For tomorrow's training run we'll be starting at 7am from Washington Park Trailhead. You can reach Washingto Park from the 87 just north of Payson taking Houston Mesa Road. There are signs leading you all the way there. Or google it or look here on the website for directions to the start.
We are starting up the Arizona Trail straight up the Rim for two miles to the top. At the top I will have water dropped. This will also be mile 29 before dropping back down the same way to the finish.
Take a RIGHT on the Rim Road at the top and follow it 4.5 miles to the Houston Brothers Trail turnoff on the left side. You will see the yellow "MOG100" markers there. Head up the trail and you'll see a car. This is the location of the Houston Brothers AS on race day. We'll have water here which is almost mile 7.
Head north on Houston Brothers trail a couple miles to the intersection of Barbershop Trail heading right (east). There are wooden signs posted for each trail showing which way is which. For this 50k route we are taking the Barbershop Trail. Race day you're going to stay on Houston Brothers.
Take a right on Barbershop Trail and follow the trail and yellow ribbons to the u-Bar trail intersection. Take a left.
U-Bar goes about 2 more miles to Dane Spring. This is a pipe spring that is safe to drink. Or at least it always has been in the past without treatment. Its delicious and you can refill water here. This would be approximately 16 miles into the days run.
U-Bar goes through some beautiful canyons about 7 miles (or 8 something) and goes through some gates before hitting Pinchot Cabin. Its literally a cabin ina meadow. This is also where Houston Brothers trail dumps out if you had stayed on it at the Barbershop intersection.
Pinchot Cabin AS location for the race a minimal aid Sunday is located just up the hill to the northwest leaving the meadow.
This is around 23 miles into the run.
You'll leave the Pinchot Aid and start on the Fred Haught Trail. This trail hits a forest road after a quarter mile of trail. Take a left as the road bends around Bear Canyon and climbs back upthe road to regain the Fred Haught Trail on your left. You'll see the ribbons but if you went over a cattle guard in the road you missed the turnoff.
Take Fred Haught Trail all the way south to the edge of the Rim. This meetsback up with the Arizona Trail as it combines with Fred Haught Trail. Continue all the way back until the trail passes by General Springs Cabin to the left as it becomes a forest road following power lines. This continues a short stretch back to the edge of the Rim you were at after the first climb. You'll have water here again around mile 29/30. Its about two miles down the mountain the way you came originally back to the start at Washington Park.
The correct way to go will be following the yellow ribbons along the way. The wrong way will be marked with red colored "MOG100" ribbons. The initial road section will not be marked. Its a road. Keep running until you hit 4.5 miles or see the sign/ribbons for Houston Brothers Trail.
There are several forest road crossings along the way. As it will be marked its still useful to know that the majority of the time when single track hits a road the trail continues on the other side of the road. There are cairns and of course ribbon but just cross the road and you'll hit the trail again.
You will see cut out marks on the Pine trees along the Cabin loop trails we are using. Those are supplemental markers that you are on the trail. There are also "Cabin Loop" square markers along the way posted on trees. These are also helpful reminders you're going the right way.
The weather is expected to be wet. 70% chance of rain. Come prepared with a light shell for it can get cold quick on the Rim and hail is not uncommon. Lightining is also always a possibility so be aware of what to do if caught on the trail in a light show.
I'll only have about a 30 minute head start on everyone marking the course so anyone that overtakes me should either settle in with me on my pace or know the course out in front of them without markers. Anyone that turns around and won't be going through the full distance please alert someone else that is continuing on so we know you turned around.
Don't get eaten by a bear. If you do I hold no responsibility.
This is a beautiful route, full of tall ferns high meadows, streams and wildlife. However it is still very challening and the 7-8k in elevation for 27 of the miles often take its toll on runners. Its also full of short steep canyons mixed in between fast and relatively flat single track. It's a really beautiful, fun course.
I wrote this whole thing on my phone holding a bottle of milk for my baby. Somehow my wife wasn't impressed by that.
See you all there!