|The start of Wag IV, 2008|
By this time, organizational duties had passed from Felix, through local ultra runner Joe Brown, and on to Mike Siudy, a climber in his past life who now passes his time running insanely difficult ultra courses through the Catskills. Mike standardized the course, which had started to fluctuate quite a bit from year to year, and basically codified it into what it is today: a nearly 30-mile trip from Sam's Point to Rosendale, covering single track, carriage roads, and five rock scrambles, including the infamous Giant's Workshop, Lemon Squeeze, and Bonticou Crag. Also starting in 2012, the structure of the event changed. While it was always a fat ass event--no entry fee, no support, no awards, few rules--the run had, for the first seven years, had a mass 9 am start. While the vibe was decidedly friendly and relaxed, there was certainly a mild competitive undertone, and part of the fun (for me at least) was trying to lay down a fast performance and be one of the first people sipping beer at the Red Brick Tavern at the end. But after seven years in this style, people wanted a change--specifically, some of the faster finishers wanted to share drinks with some of the slower folks, but didn't want to have to wait several hours for everyone to get in. So starting in 2012, the run became completely non-competitive: start whenever you want, just try to time it so you finish between 4 and 5 pm, so we can all eat, drink, and be merry together.
|Phil and Brian at Verderkill Falls|
|"W" is for Wagathon--at Castle Rock|
|Beer stop #1. Photo: Phil Vondra|
|In the doldrums, at checkpoint #3. Photo: Phil Vondra|
|No caption necessary.|
Quick gear report: I used the Montrail Rogue Racer, the shoe I've been putting in the vast majority of my miles for the past few months. They're only 9 oz, and billed as a racing flat, but they have a 9mm drop and a fair bit of cushion, and I've been very happy with them for many miles and several long efforts. I wore my Pearl Izumi Ultra Split short which is a brilliant piece of clothing. The pockets in the back of these shorts are actually sewn into the liner, which comes all the way up to the top of the short, so you can carry gels or your phone (the main pocket zips and holds an iPhone 6) with virtually no bouncing. They're quite expensive for shorts but a fairly indispensable item. And, as on most long unsupported efforts I used the Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest for hydration. Though the day after this run I received in the mail the Orange Mud HydraQuiver, which may replace the UD vest as my go-to hydration system for longer runs. More details to come!