Monday, December 17, 2007

Brrrrrr-astown Bald Buster 5k

Exactly 48 hrs prior to the start of the 2008 Brasstown Bald Buster 5k, I was sitting in a dentist’s chair getting a molar extracted (a previous root canal had failed and the tooth needed to come out). And while the periodontist and two other people seemed to have a competition on how many tools they could stick into my mouth at one time, my thoughts were in an entirely different place, the Brasstown Bald Buster.

Prior to the race, my first in 6 months. That called for a dorky picture!

This annual event challenges anyone who dares to run up to the top of Georgia’s tallest mountain (elevation: 4784 ft). The race itself climbs close to 1,900 feet over the 3+ miles. It attracts mainly hard core runners who regularly compete in all types of distances, from the mile to the 100 miler. There are usually lots of high school cross country runners, ultra-runners, marathoners and others trying to test themselves against this beast (by Georgia standards) of a hill.

So excited that you can't see my missing tooth!

Back in the dentist’s chair, I was concerned that tooth pain would keep me from running this year. However, things were well enough by Sunday morning for me to make the trek up north. No one could be convinced to come along, so I was belting out DMB tunes by myself while driving the two hours to the race.

Upon arrival, it was obvious that we would not be running all the way to the top this year. The weather conditions simply did not allow for it. There was a dusting of snow everywhere and conditions were much worse up at higher elevation, as we would later find out.

Scene from the start. I wasn't the only 'crazy' one out there!

Check in was quick and easy. Lots of familiar faces. I should introduce myself, since I don’t know a lot of people’s names. The famous post-race soup was already being cooked.

Then it was back to the car to warm up and decide on race day attire (I decided to triple layer it). Due to the weather, the race was 1.5 miles up and then back down the hill. If you wanted to go higher, you were on your own (some people did take that option, by the way).

I was fine with the change, since I’m definitely not in shape yet run ‘stupid’ races like this one. The total climb was probably closer to 900 ft in this version of the race. After some quick race instructions we were off a little after 11 a.m.

Things went fine for me, even though I was huffin’ and puffin’ almost right from the start. I passed the one mile mark at 10:20. Not bad. Conditions worsened considerably after that.

First person coming back down.

The road quickly had a solid quarter inch layer of ice on it and the sustained 25 mph+ winds made the temperatures feel much lower than the advertised upper 20s. It was hard to stay on your feet during some of the gusts. After some struggling and little bit too much walking, I reached the halfway point (1.5 miles) at 18 mins.


Now it was time to head down on this winter slip-and-slide. Most people chose to run in the snow to the side of the road. Due to my recent ankle problems, I chose to take my chances on the ice. With my completely numb feet, I would slide about 10 yards at a time in between short spurts of running. At the 2 mile mark, the ice went away and I just started flying. I must have passed 20+ people on the way down and by the end my feet were on fire. It felt great to run in a race again and I was enjoying every second of it, no matter how much it hurt. I ended up placing 33rd in a time of 27:06 (there were probably 200+ runners).

This race also has great schwag, and I took home a comfy blue sweater (much better looking than the red and neon-yellow versions of the last two years!) and trophy-paper-weight thingy.

My thanks go out to RD Gary Jenkins, all of the volunteers (seriously, you guys are even crazier than us for NOT moving in that cold) and everyone else for making this race possible. The Brasstown Bald Buster 5k , a true Georgia classic!


Journey to a Centum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Journey to a Centum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Journey to a Centum said...


Looks like you got the dork picture down perfect. You must be a natural. Unfortunatly as you probably know, a dork is a whale penis. Of course that's an older definition for the word. Older but seemingly fitting

Aside from the challenge of not busting your arse on the ice I'd say that soup was the best part of the day! Looks like an elaborate setup. Was anyone wearing Yak-Tracs for the ice?

I didn't see anyone wearing shorts. Probably nobody tough enough in Georgia to wear them in cold weather. They're not just for summer you know!

Sorry to hear of your loss (tooth). And I'm sorry for giving you such a hard time. Sounds like a really cool event (pun intended). Glad you were able to participate.

Trail Scat

Journey to a Centum said...

Upon having read the following blog perhaps shorts would be a bad idea....

Read down a few postings. We can learn from this!

Trail Scat

Journey to a Centum said...

Oh, I guess the winner must be a tough guy. I just realized he's wearing shorts. I wonder if he suffered from and frostbite?

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

Trail Scat,

I was more trying to match Mark Tanaka in the dorkiness factor when taking the pictures and less trying to look like a whale penis (maybe at the next race).

There were actually a few people running in shorts, including one kid running without a shirt. Maybe his hero is Tony Krupicka.

Anonymous said...

Nice job. Looks like your injury is officially history. I'm still suffering from my mystery hip injury, but am hoping to be back at it in the near future. I'll keep you updated.

Congrats again on the strong finish.

Whale penis? Me thinks that is a delicacy in Japan.


Gotta Run..... said...

Now that race sounds like a cool, crazy, fun, wild adventure. I am sure the soup hot the spot!!

A picture with the missing tooth would have toped this post off.

Great time considering your condition. Yahhoooo.

Anonymous said...


Great pics! I took several myself of our crew but didn't get any of the icy roads after mile 1. Such a difference from last year! Are you running HogPen in 2008? I will be out of town but I did it on 07 so I had my fill for a year or 3.

Lady Dusack

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

Lady Dusack,

You're right. What a change!

I also ran Hogpen in 2007. I may run in '08, but I have not finalized my schedule yet. Anybody considering Hogpen should absolutely run it!

I'll have my spring schedule up within a week.


Anonymous said...

I love Brasstown Bald! I can't believe it's highest point in Georgia. It'd be great to have a summer race/run there.

Keep up the great blog. It gets better every week!

Tracy said...

Very fun read Dave! Maybe some day I will meet you on that hill for a "jog" in the snow! Sorry about the tooth!

EHT said...

What a wonderful post. I loved it especially with the addition of the pictures. I had no idea folks ran up Georgia's highest peak in the Winter. Wow!

Since I have a steel rod, two pins, and nine screws holding my ankle onto my right leg I'm sure you understand that I will experience my running through your very able efforts. :)

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