The Silverback: Map and Pre-Race Thoughts

A while back, for some odd reason, I decided to sign up for the Green River Games' Silverback race. It seemed like a good idea four months or so ago. Eight miles down the Green River through the Narrows followed by eight miles on the bike and eight miles running. Heck, I ran in college, my wife loves to take me on 35 mile mountain bike rides and I actually know how to paddle downriver. It seemed like a good idea.

Yesterday was the first time I have been able to recon the bike ride. Last week culminated seven straight weeks on the road, six for work and one for vacation. The vacation was marvelous and put me in great shape, but the rest of the travel, for work all over the country did little to help my race prep. To quote what I put on the pre-race interview form, "I am going into this race completely half-cocked." Truthfully, even that would be likely the understatement of the year.

Looking at what they are calling a, "map," of the trail left a lot to be desired. Given my day job is mapping, I am a little critical, but even for somebody like myself who is pretty good at figuring out how to wander in the woods, it was difficult to figure out where exactly to go. Since I created a rough map of the Green River Gamelands trails a while back before the Green Race in 2010, I pulled it up, georeferenced the, "map," provided by the Green River Games and figured out the trails I needed to be on.

It was an interesting ride. To be truthful, I will very likely ride these trails twice in my life. Once yesterday and once next Saturday. I like flowy trails. These do not qualify as flowy. It felt very much like a slog up the hill dragging a mountain bike along the way. Sometimes I rode. Sometimes I just dragged the bike. It is however, excellent trail running terrain. I am looking forward to the last leg for this reason.

True, it is late in the game. The race is this coming Saturday. However, for those of you trying to remember the turns or doing late in the game recon, hopefully this will prove useful. On the ride, I carried with me my cheap-o Garmin eTrex 10, collecting a track log as I wandered in the woods. Additionally I carried my camera, taking pictures of the turns as I went. Once back home I used Lightroom's capability to georeference photos using a tracklog to get them close to the correct location. I then pulled the tracklog into ArcGIS Desktop and added it to my older and decidedly less accurate dataset, replacing the trails with data from my GPS where I had it available. Next I added the photos in and corrected their locations as best I could to make them coincident with the turns. Finally I tossed all this up on ArcGIS Online so you would be able to have access to it!

This map can also be beneficial for spectators wanting to drop in on the Pulliman Creek trail to watch the antics. This what my wife and a good friend are going to be doing. If you are spectating and planning on doing this, please be aware a large portion of the Pullman Creek Trail is part of the race course. As you are hiking out from the river, competitors will be coming up behind you. Granted, they likely will not be moving dramatically faster than you, but please be aware of this.

Finally, here is the map. If you want to view it larger, please click here. If you want to see images of the turns to help remember what they look like, just click on the green dots. They have links to the photos at these locations.

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