Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mountain Masochist Trail Run “MMTR” 2011

THE 29th year –Pre Race and Post Race epilogue


Once in a lifetime runners will put their names on the Application for their first time (the man in yellow) to run the MMTR50. Fools on the other hand - return often #90!

This is the” Tale of the Trail” - “elation and disappointment” and the untold stories behind the scenes we want to share. This is intended to be a light hearted account of running, crewing , the joy of victory and the agony of defeat.

With high hopes, pre-race jitters and excitement, hopes of new records set and old ones broken, new PR’s achieved, new memories to share, runners, both new and returning listened as Clark Zealand and David Horton spoke of the challenges the MMTR faces for 2011. With changes on the horizon the future of the race course in jeopardy and unknown, this promised to evoke a lasting memory for those who have challenged themselves in the past and those first time runners stepping on virgin soil attempting this epic and historical race to put their names in the journals of Mountain Masochist Trail Run finishers.

We were crewing for three people for this 29th year of the MMTR. Dorothy (Buffalo Butt) Hunter Bib 142, vying for her 10th Masochist finish, John Billy Goat Cooper (Bib 90) going for #6 finish and our newbie going for his first finish , Rob Carbaugh, (aka Hot chili pepper man) bib #275.

Our friend Rob has completed several marathons, ½ marathons and helped pace our Beast runners, John Cooper and Jason Nuss in the past. After Rob successfully completed Promise Land 2011, he decided to sign up for the MM50 2011. Dr. Pain (aka Horty) made a special presentation of Hot Chili Pepper running shorts, to a speechless, stoic Rob, who is usually a chatty never slows down to breath kind of guy was in a vapor lock. A gift from his long time friends seated at the table Friday night the flamboyant shorts were intended to motivate and encourage Rob to succeed in accomplishing this soon to be toughest athletic event ever of Rob’s life. Rob’s look was one of shock and disbelief. The normal chatty fellow was speechless. From here the story unfolds.

A Van was rented to carry the entourage and capture all the camaraderie and adventure. We soon discovered that we carried more gear and baggage both emotionally and physically than the Kardashians ever could. Awakening early , our party of 11 departed our Evington house , race ready at 4:45 a.m. Indelible etched memories were sure to follow, capturing all the awe and exhilaration we could ever pack into one day….. with the start of the 29th running of the MMTR.

Jason Nuss , Chief Driver by default of drawing the short straw with navigation skills diminishing, was too often told he was driving to close to the edge, however in retrospect we spent all day literally “on the edge”.. You may have viewed us singing and hollering words of motivation and encouragement while cruising by in a large white Chevy van. How successfully can one drive a large white Chevy van crewing with two motion sick people in it on the MMTR course one might ask? Or how do you turn a big white 12 person Chevy van around on single lane roads? Or with steep drop offs on one side and two vehicles attempting to pass each other at the same time? With Sheer determination and fortitude, Jason Nuss took charge maneuvering the van like a driver at a Nascar event… despite only running off the road one time, throwing gravel and sand while going in reverse on the reservoir road, accomplishing parking in a space between a tree and a car not large enough for a VW bug and backing down over a nearly unattainable grass ditch ... we prevailed…and the reputation of our driver, Jason Nuss lives on.

Those who have never ventured down the winding tote road to get to the Dancing Creek Aid Station fail experience the excitement of runners “dancing magically” across rocks that traverse the stream from one side to the other. Some attempts are successful showing unwavering skill as runners delicately place each foot precariously on rocks one in front of the other to prevent a plunge into the cold icy waters or looking for an alternate set of rocks to cross on such as John Cooper #90 and Rob did.


Others, choose a quicker approach, such as Buffalo Butt, Dorothy Hunter splashing straight thru the middle like a determined salmon attempting to get up stream to mate. We witnessed one new virgin MMTR runner who fell and rolled around in the creek as if noodling for a fish then finally, surfacing totally drenched with a twisted ankle forcing him to leave behind his dreams of finishing the 29th MMTR at mile 11.9. Sadly his dreams continued to dissolve as we help carry his bags to his car back at the Parkway his vision for success ended as the first DNF and the words of Dr. Horton, resonating…. 18% of you won’t finish the race, - will YOU be in that 18%. So the statistics begin …..which proves Horton does know what he is talking about - Sometimes !!!

As we proceeded on to the gate Aid station, we find our first runner, John Billy Goat Cooper #90 comes up the hill with his usual steady, energizer bunny trek style.


Followed by our second runner, Rob Carbaugh #275 looking for a dose of pain relief from Advil, IB or Tylenol complaining of back and shooting leg pain. John and Rob pressed on and our third runner, Buffalo Butt, Dorothy Hunter #142, came bounding up the hill looking fresh as she had started, not having to rely on her usual diet of Imodium, Red Bull and ginger snaps to get her through the race day.

We loaded up the 12 person Chevy van and proceeded on to make the winding journey to the Reservoir Aid Station…. Where the first sighting of Rob’s Pictorial Poster flaunting the Chili pepper Short and all it’s grandeur was unveiled …


His physique in the chili pepper shorts were a sight to behold, no doubt, a part of history now, and unquestionably debuted on Face book by Saturday afternoon. Many runners, crew and innocent bystanders admired the picture poster (with caption reading MMTR GO Big or Go Home ) at the Reservoir Aid Station, including Rob. He laughed as he saw the almost life size poster of himself clad in the unquestionably 3 sizes too small trendy running shorts which he put on while pacing John Cooper at Grindstone as a joke! A pose ensued resulting in a speedy Kodak moment to capture the masquerade. Rob’s laughter at the Reservoir aid station was short lived as the back and leg pain continued haunting him. He stated he would assess the situation at the half way point, grimaced and moved on. Upon arrival at Long Mountain wayside he decided crossing the finish line for the 29th MMTR was not going to happen and dropped out. He will have that excitement and story ahead some other year. In severe pain, he crawled into the back of the van after succumbing to a long day remaining of pain and discomfort as we had no way to get him, his wife and son back home with only one vehicle. He would eventually be transported to the finish line but not before experiencing more adventures along the way.

The day was beautiful for most; however, Dorothy Hunter and Rob Carbaugh would disagree profoundly. As Rob laid in the van suffering from back and leg pain ailments Dorothy prevailed only after finally finding relief behind a large rock protecting her modesty while she purged the internal demons from her bowels. That helped her day get better as she pressed on not relying on her usual diet previously stated, but now eating fig bars, peppermint patties and ginger snaps enabling her to get across the finish line successfully for 10th MMTR!. Our Billy Goat John finished his 6th MMTR successfully and without incident – no blisters nor chaffing… and close to a new PR.

The crew team then convinced Buffalo Butt (Dorothy Hunter) to enter Rosey’s bench press competition to see what the little wiry gal could achieve. Doing this after slaying a 50 mile race -who would have thunk! Rosey behind her all the way with words of encouragement maintaining his safety spotter position finally released the bar bell and let Dorothy’s go to work. As everyone chanted 1,2,3,4.. Dorothy with very little help ;-) thought she was bench pressing the world. Rosey motivating her every step of the way to pass Horton’s record successfully did it with 5 extra reps to boot.. When completed cheers and praise were yelled and she marched right up to the finish line to proudly tell Horty she passed him by 5 reps. This proved to be some legit quality entertainment after a long day on the course for all.

After our runners completed the grueling course we loaded everyone in the van, got Rob upright and propped up in the corner and our ride home became more interesting and colorful mile by mile as Jason Nuss our chief driver – by default proceeded down the winding road from Montebello with our car sick companions - a very nauseated car sick Dorothy in the front seat, Jill (Rob’s wife) in the next seat watching out the front window in hope of eluding sickness, John Billy Goat Cooper in the second row next to the sliding door, not feeling the greatest either and Diane next to the window behind our driver. Rob in the third seat back looking more now like a Halloween Zombie staring forward into space, his son Davis next to him and Gloria Nuss on the end. Brooke, Jessica and Elliott Carbaugh completed the back of the pack and the girls became our singing sensations on the way back to the hotel. All the while Jason making fun of vomiting -half way down the mountain, Dorothy needed a barf bag, heat off, windows down, retching and dry heaving into a zip lock bag, which she reminded us was see through. Her husband Todd (who had a bike race and couldn’t be present to enjoy the fun, was sending Gloria Nuss a text telling her to make sure everyone stayed way out of the way of the projectile vomiting that would surely take place shortly.) We needed to pull over so Buffalo Butt could get out of the van. Coincidently upon getting out, she decided at that time to also change her clothes.. All modesty went out the door literally… Back in the van, we proceeded on listening to false hurling in the front, singing from the back, snoring from the end seat as all the tired warriors departed on towards Lynchburg. We needed to return the van as soon as we arrived to Lynchburg. The logistical issues began unfolding. As soon as we reached the hotel, Dorothy was outside the van hardly able to walk and retching at high octave in the parking lot of the Kirkley with see through barf bag in hand. Rob was doing Zombie maneuvers trying to exit the van with not much success. Bags were being transferred outside the van with the swiftness of a professional doorman at a fancy hotel wanting a great tip. All the while random utterances of wisdom were being said by the Driver Jason while Jessica and Brooke continued singing in hopes to drown out the agony. After much deliberation a plan developed as to who was going to stay and take showers – Brooke, Jessica, Dorothy Buffalo Butt Hunter, John Billy Goat Cooper and Elliott Carbaugh and who was following going to help return van and who would drive to Evington, then returning to the Kirkley hotel for the dinner and award ceremony. Gloria Nuss would follow Diane to return the van and we would return back to the hotel. Jason Nuss would leave taking the Carbaugh family back to Evington to pick up their belongings and car and head home to Chesapeake. The original plan was everyone was spending the night at John and Diane’s in Evington “joyously” & go home on Sunday.. We had planned an evening around the fire pit enjoying the exchange of trail stories and folklore … After the untimely and painful DNF for Rob, the plans changed. John Billy Goat Cooper left his truck at the Kirkley Friday night so we would have transportation there after returning the van on Saturday night. Brooke also left her car at the hotel, as did Dorothy Buffalo Butt and Jason and Gloria’s vehicle rounded out the plan. We needed to be able to transport 11 people back to Evington on Saturday night after the van was returned in Lynchburg.

Our home is not large, so the Carbaugh family (4 people) spent the night in our motor home (seen at the entrance to Grindstone), which we duly named the Carbaugh Suite for the weekend. Their son Elliott rolled in late from Friday night from Virginia Tech and so all their belongings were in the motor home, meaning that when Jason took them to Evington, no entry to the house was needed….. that is until we discovered John Billy Goat Cooper left his truck keys at home.

I wrote down specific instructions on how to successfully deactivate the house alarm and where John’s keys were located and he headed out with the Carbaugh family. Rob seated shivering covered in a blanket with the seat heaters on high in the front seat, Jill (the car sick one) sitting in the back seat with son Davis. Elliott was spending the night and heading back to school Sunday morning. On the way to Evington, Robs’ nausea increases and now he starts throwing up. Jason driving like Mario Andretti on the country road trying to get one more retching runner delivered quickly. During the drive Jason begins questioning Rob, when was the last time he drank anything … and for that matter – when was the last time he urinated and what was the color? Jason has a way of being very colorful one way or another. Rob was severely dehydrated even though up to the point of dropping out he had several bottles of water as later reported by the Billy Goat. Jason and the Carbaugh’s arrive at the house in Evington. While Jill and Davis are gathering their belongings from the motor home, Jason has made his first attempt at the alarm. An attempt that he thought was successful. Although we do have indoor plumbing, Jason being an ultra runner felt the need to pee in my flower garden outside, during his mid stream relief the sound of the screaming siren of the house alarm goes off. Diane had told him if he set the alarm off to just go to the phone, wait for it to ring because the alarm company would call and give them the code. He was outside the door peeing when the phone rang and he missed the call. Next on their list is to call was my cell phone, which by the Grace of God I had on and happened to be walking across the Kirkley parking lot into the hotel. Had I been anyplace other than where I was I would not have heard it. I answer the call and the caller says, “Lynchburg alarm – is this Diane ?”

I answer “yes with a smile” She says, “We have a burglar alarm reported at your home and the alarm is going off.” Now, please picture this… a man dressed in a black cap, black coat, black pants, throwing bags into a black sedan that looks like it could belong to someone in the hood is at our house with the siren blowing and then she asks me this question, “Do you want me to cancel the police car dispatched to your house?”. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud… Yes Ma’am, please cancel the police… It is a friend and this is the end of a very long day. So as the night closed for the 29th MMTR our gratitude goes forth to Clark Zealand, Dave Horton, Dr. George Wortley, Rosey and all the many volunteers for your time, effort and all the love you put forth to make these races successful for all of us. From our runners and our crew we thank you and will return for more adventures for MMTR 30 in 2012.

Thanks for the wonderful Memories…. Penned with love and lots of memories. Jason and Gloria Nuss, John Billy Goat Cooper, Diane Hensley, Dorothy Buffalo Butt Hunter, Brooke Helsabeck , Jessica Ehrbar, Rob chili pepper shorts Carbaugh, Jill, Davis and Elliott Carbaugh….

1 comment:

Craig said...

Great story!

You are a great writer,

I was so far behind all your group, I missed all this entertainment,

thanks for capturing the moment,

Craig Burns
Vienna, va