West Coast Road Trip – Day 20 
Saturday, April 3, 2010, 09:59 PM
Posted by Administrator
Although it had stopped falling, there was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground this morning. We bundled up and drove about 20 minutes to the site of the Horse Butte 10-Mile trail race put on by CORK (Central Oregon Running Klub).

As usual, I headed straight to the porta potties and willed the people in front of me to hurry up. As I finished my business, the race director gave the 10-second warning. Perfect timing – it was 32 degrees and I was happy to start running before I got much colder.

There were 173 people at this race advertised as “100% dirt and 99.9% single track.” Sure enough, after only about ¼ mile of forest service road, we hopped onto a very narrow trail.

I would have preferred more time to let the field spread out, as this left me stuck in the middle of a train of 12 people. I don’t like having people right on my heels and so, at the first climb, I stepped off the trail and then back on at the end of the line. I lost a few seconds, but a whole lot of pressure went with it. Yes, it’s a race, but I only found out about it 12 hours ago and was just there to enjoy the morning.

I was somewhat disappointed that the trail was not very scenic. It actually reminded me a lot of Arizona trails – hard-packed dirt, scrub, dead-looking trees, mountains in the distance.

The course was well-marked with flags and mile markers. Having guesstimated a finish time of around 2 hours, I was pleased to reach the halfway point in just under 1 hour. Shortly afterward, I came upon the one and only aid station. This may seem stingy for a race of this distance, but, in temperatures this cold, you don’t need a whole lot of fluid.

With a total elevation gain of about 500 feet, the course seemed quite flat compared to our San Francisco 20K hillfest two weeks ago. There was a definite incline over the first half of the race, but it was quite gradual.

I crossed the finish line in 1:56 and was given a fantastic handmade hat – possibly the best schwag I’ve received at a race.

We enjoyed veggie burgers and giant hot dogs while watching the award ceremony. Overall winners received plaid cowboy-type tops with the race name embroidered on the chest, while masters winners got embroidered Snuggies.

I was surprised and impressed that the race director remembered us and made a point to welcome us to the event and ask what we thought of it. She encouraged us to come back in the summer for other Bend races.

From there, we made a stop at Costco to stock up on some of our food box staples – canned salmon, canned chili, protein bars and almond butter – and then headed to our final Bend attraction, the Deschutes Brewery Tour. We ate at the Portland pub a few nights ago, but their primary location and brewery are here in Bend.

We gathered with a group of obvious beer lovers in the tasting room before the 1:00pm tour. The free tour includes 4 tastes of their various beers which may be consumed before, during or after the tour. I had two tastes before the tour, but, not being much of a beer lover, didn’t finish either.

Our tour guide, Samantha, was fun and knowledgeable. It was an interesting tour and our only complaint is that they do not offer their gluten-free beer in the tasting room.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Bend and would love to visit again in the summertime. But, it was time to move on, so we hopped back in the car, put on our book-on-tape (we’re on our fourth of the trip), and drove a few hours to Diamond Lake Resort where we purchased a snowmobile package that included one night in the motel and two 3-hour snowmobile rentals.

After an early dinner at the lodge, we had a quiet and relaxing evening of catching up on the blog and listening to more of our book, “The Amber Room.”

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