Soderlund Schools AJizzleWizzle

Answers to WSER Course Trivia Contest

Who would have thought the second WS trivia contest would be over within an hour of posting it?  Who would have thought that Greg Soderlund, RD, would want a Conduct The Juices t-shirt?  And who would have thought that Soderlund would school AJizzleWizzle in WSER course trivia?  I mean, AJizzleWizzle is a man who knows the WSER course better than he knows the folds of fat on his belly.  I’ve been on runs with him and he’ll point out that “we’re 20 seconds slow to this tree from that rock back near the fallen oak.” Or “this is the 12th of 16 rollers before the Elevator Shaft.” … And to get soundly beaten by Soderlund?  Sure, Greg has one finish and is the RD so he should know something about the race course, but when is the last time anybody has actually seen him run on the course?  When’s the last time he ran Cal St? or Devil’s Thumb?

So here’s how it unfolded if you don’t remember.  Shortly after posting on the afternoon of February 11, Seagull Junker, who has already won a Conduct The Juices t-shirt from the 1980’s video trivia contest, started answering quickly.  He got four correct answers before Soderlund comes along and nails everything except #6.  The contest is basically over, but several hours later AJizzleWizzle posts his answers.  Nice try, but Soderlund wins the shirt.

Seagull Junker got 20 points with 4 correct answers, and Soderlund got 35 points by claiming the remaining 6 and the extra credit.

1. What year was the Cal St section added to the run course?

1986 was the inaugural year for Cal St.  That was also the year Chuck Jones won the race. Before 1986 the run course went down the paved Foresthill Rd, through the streets of Todd Valley, to White Oak Flat before reaching the river.  The old route, while on paved roads, was a much shorter and faster journey to the river.  After leaving Foresthill now, the Cal St section is surprisingly remote and it definitely is not all downhill to the river.

2. When did the No Hands Bridge get hand rails?

1984.  This classic feature of the race was originally a railroad bridge built in 1910-1912 to get rock from Mountain Quarries.  Click here for more history.

3. Where’s the Shortcut Trail?

Just past highway 49 aid station before you start climbing.  There used to be a Pointed Rocks aid station which was useless in terms of aid but it did ensure that runners didn’t take the shortcut trail.  What’s preventing runners from taking it now?  Integrity.

4. When was the Pucker Point Trail first used in the run course?

2002.  In search of more mileage because Duncan Canyon was not usable, this trail which had already been used in the horse race, replaced the 3+ mile downhill gravel road from Dusty Corners to Last Chance.  It was a much nicer trail and very popular, so when Duncan Canyon was used again in 2006 the trail gurus had to figure out a way to shorten the trail elsewhere so Pucker Point could remain.   They shortened the climb to Emigrant and the route from Robinson Flat to Dusty Corners and were able to keep the distance at 100.2 while keeping Pucker Point.

5. What miles of the current course go through the Granite Chief Wilderness Area?

About miles 4 to 8.  AJizzleWizzle is correct in that it is probably closer to 4 than 4.5 but close enough.  How can an organized race go through a wilderness area?  Both the Tevis and the WSER got grandfathered in when the wilderness area was declared in 1984.

6. Where is the halfway mark on the course?

Kaput Springs, a.k.a. the pipe, on the descent to El Dorado Creek . And, yes, Seagull Junker, there is a story in Marnye Langer’s book, The Tevis Cup, about a horse falling down the cliff right at this spring during a Tevis race in the 1960s.  The drag riders (what we call sweeps), including Jack Veal, according to the book, found the rider OK but the horse stuck down near the bottom of the canyon.  Because Sports Illustrated was covering the race, the race organizer, Wendall Robie, called a helicopter to rescue the horse.

7. Where’s the best place to find a shower curtain on the course?

I think we should let Daniel Rose explain in his own words (April 2008).

8. Who built the Swinging Bridge?

I assumed it was Mark Falcone but apparently it was the Army Corp of Engineers.  The trail from Last Chance to Michigan Bluff was originally built as a toll road to supply the mining camps.  I have no source on who actually built the bridge.

9. What years has the race used the alternate snow course on Mosquito Ridge Rd?

1983, 1995, 1998. This basically eliminates Duncan Canyon and Robinson Flat.  When you get to the Duncan Canyon aid station you go down Mosquito Ridge Rd. to N44 and rejoin at Dusty Corners.  Now with the new trail it may be possible to hop back on the trail at N43.

10. What is the “Elevator Shaft?”

The steep, torturous downhill just above Cal 2 (err Peachstone).  My guess as to the reason for this is that existing trails/roads were used to construct this trail and this is where they connected them.

Extra Credit: What color is the Green Gate?

You’d think it would be green, but nope, it’s silver now.

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  1. I found your blog today. It was great reading the quote from Carol Hewitt-I was one of those 1980’s runners who formed a friendship with her and Rich. I hadn’t seen them for more than 20 years when, in 2007 while on a training run on the trail, ran into them, along with Ann and Carl. It was as if no time at all had gone by. I was training for States after a 22 year break (I was a finisher in 1981, 1984 and 1985) and something possessed me to go out there again for an attempt at #4. Carol and Rich were so encouraging to me and were out on race day to cheer me (and everyone else) on. I ended up finishing (barely) in 29:43 but it was the best finish of all!

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