Claude,

I finally got the chance to run David and Nancy Drach's Beech Mountain 50K this weekend. In years past, David and Nancy were always at the front of the pack in Southern ultrarunning, and this was the first time I've gotten to meet and to get to know them. They are a very nice couple, and they put on one serious race. The start is @ 5,200' on Pinnacle Knob, and the finish is @ 5,500' @ the top of the Ski Beech. In between the 2 points, that are 2 miles apart, is 5,200' of vertical descent followed by 5,200' of ascent.

The starting venue was unique also. It was @ the Pinnacle Inn Resort. All I had to do was roll out of our condo and walk 100 yards to the starting line. When you advertise a race with the word "Mountain" in it's title and the RFH  will flock to the starting line. Brian Kistner, Brenton Floyd, Buddy Nash, Byron Backer,
Herpes the Running Virus & Betty Leverton, Keith Wood, and I were there, and the other "usual suspects" like Betheny Hunter, Richard Schick, Rob Apple (Rob got his 389th finish.), and others added to the good time atmosphere of the field of 39 runners. Jim Snyder was a no-show, but that very nice Angela Ivory, who ran the Big Butt with us this year, was there. I talked with her after the race @ the Pinnacle and she had the biggest smile you have ever seen. She finished!

I ran most of the race by myself. All the socializing was done pre and post race. Hurricanes Frances and Ivan added to the degree of difficulty of the course by dropping > 20 inches of rain in Avery County and washing 1-2  foot rocky gullies down the center on the steep trails and old jeep roads. From time to time we could see Grandfather Mountain and the Profile Trail in the distance. I kept saying that I'll take Frances and Ivan over the Profile Trail anytime. By now you know the rest of the story by heart. The fast guys ran fast. Brian was 2nd, and Byron was 3rd. I suspect that the young kid who won in 4:15 must have been taking monkey gland shots or something. I finished in 6:52 with Keith 2 minutes behind and Herpes 4 minutes behind Keith. The view from the top of the ski slope was fantastic, but it sure was a massive effort getting there climbing straight up a 40 degree ski slope.

After the race, I returned to the indoor sports center @ the Pinnacle for a little post-race rehydration. I did 4 laps between the cooler to the pool to the hot tub to the sauna. That exercise left me as limp as a wet wash cloth. Not the dreaded "Brewer's Droop" kind of limp, it was more like the movie "Weekend at Bernie's" kind of limp. (i.e. I was unable to move.)

I'm off to AZ and Fort Huachuca tomorrow to begin implementing the army.mil network upgrade. On our exit, Rick Brittian and I are planning planning to make that Grand Canyon run that got snowed out this spring.

Regards,

BK