I have noticed that 100-milers generally have one of two requirements in addition to qualifying: first-come registration plus some number hours of trail work or lottery style. I qualified for Western States 100 and entered in to the lottery last year to find out that my 10% chance of being selected proved unsuccessful. Afterwards the dream of finishing a 100-mile race would not leave my mind so I signed up for the Cascade Crest. You can read the story of registering here. Since the Cascade Crest does not operate on a lottery-based entry, the directors require 8 hours of volunteer trail work. It took me months before finding opportunities in my new home of Vancouver, B.C. Once I found out about some work parties, they all fell on dates that I had pre-planned to travel down to Seattle for training with Paul. As the days and weeks began to fly by, my nerves of actually completing the hours before race day grew at an exponential rate. Finally, however, I met with Lawrence and the amazing people at the Camosun bog in Pacific Spirit Park near my apartment. I helped removed a section of the bog that was beginning experience overgrowth of a particular kind of moss which will drown out the sphagnum moss. Sphagnum moss keeps the peat acidic, a defining characteristic of a bog. The first day I showed up it was pouring rain the entire 3 hours of digging. The next week I returned to work on ‘my’ section of the bog in the sun and made good progress. Lawrence told me that in a couple years, this section would be back to normal. I hope I get to see it. The crew there also indoctrinated me into their ‘Crazzy Bogger’ family by giving me a badge. Even after the race, I plan on returning here free Saturday mornings.
At first I was reluctant and a little bit frustrated with having to do trail work. Once I found the opportunities, I am so glad this is part of the training/registration experience for a 100-miler. It got me out and connecting with some amazing people I would not have otherwise had the chance to meet. I did a few more hours of ivy-pulling in another section of Pacific Spirit Park to complete my hours.