25 Days of SARTember - Day 2
Location: The frozen wastelands of Dutchman Flats, in or around Bend.
Preface: In the best interests of fair play, I feel it my solemn duty to elucidate certain aspects of the SART venues for those who have not had previous experience with same, and who may be interested in neutralizing to some degree the clear advantage now enjoyed by many Cascadians. In view of the current situation I believe that my action will enrich, rather than corrupt, the competitive quality of the event. Finally, as SART is not a "national event," and as the old maps are freely available via the website, I'm confident that my motives will not arouse disapprobation from any official quarter.
So, let's talk about the first of our four SART venues, Green Lake Park (current map here
- our understanding is that the map has been/will be extensively overhauled).
Some necessary background - Green Lake is a blobular body of water in north Seattle that's roughly the shape of a human heart, or West Virginia without those weird panhandles and the guys from the movie Wrong Turn. It is encircled by a horribly popular paved path; path users will get mad at you if you ride a bike the wrong way at high speeds because how should you know if it's counterclockwise on Tuesdays. The complete circuit is about 3.2 miles, which would make it great for 5k practice if there weren't seventeen hundred people everywhere. There's also (or at least used to be) a guy who will teach you Spanish if you give him a couple bucks. All of this information that I am telling you right now will help you when you are running your course.
As the erudite reader by now suspects, Green Lake Park is merely the lightly forested parkland which encompasses the path all the way round the lake, and serves as a precarious membrane between it and surrounding urbanity. The majority of the park is either open grass or true white (AKA not "Northwest White" [TM]) woods, offering high visibility and little to hinder running at top speeds, with relatively few buildings, fences or other impassable obstacles to bamboozle incautious orienteers - although you never know what these course setters will come up with. To the best of our knowledge, Green Lake Park has never been the site of an official Cascade event - certainly not in recent years.
Green Lake Park is to be used for the first race, the Time Trial, the purpose of which is to provide initial bracket seeding. All indications point to this race being quite short and fast; our intel allows us to hazard a guess at a length of 1-1.5km, with winning time perhaps 5-7 min and very few, if any, competitors taking longer than 12-15 min. There will be little excuse not to run as fast as you can the whole time, unless you're feeling very strategic and want to risk getting stuck in the Heat of Death with Norway, Sweden and New Zealand.
Tomorrow's preview: Woodland Park - or, "The Eric Bone House of Pain."