Saturday, March 7, 2009
First full day in Oregon today. I got in late last night (late for me). After a decent 8 hour sleep Rich and I headed out for an easy 4m run on the trails in Forest Park (http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/finder/index.cfm?PropertyID=127&action=ViewPark). Then after a couple of very strong cups of coffee we were on our way to White River sno park on the slopes of Mt Hood. The 90 minute drive took us from drizzle to rain to snow as we went from sea-level to over 4,000'.
The race site was a parking lot and nothing more. We arrived prior to the time for course inspection, figuring to get in a trot around the 5km loop then pick up our numbers and head home. We headed out into a howling wind and blinding driving snow. With heads down we glanced up looking for orange flags which marked the course. Rich had run a trail race in the same area so he was familiar with where we needed to go. About a mile in, and after a good amount of climb, we ran into the course-setters and USSSA sports director Mark Elmore. Mark was making sure the course would be safe and accurate.
After a brief chat we headed on further up the valley, but with no flags to follow we kind of made our own way. A bit later we headed left and then turned back down the valley running somewhat parallel to where we had come up. This part of the run was nice as we had the wind at our backs and a gentle downhill helping us along. We returned to the parking lot then added on a bit more to get in a 4 mile run. This was a short day for me but there was nowhere else to run on the pass as the main road was not safe for running and I don't want to mess up my ankle (any worse than it is) by doing a lot of snowshoeing.
After getting into dry clothes we tried to pick up numbers but the race direction appears to be a bit scattershot and we were told we could get them "sometime later, or tomorrow". That was good enough for us and we hit the road.
We stopped for lunch in Hood river and marveled at the folks out on the Columbia river in the extremely windy conditions. The wind was so intense that the spray from the white caps caused a rainbow that hugged the ground. After fueling up Rich drove us to a touristy location, Multnomah falls (http://www.oregonwaterfalls.net/multnmh.htm). It was actually quite interesting and I'd enjoy going back for a run up the trail (1m or further up to a mountain pass).
We continued back to Portland and made a brief stop back at the house for a map of the highest point in the city of Portland. We headed to a cemetery on top of skyline drive and easily located the high point. Then we continued on and found the highest point on the Tualatin mountains. The final site to check out was the Willamette stone. This marked where all of Oregon was laid out from. It was interesting in a geeky map way (I'm really into maps). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Meridian
Figuring this was a pretty full day, we headed home for a quick soak in the hot tub and a relaxing evening resting up for tomorrows race.
Tomorrow.....USSSA national snowshoe championship race!