continued on from north river gap aid station by myself and kept only one idea in mind-keep moving forward. Coming back into the Dowells draft aid station I had a burst of energy and enjoyed every minute. I realized that I could finish before dark and that was enough to keep me in very good spirits. As strange as it may sound I really did have a good time. I kept my momentum going on to the finish line, but I did have one nasty fall about two and a half miles from the finish. I could not think of a worst place to fall but I did and it hurt, but the pain from falling and the miles of running were coming to an end. The step that means the most in all ultra races finally approached the finish line step. I hugged the totem and received my buckle. I could think of no better way to spend a weekend in the mountains.
I would like to congratulate Dr. Zealand on the Grindstone. It was fantastic. All of the aid stations were great and eager to help. The aid stations were well stocked and very filling. The Grindstone was all that it was expected to be and then-some. I am already planning on next year.
Thanks again and see you at Mountain Masochist.