Monday, April 20, 2009
Billy Dutton Uphill
Last Sunday, I finally took part in a local event I've always wanted to do: The Billy Dutton Uphill. The race celebrates the life of Billy Dutton, who used to hike to the top of the mountain every day before work during his days at the Squaw Valley Resort. Athletes are invited to ski, run, snowshoe, or, as the event declares, just "run what 'ya brung!" in your attempt to climb 2000' to High Camp.
Runners Gather at the Start
Squaw Patrollers run in memory of fellow patroller Andrew Entin
Ascending the initial slope
I had a blast doing this race, and I have to admit, the 3.2 miles were harder than I'd expected. I opted for running shoes with YakTrax on. These "chains for shoes" make running over ice and hard-packed snow a breeze. Conditions were firm, and snow shoes were definitely not necessary.
The runners and skiers seemed fairly evenly divided, and I wondered which would prove the quickest up the hill. The director signaled the start, and we headed up the Mountain Run (the easiest way down from the top). My heart rate soared, and I was immediately reduced to a walk. When the incline relaxed a bit, I was able to run again, and thus began my slow slog to the summit: run-walk-run-walk.
Runner Peter Fain leads the skiers up the hill
The day was gorgeous, and I was appreciating this unconventional time on the slopes before the hordes of downhill skiers would invade. Conditions were perfect for running! A mere 51 minutes later, I was at the top.
It turned out that the first two finishers were skiers, with Peter right behind them. The last stretch is downhill, so a runner would have to have a good lead to avoid being caught by a pursuing skier at the finish. Full results can be found here.
My friend Ben and his band provided live music on the deck, while people sipped beer, relaxed in the sun and gazed out at the stunning view. Just another day in Paradise.
Skiers gain the advantage on the slight downhill into the finish
The view from the top--well worth the climb!
The tram ride back to the bottom
Check back tomorrow for my report on a much different race: this weekend's adventure at Diablo!