Michigan Bluff Training Camp 2011 – The View From Eugene

Guest Post By Lewis (lowercase) Taylor

lc, with tiger blood (and Northwest IPA) in his veins

Hi. lc, here. Time for another installment of the Virtual Michigan Bluff Training Camp. LB, GM, Bili and Tapeworm are all at training camp now. They’re staying in Michigan Bluff, at mile 55.7 on the WS course. If you’ve never been to camp, I highly recommend it. Basically, you spend every waking moment either running the WS Trail or talking about the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. For the next 10 days, the Eugene crew will be living, sleeping, breathing, eating and puking Western States. Am I jealous? Definitely. I went to camp once in 2007, but I’ve never been able to carve out the time since then. My daughter, Alice, was actually born on the ninth day of training camp, which caused me to miss the biggest run of the week. It’s okay, LB brought me ice cream sandwiches and Mountain Dew as a baby gift.

While the Eugene crew is off running El Dorado Canyon and climbing Devil’s Thumb, I’ll be here holding down the fort in Eugene. I’ll be taking reports from the field and ghost writing a collective training log for the group. I’ll also be conducting the juices by attempting to simulate the MB Training Camp here in the O-r-e. When I tried this in 2009, it took me about 7 days to come to the somewhat obvious realization that the Willamette Valley is flat and low and Michigan Bluff is hilly and high. Trying to simulate the high starts and long descents of training camp from a flatass valley renowned for the quality of its grass seed doesn’t really work, so this year I’ll be more concerned with logging mileage and capturing the spirit of the camp runs. Also, I’ll be adding a heat component, which means I’ll be putting on the burglar suit if it gets toasty in No. Cal.

So, welcome campers! Lace those shoes up, put the brownies in the oven and lube your balls up to prevent chaffing. Time to go to camp with LB, GM, Bili and Dan-O, plus a few “very special guests.” It will be an experience you won’t soon forget!

Day 1 – Friday, May 20

The Report From Camp

The Route: The old saw mill site to Michigan Bluff

The Mileage: 6ish

LB was moving slower than this insect at WS in 2010

Day 1 was mostly driving. The crew left Eugene about 11:30 a.m. and got to Foresthill about 8:15 p.m. Dan, GM, and LB ran Volcano Canyon with headlamps. The creek was raging. Dan and LB rock hopped while GM just walked right through. It was a pretty high flow, LB says. The group saw some scary 6-inch millipedes, which were longer than LB’s weiner. The most remarkable incident came courtesy of Bili,, who ran 2 hours near Auburn after driving all night and then met Carol at the Bluff. The group texted him from Foresthill and Bili said he would run from the opposite direction and meet the group on the trail. It was dark and they never saw him. They were thinking he either got lost or his achilles was hurting. Sure enough when they got to the Bluff Jeff was not here. GM and Carol were worried

After a long car ride, Dan-O and GM needed a bath.


but the group gave him some time and he showed up with a stick and rock in hand. Why, he had a stick and a rock in his hands, I don’t know? I do know where he got lost. Turns out Bili took the same wrong left turn I took during the race in 2007 while on my way from MB to Foresthill. That sucks, Bili. Believe me I know! To celebrate Bili’s return, the group drank a bottle of zin and slutty pinot.  They said it was great to see Carol.

The Report From Eugene

The Route: Home to Full City to Moon Mountain to 30th Ave. and back with the Hackers

The Mileage: 12

I got my miles in on Friday before the Eugene crew had even left town. I joined the Hackers (a group of local road runners) for 12 miles on the pavement, followed by a 20 ounce coffee. I did manage to convince these asphalt-addicted road warriors to get off the pavement for a quarter mile and we conquered a few south Eugene hills on our route, but this was probably not the best WS-specific training I could have accomplished. Still, this may be the only day I run more miles than the guys at camp. At around about the time that Bili was busy getting lost, we were at the Sheryl Crow concert. Every day is a winding road.

While Bili was gathering rocks and sticks, we were posing awkwardly with a minor celebrity

Day 2 – Saturday, May 21, 2011,

The Rapture Run

The Route: MB to Devil’s Thumb and back

The Mileage: 16

The Eugene crew did their Rapture Run and reports that nobody was raptured. The group got a late start at 12:30 p.m. (they say that every day). They started easy out to the Thumb. Dan-O and LB climbed into the mouth of the thumb, but GM refused to join them. Bili waited near the aid station and got bugged.

LB and Dan-O in the mouth of the beast, looking lame and hoping to be raptured

Meghan scrambled out there with the group but did not get on the rock.  Jeff sat near the aid station and ran back to the pump, completely bored by it all. Craig reports: “It was very peaceful out at the base of the thumb and we could feel the pull of the lord but nothing happened.”

The group spotted a satanic nest on the southeast side of the thumb. Meghan guessed paregrine falcon while Dan-O thought it might be a raptor of some sort. LB guessed bald eagle but what the hell does he know. Dan-O drank none of his bottles on the way out but they pestered him enough that he drank 2 bottles on the return.  At the Bluff, the group ran into Mark Lantz, Eric Skaden, Graham Cooper, Jim Scott and Luanne Park.

The rapture ruled “a bust” the group went back to the house for BBQ burgers and more slutty pinot from Rodney Strong for beverage.

Postscript: Mark Brotherton (winner of 1989 WS100) showed up after his run and talked shop for an hour or so. The group agreed that it was fun listening to his stories.

One of these men has a cougar and a 16:53 finish

The Report From Eugene

The Route: Alice’s ballet class to the Hideaway Bakery via the Rexius Trail to Mt. Baldy.

The Mileage: 6.66

With the end of days coming, I wondered whether to go for being raptured like the Eugene crew or whether to stick around and train for WS 2011. After discussing my options with my wife, we both agreed it would be more fun to stay on earth with the sinners and burn in hell. So, I embraced my devilish tendencies, running 6.66 miles

The number of the beast

while listening to the Satanic station on Pandora. Seven thousand years after the great flood, I too failed to be raptured and finished my run feeling pretty good about that. Sure, there might be famine and disease and all kinds of teribleness ahead, but I had a chocolate milk and a parma proscuttio braid in front of me and I was feeling fine. I did run into Tommy on the trail and he agreed to join me tomorrow for my attempt at equaling the Eugene group’s monster mileage.


Green Eugene


On the Docket For Tomorrow: Robie to the River, a 35-40 mile training camp classic!







  1. Excellent journalism lc. Only issue I have is the following statement as uttered by LB:
    “It was very peaceful out at the base of the thumb and we could feel the pull of the lord but nothing happened.” I just don’t see that being what he said. First, since when has he uttered over twenty words in a sentence? And second, doesn’t Lord Balls always “feel the pull of the lord”?
    Damn I wish I was down there. I had to make do with visiting with The Seed this weekend on his home course. His calves are still glistening.

    • I would never make up a quote, SLF — at least not when I’m wearing my journalist hat (and you know the kind of serious journalism being done by the correspondents at a site called Conduct the Juices).

  2. SLF,

    I’m guessing, as with most trail tales that are handed down the line, the meaning gets skewed and the quotes get all out of whack. It’s more likely that LB said “I’m looking forward to pulling the lord with feeling in the hope that something rapturous happens…”

    Great to see you and Aztec(we pronounce that ass’-tick down here in these parts) on the Eastside. Thanks for not kicking up any DG in my face when you went by…like how I tried to stay with you for all of a 1/4 mile? If I make it up for P2P I’ll be sure to bring some extra olive oil and a bit more fitness.


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