The challenge of LLTH is not just the hills. The uncertain February weather & course conditions will always be a part of the race:
This year saw a storm dump over an inch of rain onto an already wet course Friday, leading to high streams & lots of standing water on the trails. With the rain changing to snow overnight, the puddles & the mud would be hidden from sight with a 1-2" white blanket. It wouldn't take long though, for the runners to reveal all those puddles, splashing water & mud everywhere. Eventually the mud worked it's way to the top on most, but not on all the trails. Where the trail drained well & was on the shady side of the hills, the snow would remain & become packed down as the day wore on. On some hills, the wet snow actually provided better traction than had there been mud alone.
Temperatures hovered at or just below the freezing mark all day. There was a 15-20 mph north wind most of the day. Gusts were in the 25-30 mph range & most noticeable on the ridge tops.
Counting race day registration, there were close to 200 entries for the 50k & 15m races this year -- a record. Also a record in the number of 15m finishers. The slushy, muddy parking areas in the grassy fields next to the Start held up surprisingly well. This was the first test as they've always been fairly dry or frozen in previous years.
Congratulations are in order for everyone who finished this day! Special honors go to Eric Grossman, the one responsible for starting this wonderful race in 2004 and returning for his 3rd 50k overall win this year. Full results are posted on the Headfirst Performance website.
THANKS go out to Cynthia & Todd Heady, who once again put on another great event and to all the runners & volunteers who helped make LLTH another success this year!
Anyone who took pictures & wishes to share them on this site, let me know! The Forest was a really gorgeous backdrop to the race this year with the wet snow plastered onto the trees and the snow covering everything with a sound deadening blanket -- a true winter wonderland!