Sunday, April 10, 2016

Buck Ridge Burn 1/2, the trail challenge that chose me

Furnace found at the start/finish area.
Race flyer
On my way to my car after finishing a 10-mile race on April 2, I quickly glanced over a table filled with race brochures. In less than 30 seconds, the flyer for this race jumped out. Race date agreed with my calendar and I thought "hmmm, this could be a good practice race for my April 16 half, and 25K trail in May."

I quickly did my due diligence when I got home and looked for answers to the following:
Registration area.

  1. where is the race
  2. what time
  3. registration fee?
  4. elevation map, how difficult is it?
  5. time limit to finish the race?
  6. parking?
Of everything I found, the following concerned me the most: 
  1. Two-hour drive to the location
  2. 700-foot climb after 5 miles
  3. 4-hour time limit
With further research, I found an awesome recap by Ian Kraynak of complete with a video of the course. I really appreciated the video, but not the mud. I'm a trail newbie and still squeamish about some things.

One of the many water crossings.  
In addition, I haven't been following a plan and this week, my training was limited to 6 miles on Tuesday and 4.5 miles on Friday. 

So what finally made me decide to join it? I couldn't find any good excuse not to. With a 9 am race start, the 2-hour drive was doable. About the elevation, I'll never know if I can do it unless I try, right? About the time limit, if I ever get picked up by the clean up crew, that would make a great blog post. 

The course was absolutely gorgeous. No mile markers but lots of flags to mark the course. I'm directionally impaired so I still got lost. Good thing there were runners behind me who were smart not to follow me. Instead, they called my attention to the missed turn.

A rocky descent.
Pink flags lined the ground while pink ribbons were tied to various branches about 4 feet above ground. I found the flags much more helpful because I don't usually look up when I'm trying to focus on what I'm stepping on.

The 700-ft climb was actually easier than the descent. With more trail races, I will master descending a rocky downhill path more effectively. Today, I walked, A LOT!
Reward after the monster climb.

I recommend this race to all my friends who love a good challenge. It's cheap and dirty, just the way I like it. For $55, I got a beautiful long sleeve Sport Tek shirt, experienced a butt burning workout, 4 aid stations that provided a good array of drinks and food, easy race day registration, satisfying post-race buffet, and live band music. No finisher's medal - no biggie. All my medals are tucked in my closed, and my most challenging races don't give medals.

Got home to something better than a medal. A delicious array of cheese and bread, arranged by my 11-year old son. 

Thank you to the organizers of the 6th Buck Ridge Burn held on April 10, 2015 at the Pine Grove State Park, Gardner, Pennsylvania.

This race called me and I'm happy I heeded. What challenges you?

The monster climb begins.
Are those flags in the right place?
One of 4 aid stations/

Gender specific shirts

Sandwiches and salads.

buck ridge burn half marathon elevation map


  1. Congratulations on your finish. That is a great price for a race. All you need is a glass of wine to go with all those cheeses.-L

    1. LOL, the glass is there somewhere. Saving it for the next blog post =D

  2. I totally get how the race can choose you! They speak to me all the time! I have to say looks like one heck of a hard climb with a steep descent. Awesome job!!! That's a great tech shirt too. It's so sweet your son had you a post race treat ready. Thanks for linking with us Patricia.

    1. Thanks Holly. I was surprised to get a shirt because I signed up on race day. It was really an awesome race.

  3. Congratulations! The course looks gorgeous, and it sounds like it was a great challenge.

    1. The descent was actually much more difficult than the climb. If you're ever in the area, this is really a race you should try.

  4. I like races where I don't have to travel overnight for them and two hours is my limit for driving to/from a race on race day.

    Sorry you got lost, but I'm glad there were other runners around to call you back! That's a big climb at mile 5. I often find that climbs like that during a trail race are faster than the descent when both are rocky. It's easier to pick your way through on the way up. That looks like a pretty sweet postrace food spread - small trail races are usually great for that!

    1. Hope you're 2 hours away from this race. It's really worth the drive.

    2. Unfortunately I'm nearly 5 hours away :(

  5. Ha, I love the fact that this race spoke to you an you listened! You are right you never know until you try right? 2 hour drive with a 9am start would be fine for me too.
    Whoa, reading you talk about the drop and actually seeing it on the chart is something else!
    It was a cool race shirt! I'd sure wear that!! Congratulations and thanks for linking up with us!!!

  6. You have to listen when a race calls to you! I've never done a trail race but I'm thinking about the NF Endurance challenge in Wisconsin in September. The half distance, that is...stay tuned!

    1. That's a good time. Cooler season. You can bet I'm staying tuned!