After ten years it is hard to know what to say about pmbar anymore. The most notable thing that happened was when early in the race on Turkey Pen Gap trail my headphone wire got snagged on a tree branch and broke. That meant no music for me, no sweet distraction if things started to get unpleasant, and nothing to do except talk to my teammate who only seemed interested in talking about the race.... Other than that it was just business as usual. Much like last year, our plan was based on survival so we could live to run strong on Sunday. With that in mind we did the math and figured the Laurel Mountain checkpoint was not worth the effort for the time bonus and picked the shortest route. That meant several very long and flat stretches which absolutely suck on a singlespeed but is still much better than the alternate routes. Surprisingly most teams took other routes and we spent a good part of the day riding by our selves. We started seeing teams once we got over to the hatchery and had company from there to the finish.
PRAR the next day was just more of the same. This year Pisgah Productions shuttled us over to the Fish Hatchery for the start where we would run to 4 or 5 checkpoints before returning to the finish at the Black Mountain trail head. That meant teams would be finishing mainly on the Art Loeb trail and seeing a different part of the forest from last year. We decided to go for all the checkpoints and headed up 475B for the Sunwall checkpoint on Looking Glass Rock. Yuri and I were the second team out right behind Jay Curwen and as we fell into our pace on 475B all the fast teams steadily passed us. Out and back to the rock and then a long stretch of road over to the Farlow/Daniel checkpoint before climbing 475 to Glouchester Gap and a checkpoint on Rich Mtn.There was another team at the CP and we followed them down what we thought was the Art Loeb but after a few minutes when we hadn't reached 471 I knew we were off the trail and headed for Outward Bounds. So we backtracked back to the CP, found the Art Loeb and continued on to Butter Gap leaving the other team to an unknown fate. After loading up with water at Butter Gap it became all about the Art Loeb. It is a difficult stretch of trail and the previous days 70+ mile bike ride plus 20 miles of running started to work my left knee. We still had to get to Bracken Mountain and then back down to the finish so I paced myself and just kept moving forward. Bracken came easily enough and from there it was all downhill to the finish. In the end we ran around 32 miles and while it hurt pretty good it was still a ton of fun. Mark your calendar for next year. This race is only going to get better!
While our double podium luck from last year didn't hold this year we somehow ended up on a podium for doing second best in both events over the weekend. I think Eric just felt bad for those of us who were dumb enough to do both.