Well its come and gone now and I had a great time. Friends and family were not in short supply. This year we had the pleasure of showing one of Canada's best some Midwest hospitality. I met Ryne last year at Sunmart and after running about twenty miles together we pretty much hit it off. After Sunmart we started planning on getting him down here to run some on the prairie.
Jess, Tristan and I picked up Ryne from Kansas City Thursday morning and got started showing him some of the finer things Kansas has to offer. After a few hours in K.C. we decided to head over to Lawrence. Ryne really wanted to pick up some Kansas souvenirs. What better place to do that then Lawrence right? Another couple hours in Lawrence and we headed west for Topeka. Being a vegan we tried to accommodate the best we could. Being Kansas though I reminded him that meat was king but we'd do our best. After hitting the health food section at Dillon's we got back home put away the groceries and headed over to the Governors mansion for some trail running Kansas style. He was surprised at how pretty the trails were around here and that he thought Kansas was flat. We didn't run long five maybe six miles then headed home.
Friday morning we were up at the crack O' nine. Loaded up the car and shot some hoops in the driveway while we waited for the in laws to come and pick up Tristan. We finally got out of Topeka around 12:30 and started the drive west to Cassoday "Prairie Chicken Capitol of the World???" I told Ryne to pay attention once we got west of Emporia that the trees would disappear. He and Jess fell asleep before we hit Emporia. He woke up about 15 mile west of Emporia and the first thing he said was "Shit!" "Where did all the trees go?"
Pulling into Cassoday we headed straight for the community center to get our packets and take some pictures before we headed over to the Battlecreek aide station to set up camp. Once we got camp set up we walked around and took a few shots of the seemingly endless prairie then headed over for the pre race dinner. At dinner we met up with Steve Kirk. R.D. for the Three Days of Syllamo race down near Allison Arkansas. Everyone enjoyed dinner as we sat and talked with good friends Stan and Chrissy Ferguson, Paul Schoenlaub and Willie Lambert. After dinner we headed back to camp followed by Steve who also decided to camp with us. We stayed up for a couple of more hours shooting the breeze and then hit the sack. With a full moon and the coyotes singing us to sleep it was a perfect way to end the day.
Saturday was there before I knew it and I was up before the alarm went off at 4:30 AM. I went over to Ryne's tent to see if he was up and then started to get ready. We got to the start around 5:40 AM just enough time to pin on my number meet up with my parents who came down to crew and toe the starting line. A few last minute instructions from the race director and we were off.
It was unseasonably warm at the start. About mid 50's or so and humid. I started feeling a little guilty because I told Ryne that we'd have good weather and that it shouldn't get over 70 for the day a week prior. Well mother nature was about to make a big liar out of me and how. The race started and we were off into the dark. I knew it was going to be hot out so I wanted to get as many miles behind me before that happened. That's the last time I saw Ryne or anyone until just before the turn. When Wynn Davis who was setting a blistering pace caught up with me just before my turn around at Teterville. Not to go into details but my race wasn't going as planned and I had to do some rethinking about what I wanted to accomplish for the day. As hot as it was becoming out and as windy as it was I knew the course record was out of the question. I don't do well in the heat anymore so I started to pay close attention to how much fluid and electrolytes I was taking in. Through all the things that happened that day. I somehow had enough to cross the finish line first. With a time of 7:39. Second place finished in 7:56 and Third came in at 9:03 obviously the heat and wind took its toll on the entire field including the 100 milers. As several runners in the 50 and 100 dropped due to the conditions.
Ryne didn't get that 100 finish in that he wanted. He ended up dropping at Ridgeline 63.5 miles. Still he had nothing to feel bad about. The week before he ran the Run for the Toad 50km in Ontario, Canada and won it in 3:43:10. It was pretty awesome that he got 63 miles in after running that kind of time the week before. We headed back to camp but before we got there we stopped in at the Mirage aide station and enjoyed some of Bad Ben's Home Brew. After a couple of beers there we headed back to Battlecreek for a few more and helped out before Ryne slipped into a 10hr coma. He asked me to wake him up at midnight so we could work the night shift and drink beer but I just let him sleep. I can't even imagine keeping the racing schedule he does. Every weekend a different town. Sleep I'm sure is a rarity. I stayed up to help as long as I could before falling asleep in a lawn chair under a blanket with a cup of hot mashed potato's in hand. Another perfect way to end a day of running.
That morning we broke down the aide station and our camp then hung out a bit talking with Gary Henry who was sweeping the course. Taking in the views the mild overcast morning had saved for us. Finally home we unpacked the car and went back to sleep. That night was spent watching Sunday Night football. Feasting on Chipotle and of course more beer.
Monday morning we drove Ryne back to the airport and said so long. Already having planned his next adventure on the prairie. Looks like he'll be heading back here in April to take on the 40 miler at Freestate. He said he had a great time and enjoyed all the hospitality that he received. Anytime any of us want to come up to his neck of the woods is more than welcome and he'd show us how they party it up Canadian style. I've already started working through the logistics for making a trip up there next spring to run the Chaukanut 50km in March. Anyone interested let me know and we'll make a Kansas invasion of it. I took some picture of the weekend also but I really wanted to get the report up first before I got too busy. So I'll post some pics later.