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Rugged and Raw Trail Run 20 km Race Report: Hey, Who Turned on the Air Conditioning?

Recently I ran the Rugged and Raw 20 km trail scamper at a fun, challenging, and scenic little trail system at the Cedar Ridge Preserve, located a short drive southwest of Dallas. The whole family made the trip down and we were all excited for breakfast burritos at Pollo Salsa post-race.

Temps at the start were likely around 70F and pretty humid. The course starts off with two mini-loops (~1 km per loop) before running two loop (~9km per) along the main outer loop of the trails system. Add it all up and you have yourself a 20km trail run.

Some fun brief catch-up chats with Chanc, Nikki, Bud, and Hari as we waited for the “go!”.

Griffin and Ainsley hanging out with a new friend race morning.

Griffin and Ainsley hanging out with a new friend race morning.

The start of the race was a bit of running of the bulls.  The front guys took off and suddenly came to a halt as they butted up to caution tape. A few big eyes and arms in the air…before everyone became aware of the white arrow in the grass that directed us to get moving in the right direction. A bit of a tricky junction but it all worked out. The speedsters quickly disappeared down the trail that contains a mix of groomed, rocky, little ups and downs, and periodic boardwalks and wooden bridges all mixed within a pretty nice canopy of trees.

I was probably hanging out somewhere in the top 20, trying to keep it easy but steady.

After the two mini-loops, I was feeling a bit winded already but was excited to start the first of the two counter clockwise outer loops. This is one of those trails where you just can’t float along, you will have to do a bit of work on the short but steep climbs/descents.

Time to work!

Back into the woods. Dancing over a few rocks. Down a few natural stairs before heading back up a set. With trees and a variety of plants so close to the trails, you always feel pretty fast as the natural surroundings blur by. Actual, may not be so fast.

After about a mile of trail scampering, we pop out of the trail system and enjoy about a .8 mile long decent on what would essentially be like a rugged dirt road. You could fly down this. I tried.

There was a short flat section before arriving at the aid station near a nice little pond and the surrounding hills waiting for you in the background. Great to see Mike and team helping all us runners at the aid station! I was feeling the heat and using about half my bottle to pour over my head and the other half to drink. With aid every couple miles this worked well. The heat was tough on me on this day.

The next 3.5 miles of the loop are the toughest with a fairly continuous mix of fun and sometimes technical grunts and weees.

My grunts didn’t have much GRRRRR! in them…more of a meow. So power hike I did.

Enjoy a bit of cruising on top the hill before heading back down. And the downhills were all WEEE…maybe more like WEEEEEE! Since I had little gojo on the uphills…felt like Joe P. and attacked any downhill grade.

I felt steady on the flats, not spunky, so just went with the meow, steady, WEEEEE! approach for the loop.

Aaron and Mia supported one more aid station snuggled in the woods. Geared up in full camo, beards, and an arsenal of duck calling tools. They were positioned at the base of a short but steep little grade. Had to keep rollin’ with the WEE so hollered “thank you” as I cruised by.

I finished the first big loop and 11km of running in ~1:12. Drenched from head to toe from all the water I was pouring on my head.

High-5 with G-man. One loop to go.

High-5 with G-man. One loop to go!

Wendy had another partially frozen water bottle ready to go. Quick hand-off, high-5 to Griffin and off for the final 9km loop.

Towards the end of this first big loop, I was leap frogging (not trying to) with second place female. She was running the flats and hills faster. I was running the WEEEEES  much faster. I told her, “I’m sorry about this but I have nothing on the hills, a little bit on the flats, and crazy man on the downhills. I am not trying to leap frog with ya.” She was cool about it and we both kept running our own races.

Sometimes in races you need to create a little game within the race to keep moving, keep pushing as best you can on the day. Well, this was one of those times! 🙂

I passed second place female, Ms. Leapfrog, at the start/finish aid station (start of last loop) as she was working on getting rid of her pack. My game was to stay in front of Leapfrog for as long as I could. I dialed up my PE at the start of the final loop. Trying to create a gap to Leapfrog over the next two miles before the three mile section of hills. The PE was feeling pretty hot and I continued to Joe P. the downhills.

Then I felt a breeze. Cool…no nearly cold air.

A front was moving through dropping that 70F temps in a hurry. Was loving this cooler air.

It felt like I bombed that .8 mile downhill dirty road-ish section of trail. Dashed into the aid station with Mike and team to quickly fill up with cold water.

Leapfrog goes dashing on by.

So much for that gap.

Up the first climb, there goes Leapfrog. No chance on matching that today. So I did my meow as steady as I could. Then continued the protocol of the day…meow, steady, WEEEEE!

At the base of each downhill, thinking I may see Leapfrog…nope.

So for the next 2.5-ish miles I just did my thing. Nobody in sight ahead. Wasn’t aware of anyone behind.

About one mile from the finish, there is a short but nasty (and fun) rock ledge descent before crossing a wooden bridge over a creek and then a fun little climb.

As I am WEEEEEing down the rocky fun, there is Leapfrog at the base. Couldn’t believe it. A few brief words of encouragement to one another. Leapfrog says she is struggling with stomach cramps before she leaves me on the climb…again.

With around 1km to go, I simply set the tach into the red and see what happens.

I catch and pass Leapfrog at the start of the final mini-loop while bombing the last downhill section. I tell her “let’s go, almost there” as I pass while trying not to vomit on myself from the rising effort.

Kept the tach high, vomit inside, and finished in 2:11:19, 13th overall. Looks like I may have been right around an even split for the two big loops which was a pleasant surprise. Fun day on the trails with the tribe!

Done!

Done!

Thanks to all the amazing volunteers and Back On My Feet for getting the air conditioner to work on loop two of their fun fundraiser!

The temps were downright getting cold, the fam was freezing, and everyone was hungry.

The breakfast burritos were oh so good!

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

 

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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