Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rollercoaster Redux and Motivational Speaking

On Saturday I spent the better part of the day - and a whole buncha money - watching something not quite resembling Cyclone football. I don't know what it was; for it defies explanation. Its confounding, as if its supposed to be football. It even looks like football at times and then-its-gone (poof). The players have uniforms, helmets, pads and other cool stuff like that, but something is missing. Its not like I haven't seen this before......I should be an expert in almostfootball watching, but this is supposed to be different. It is vexing.


I needed to blow Saturday's cobwebs off so I headed off to the Center Sunday morning to inspect the newly minted Rollercoaster trail version (what?) 8.2. When I got downtown I saw the streets were closed and remembered it was the day of the Des Moines Marathon. My first thought was, "Man, I'm glad I'm not them."

Since the marathon went through Greenwood Park I had to park a few blocks away and ride a little through the course to get to the trail . I felt kinda bad rolling by on wheels when I knew some some these people were probably really feelin' it. The entry to Greenwood Park was the 17 mile mark of the course.

Rollercoaster starts off the little parking lot by the pond. After a couple of fun little dips and bridges, including the first 'coaster hill, and you're at the creek crossing and the accompanying switchbacks. This area is always changing, the switchbacks are always a little tricky and I always like it. I think this is the best version we've had in awhile.

Rollercoaster had a ton of volunteer hours and materials poured into it just last week, and it really shows.

Another 'coaster hill. I've never had a problem with it, but you really don't want to hit that rock in the middle when approaching that bridge; you really don't.

Here's some of the controversial reroute. In my book, its pretty cool when you've ridden this trail hundreds of times and you still can't tell where the reroute begins without studying it closely.

I like the ridgeline bit. It certainly adds an element since you can carry some good speed up to it.

In my humble opinion this bit, right after the ridgeline, could use some more bench cut. The off camber makes you scrub a lot of speed, which is a bummer on Rollercoaster.

I like the turn around the tree to the bridge. A burm on the uphill side to help whoosh you around the corner would be sweet.

From here there's a short bit of new trail and then it is the same old Rollercoaster - super fast, super fun.

'Coaster ends on the paved trail that runs through Greenwood and goes into Waterworks, which was part of the marathon course. I did 4 'coaster laps, plus some on Hillside, so each time back to the paved trail I got to encounter more runners. I tried to offer encouragment each time by, yelling things like, "I bet that headwind is killin' ya!"
and "All uphill from here, for the next 5 miles".

Occasionally, I'd see someone who was really struggling and give them a special boost, "You know, if you would lengthen your stride it would really help! Go on try it......C'MON MAN!, get it together!....Aw, forget it!". Sometimes tough love is just what a tired recreational runner needs.

This guy was on point with roadside entertainment. I encouraged him too, "More strumming, less picking!" and "C'mon man, play some Skynard - FREEBIRD!"

Really, the Sunset Cowboy was dern good.

Of course I'm kidding about the heckling, in truth I was very careful to keep out of people's way and dished out a few "good job" and "keep it up" comments. One lady marathoner said, "I thought I saw a deer in there", pointing into the woods where I emerged. "No, that was me." I said. She laughed. I hope that helped for a few yards.

Tony Robbins got nuthin' on me. I'm gonna write a book.

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