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Crow Pass Crossing - Alaska

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2006 Crow Pass Crossing Race Report
by Michael Logsdon

See complete race report and more Team Delta-T photos at © 2006, Michael Logsdon

The Crow Pass Crossing is held every year near Anchorage, Alaska and runs from just outside the town of Girdwood to the Eagle River Nature Center. The course is 24 miles long over a mountain pass, through a river, and on a trail that ranges from scree to dense vegetation....The entry form for the race is pretty hardcore. For a first time racer to qualify to even enter he or she has to have run a half marathon sub 1:45 or a marathon sub 4:00 in the last year. This is to make sure everybody can make the 6 hour time limit, as in if you finish after six hours you're disqualified and race officials are "not amused." Also from the entry form:

"You should seriously reconsider your entry if you sustain an injury within six weeks of the race, or are a smoker."
"This is a risk-filled and dangerous race. Bad things can and usually do happen. Someone has been injured or imperiled each year. There are very real hazards and little chance for immediate medical aid if needed. Racers are asked to please assist their fallen brethren. Communication is nigh onto impossible."
Yeah, this is a serious deal, but being long on endurance and short on brains Ben and I both signed up...

Brothers Ben & Michael Logsdon, calling themselves Team Delta-T,
before the start of the Crow Pass Crossing 24-miler - July 2006 (Photos Courtesy of Chuck Logsdon)

Continued excerpts from Michael's Race Report -

On Pre-Race Prep -
The next concern in packing was food and water. You're not going to find a table stocked with Gatorade on the moraine by Raven Glacier so bring any water you need to drink, or have the ability to treat water from the streams along the trail. I went with 2 Liters in my pack and threw in a little bottle of Iodine tablets in case the two liters wasn't quite enough. As far as food, nut allergies prevent my brother and I from eating most of those energy bars and gels, so we went to the grocery store and looked for the highest calorie, lowest volume snack food we could find. It was Pop Tarts by far. One of those goofy little sleeves of Pop Tarts that high-fructose-corn-syrup-loving nancy boys eat for breakfast contains 400 calories. Bracing for the worst I packed four sleeves.

On the Start -
To pull into the Crow Creek parking lot at 6 am we got up around 3:30 and left the house by 4:00. For breakfast I had some oats out of my trough and drank some water. My nerves were pretty bad because I'd never run a marathon and was about to attempt a wilderness marathon on very little training. Can't waste time being nervous though, so I oiled up my loin cloth and we hit the road.

On the Descent -
On the way down the pass, if you can peel your eyes off your feet while scurrying down the rocky slope you'll be rewarded with a view of the Raven Glacier. Don't get too wrapped up in the scenery though; there was a fun little section across an avalanche chute where you had to be careful to avoid an unintentional glissade off the race course. And towards the bottom of the pass there was a small snowfield that I tried to run down but the snow was too hard and I fell on my ass, headed straight at a guy who was carefully picking his way down. I clawed at the hard snow and slowed down just enough to avoid knocking him over, and once I got around him I noticed with some dismay that there was no clean runout: the snow just stopped. Again, I clawed at the snow to slow down with poor results and eventually accepted, this is going to hurt. I slammed against some rocks at the bottom of the snowfield and took a role call of my limbs. They were all present and accounted for so I got up and kept running.

On camaraderie -
Ben and I probably didn't make any friends charging down the pass, cutting several people off and nearly bowling them over, but hey, this ain't no popularity contest and coming down from a pass is a great way to make up time. After crossing a creek at the bottom of the major downhill we settled into a spirited jog through the dense grass and brush. You have to be careful to watch your feet through this section as the overgrown vegetation makes it difficult to see the rocks and roots grabbing at your feet.

On the exhilaration -
At 90 minutes I ate one of the sleeves of Pop Tarts. Ben rolled his ankle but insisted that he was fine so we kept chugging away and made the river crossing in 2:15. The race organizers had bought a bunch of those cancer research bracelets and volunteers were giving one to everybody at the edge of the river, so by having a bracelet you proved you forded the river in the right place. Plunging into the ice cold water of Eagle River felt good. Really good. You can turn your head to the right and see Eagle Glacier while you're slogging through the river, so that water was cold. It was mostly knee deep with a couple sections up to my thighs, and thankfully no higher than my thighs because I didn't enjoy the prospect of not seeing my testicles again for several years.

Brother Ben weighs in on the take-off -
Once I broke away from Michael after the river crossing I probably was going way too fast. I had to slow down a little bit, but I relished passing a couple of people Michael and I had been hanging behind. Then for about two or three miles there was no one around and I was running all by myself through the woods on a very windy trail. After 3 or 4 miles there is a really vicious part of the trail that is all steep up and down with poor trail visibility. There is even a ladder up a small ledge at one point. That section knocked the wind out of my sails because I tried to go fast to pass a few people, but the steep sections were probably to steep to run up. It was a relief to get back to relatively flat ground and start picking people off, at about two or three people every mile until mile 22. One person's comment as I passed them by crashing through the brush on the side of the trail was "Where the hell did you come from?"

Race Report Excerpts courtesy of - Don't miss the whole story at:

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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:43 PM