Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jupiter Peak Steeplechase - Everything You Still Don't Know About Utah

After injuring my foot at the end of June I took 3 full weeks off from running, then began to slowly ease back into some short low intensity runs in order to make sure I wasn't going to re-aggravate anything. I used my time off from running to partake in some of life's fine alternative pursuits.

People frequently tell me that for whatever reason (or excuse) that they're not cut out to be runners. I've decided that I'm not cut out for a life filled with $0.59 beer and pinkish-tan "meat" products. The time off was refreshing, albeit untimely, but I was definitely ready to be running again in the places that I enjoy most.

The Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, the last race in the 2012 La Sportiva Mountain Cup would be my first true test of how well my foot had healed, and how much my fitness had suffered during the time off. The plan was to leave work Friday afternoon, make the 8 hour drive across southern Wyoming to Park City, UT, then crash for a few hours before getting up for the race Saturday morning. Friday afternoon as I was preparing to leave work, my mom alerted me to the fact that Burger King is now serving bacon sundaes.

Thanks Mom, you're always looking out for me. I immediately began working this new knowledge into my plans for the drive to Park City that evening.

When I got to Rawlins, the sign at the gas station advertising Wyoming wine and sweatshirts was too intriguing to resist, so I went in to check out the local wares and came back out with my very own bottle of genuine Wyoming wine.


With the excitement of my wine purchase still fresh, I made my way to the Burger King across the street and boldly demanded one Bacon Sundae. After being relieved of $2.69, I was given the tasty treat.

It was everything it was advertised to be; specifically, it was a sundae with bacon on it. It was strange. Visually it actually looked pretty good, and the taste was not bad, but the chewy texture of the bacon didn't complement the creamy texture of the ice cream very well. In short, I don't think that this is a treat I'll be developing a craving for again soon.

After leaving Rawlins, I crossed the continental divide, which marked a major milestone in the progress of the trip. The continental divide formed by the Rocky Mountains is an intriguing geographic feature that generally runs along mountainous ridgelines separating the watersheds and basins on either side of the ranges that it runs through. In Colorado specifically, the divide is usually an impressive sight. In southern Wyoming, it is not. In fact, to the untrained eye it is entirely indistinguishable from the rest of the surrounding terrain. When I crossed the divide on I-80 and saw the sign indicating such, I thought it was a joke. Even after I realized that it was not a joke, I still could not fathom how (or why) someone would have put in the effort to determine the exact path of the divide through what amounted to a huge area of high plains with no distinct ridges or valleys.

This is what the continental divide is supposed to look like.

This is not.

Eventually I got to Utah and ran the race. The race was fast; however, I was not. I was beaten by Elvis Presley and some old local dude named Karl who was wearing big fat clown shoes. Rob won the race and saw a moose. I got stung by a bee and got lost. Maybe if I were fast, and Canadian, I would see a moose too.

Utah: it's a real place.

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