Runtrails' Rocky Mountain Journal
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"They found one of the bridges half a mile downstream.
- Michelle Powers Maneval, Bighorn Race Director


Remember the storm that hit the Bighorn Mountains last Wednesday and Thursday? I don't think any of the Bighorn race management team is going to forget about it any time soon!

Rich Garrison sent us the photos which follow, taken during a work session today to clear the trail in the area of the Footbridge aid station. We aren't sure how many volunteers were in the group nor how far they got up the trail, but they definitely "had their work cut out for them." You'll see what I mean in a minute.

The Footbridge aid station is the one most difficult for crews to reach during the race. Hundred milers cross a sturdy bridge over the Little Bighorn River at mile 30 outbound and return over it at 66 miles on the return to the finish. Runners in the 52-miler go through the aid station only once, at 18 miles. The 50K and 30K do not pass through here.

This aid station is particularly important to the 100-milers because it is the last drop bag location and crewing point before the runners begin an arduous 18-mile climb to the turnaround at Porcupine Ranger Station. Most runners pick up their lights and night clothes here (unless they're very fast and make it to Porcupine before dark).

We were in town the next day (Tuesday) and talked to Michelle Powers Maneval, Bighorn race director, about the challenges race organizers are facing this year because of the storm. She said they've found four bridges between Footbridge and Porcupine that were washed out and have to be replaced. Fortunately the large bridge for which the Footbridge AS is named is still standing!


Now for Rich's graphic photos from his trail work Monday. Wendell Robison is in one picture. We don't know if Karen Powers or anyone else was in this work party. I do know Karen and Cheryl were also out on the course somewhere Monday.





That's Wendell Robison, above. See how he tapers for a 100-miler??



That's a lot of trees to cut from the trail!!





Anyone got a kayak?

Race directors are unsung heroes in my book, as are the organizational teams at races as big as the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Runs. Without their extraordinary efforts, we wouldn't be able to enjoy trail runs like this -- and we'd have a lot more streams to ford and trees to hurdle.

Thanks so much to Michelle, Karen, Cheryl, Rich, Wendell, and everyone else who works so hard to make this race one of the best in the world. They have risen to NEW heights this year to maintain their consistently-high standards. We are grateful to them for making the course as runnable as possible in a year when Mother Nature has been playing havoc in the mountains.

Tune in Tuesday for more photos from the Tongue River Canyon Trail. On Wednesday we plan to go back to Porcupine to see how much of the snow has melted -- and look for more moose.

Stay tuned,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil