Monday, February 7, 2011

Questions about trail marking

Greetings fellow masochists-

There have been some questions about the trailing marking of the 2010 Grand Mesa 100.  Yes, we fully admit that there were some difficulties.  Some of the areas were not as clearly marked as they should have been.  Some of the marking tape and other markers were removed, either by two-legged or four-legged critters.  The race was run under a permit from the Grand Mesa National Forest Office in Grand Junction.  You can contact that office for verification or we can supply you with a copy of the first page of the permit.

So, the more important question is "What are we going to do to improve the trail marking for this year?"

1.  One of the areas that saw a lot of flagging problems was around Flowing Park.  Sections of the race traveled across land leased by area ranchers.  These individuals were not notified of the race and so pulled the trail markings.  To avoid this problem, the lessees will be notified in advance about the race. This section is also being rerouted to avoid potential difficulties.

2.  Race management has been reorganized so that Phil and Rick (co-race directors) can spend their time focusing on trail marking and runner safety rather than dealing with everything.

3.  We are beefing up the pre-race meeting to include more maps and more discussion of the course.

4.  All aid stations will have maps of the upcoming course section.  All aid station personnel will be more familiar with the course following their station.  Also, race personnel will be available to direct traffic at confusing intersections (i.e., leaving Flowing Park).

5.  We have permission from the Forest Service to use more chalk marking on the ground in addition to flagging and reflective markers.

We learned a lot during our first race.  But even our best efforts will not result in a perfectly marked course.  For example, when picking up markers after the race, we found reflectors, complete with either elk or cow teeth marks, over 1/2 mile from the course.  Rain can obliterated chalk marks.  Some people seem to take great pleasure in messing with other people's stuff.  We hope you will be understanding of the nature of trail running and join us for the fun and the challenge in July!

Phil and Rick

1 comment:

  1. Phil/Rick

    Glad to hear you are working on the markings- I know they are challenging, cause 1 section of poor markings can offset the rest of the race with good markings. For the 50 miler, the area I got lost the most was right after the dropoff, figuring how to turn NE, and then staying on the trail with all the cow trails, etc. I imagine it was real hard at night. Good luck with the race this year! We know you'll make the race even better.