I made a decision the morning of the race to run it again, since my marathon training plan called for 8 miles for the day, and this would give me at least 6.66 of 'em. I ran Lucifer's last year, and in the inaugural year, and it's really great. The distance is short enough to go all out on flat and downhill stretches, but the wicked elevation helps keep the pace in check, too. I arrived a few minutes early to warm up and same-day register, and enjoyed talking to a few fellow runners before we got started at 10 a.m. Here's how Ian describes the race on the RNR web site:
6.66 miles w/ devils in the details. Just short enough to push hard. But how to do it. The first 3 miles which takes you up 1,400 feet w/ countless stairs….the calf and lung burn tapered only by the beauty of the trail and waterfalls you'll pass? Or save it in hopes of letting it all go on the final flowing 3 miles of single-track…rolling as fast as your quad's breaking will allow you to move.
I had an 18-mile training run the day prior, but my legs were feeling pretty good so I green-lighted a strong effort for the day. Ian threw in a small loop in the beginning to give us a true 6.66 mile experience, which was nice. I started out fast on the first half-mile, which was flat and on pavement, but scaled things back as we started to climb. I knew what was coming! It's been incredibly dry this year, so the first water crossing at the road barely got me wet, but Butternut Creek, about 3.5 miles in, got my feet fully doused with about 6 inches of water. My footing was sure for most of the race (including the carpet of roots a few miles in), but one particular bend in the course had me on my hands and knees before I regained my balance with the help of a tree. No scrapes or bruises today!
Lucifer's is always a good time!
As always, I enjoyed the downhill single-track sections, and someone did a fantastic job with a brush hog keeping vegetation away from the trail margins. I watched the remaining distance tick down on my watch, and was grateful to make the final pitch down to the campground area for the finish, some much-needed water (I carried about 12 ounces with me and used it all) and some delicious watermelon.
All in all, a fantastic day on the trails courtesy of Red Newt Racing! I came in 7th out of 117 with a 1:00:08. After getting back home, having a copious amount of coffee and watching the replay of the women's triathlon in Rio (amazing ...), I drew this gem as part of my #365DayDraw project. Seems I was influenced just a bit by the race's title.
Cover Photo: The Ascend Collective