12 hour update.
things get real fast in the heart of the south road race.
after winding thru frankfort the field headed to lexington on the old frankfort-lexington pike.
they were treated to lots of big shade trees,
and miles of beautiful rock walls and horse farms.
(along with a stream of giant dump trucks heading to and from a construction site on the road)
from our standpoint waiting to take splits at the 20 mile mark, this was possibly the best 1st day of all the vol states and hots races.
we sat in the shade
with no rendering plant within smelling distance.
a breeze blew all day,
and the temperature topped out at a mere 101…
to be fair,
i was comparing it to the past week of doing heavy trail work in higher temperatures and humidity.
runners with less heat preparation
and going thru more than a few stretches exposed to the sun
might have found the day a little less than pleasant.
bev abbs took charge of the race from the get go.
she was in the lead from the bottom of the old capital steps,
and extended her lead all day.
after reaching rupp arena in lexington
the race turned south and headed out into the countryside again.
eventually coming to a long descent to the kentucky river
(about 100 tight switchbacks on the way down)
and the boone tunnel.
the tunnel was a little hard to find amidst the summer undergrowth
but it provided a cool respite,
leading to a secret garden up above the river
and a trail that led them back to the old bridge
across the bridge awaits a climb that might be even longer and steeper than the descent to the river!
back up on top the next treat is the miles and miles of old rock walls of shakertown,
followed by huge farms with magnificent mansions at the end of long, tree lined drives.
after 12 hours bev was at 53.5 miles,
past shakertown and running thru the large plantations
surrounded by thousands of acres of young soybeans.
john clarke (50) and james turner (49) had just reached shakertown
and kyle svilar (44) was crossing the kentucky river.
it was 5 miles further back to where naresh kumar and brian trinkle led a veritable parade of runners extending back thru lexington.
i doubt that big blue country has ever seen anything quite like this.
and so the sun set on day 1.
82 of the 83 starters were still in the race,
but if they thought things had gotten real on day 1
night 1 will hammer that reality home.
there are so many miles left to go.
so many mountains to climb
and rivers to cross.
so many sights to see
and adventures to experience.
the first 24 hours is just setting the table.
under the full moon tonight
the strong are being separated from the weak.
the rising sun in the morning is going to reveal a very different race.
we will find out who is hardening on the open road
and who is being destroyed by it.