Nose Creek XC – Flagging the Race Route

Okay before we get to Saturday’s race I should mention just a little more about getting ready for the race. On Friday my hubby and I headed out to Nose Creek park in hopes of flagging a decent route for the race on Saturday. I knew from attempting to walk parts of the trails on the previous weekend it was not going to be an easy chore. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to put the route but that might have to change depending on what we found when we got there.

Anyhow just after 2pm we set out on foot. Hubby was carrying the bulk of the flags and would hand them to me as we went along. It was a tad chilly but not too bad. There was a strong wind that made things worse. I was dressed for it, hubby wasn’t quite so smart. He complained almost every hundred meters about being cold. He likes to complain, I’m used to it…lol.

The first stretch was nice and flat. It meandered a bit but the snow was soft and not too deep for the most part. However, as we angled the route back to what was once a paved pathway we did hit some knee deep pockets. This is where I would put my first marshal so he could worn runners of the deep snow ahead. Once we hit what was supposed to be the paved pathway, now covered in several inches of hard packed snow I decided to stick to that route and take the runners straight down the hill over the bridge to the road just past it. Going to our usual trail was impassable.

We made our way up the road to the ridge bit. As we moved off the road to the ridge my hubby remarked “isn’t this a little dangerous?”. I laughed “you should see some of the cliffs we” I flagged it so the runners nervous about the ridge could stay on the road until the next downhill bit. The second marshal would be by the ridge giving the runners the choice. At the rockpile the runners would head downhill and my next marshal was at the base of the downhill. Needed someone to warn them of the next patch of deep snow. Hubby and I debated at this point which was was the best way to get back uphill. There was no avoiding “deep snow”. How deep? Well I sank past my waist…yikes! It was tricky as there was hard stuff underneath some soft stuff and you would suddenly sink. Hubby & I tried to break a path through it to make things easier but well there was only two of us and there could be up to a 100 runners on Saturday. Near the top the snow was solid and I broke away huge pieces that were as much as 4 or 5 inches thick trying to make a path to the top.

Once up on top it was a wide open field and fairly easy travelling we moved the route over along a fence line and then angled it over to a park bench which is where I decide I would park my next volunteer.

Heading down a gentle slope we then angled to the right through another snowy path. Only knee deep here. Then finally onto a hardpacked path for a somewhat easy stretch. The little ridge above the creek that we normally followed looked impassable. I checked my garmin and saw the distance was adding up. The hill to my right would have to be eliminated as it would make the route too long. We did a horseshoe loop through the valley and back to the base of the steep hill. I would put a couple of marshals in this area to make sure no one took any shortcuts. The steep hill has almost always been a part of this race and thankfully it didn’t look too bad. We travelled up it. Not icy, just a bit snowy, but very doable.

At the top we crossed the main path and headed up one last little short bit. I opted to station a marshal at the top of the steep hill by the path and again at the very top. Hubby opted for this spot so he could shoot some photos with his new camera. He would also warn the runners to watch out for the rock. After the steep hill there was a small incline to run and then it was pretty much flat the rest of the way. The route meandered around a newly treed area past a large rock pile where I put my last marshal. The last stretch of the race was flat but as it was wide open there were drifts of hard packed snow that made for a tough slog to the finish. Oh yeah for those doing the longer race, they had to repeat the course twice. One loop was about 3.5k and 2 gave the runners 7k.

It took hubby and I well over 2 hours to flag it. We were both tired and cold when done. We finished just as the sun was setting. Of course hard work followed by soaking in the hot all made for a very good night’s sleep.