Sunday, May 1, 2011

Surviving the Bare Burro 5K

By Rolf H.

Cynthia and I arrived at the Olive Dell Nudist Ranch around 9 am on an absolutely beautiful, crystal clear Sunday morning to take part in their 2nd annual 5K Bare Burro Run. The temperature at that point was in the low 80's and just perfect for running, or walking the course. I am still a little too out of shape to attempt running the 3.1 mile trail that winds through the green hills behind Olive Dell, but I figured I could easily walk it.

We got our gear from the car and made our way up to the shady grass area near the pool where we met some friends and SCNA members George and Leslie from San Diego. They were both planning to run for the second year in a row, but Cynthia decided she’d rather be an observer this time, watch our stuff, and take pictures of us at the start and end of the race. When we registered, we were each given a commemorative t-shirt, and they painted our entry number on our right leg (I was #16). As the hour progressed we saw more and more people arriving, including SCNA members David, Gordon, and Akila and her daughter Amy. We also said hello to Anita and Joe Panganiban from AANR-West.

A little before the 10:30 start time all 101 runners and walkers gathered at the start line in the upper parking lot. The organizers explained the course layout.

As we stood at the starting line, Leslie pointed out to me the footwear of another runner standing near us. "Yeah, they're called "Mexican sandals," he said. I mentioned that they looked more like Roman sandals, consisting of leather soles approximately 1/4" thick with leather laces over his feet, ending just above his ankles.

Just before the countdown started, Leslie said, "Don't worry about holding back to walk with me. If you want to go ahead, go for it." In reality, it was the other way around, for as soon as the count went to zero and we all started off, everyone (save about 4 others) passed me by very quickly.

The course left the clubhouse parking lot and wound around past the "birdhouses" and then through the residential area and into the hills above. It seemed like the next mile and a half were almost all uphill. Whew! Just as I passed the half mile marker going up and had been walking approximately 15 minutes, the guy wearing the "Mexican sandals" ran past me downhill on his way back to finish line.

And speaking of nature, about 3/4 of a mile up the course as I rounded a bend in the trail, I came upon a native crossing the road, a four-foot long rattlesnake! I kept my distance and let him go on his merry way, but warned the next few runners on their way back down to watch out for him.

The course took us to a peak that overlooked the entire area and afforded a glorious view of all of Reche Canyon and Colton beyond to the north.

Olive Dell had painted red "uphill" arrows and blue "downhill" arrows on the ground for us directionally challenged first-timers and they also had volunteers along the way providing water, as well as encouragement, throughout the course.

Hey I wasn’t in any rush; just completing the course was going to be a victory for me. I kept plugging along, sure but steady, stopping a few times along the way to snap some photos or let my pounding heart settle down a little. I finally made it to the peak around 45-50 min. after starting. I stopped to take some more pictures of the gorgeous landscape and vistas visible from that point. It also helped to have a nice cool bottle of water waiting for me up there.

The good news is the second half of the course was almost all downhill. After a few minutes, I started back down, only stopping a couple of times to let a couple on horseback pass on the path. I finally reached the finish line and clubhouse patio a little after noon. The awards ceremony had already started. Besides medals for the overall winners, Olive Dell gave medals away to males and females with the best times in different age groups. For example, Leslie won the First Place medal for women in the 40-49 age range! Anita Panganiban also was awarded a medal (see photo). And what happened to the "Mexican sandal" guy? He was the overall winner completing the entire course in only 19 minutes! Next year we suggest they put rocks in those shoes as a handicap!

We spent the rest of the day visiting with friends, making some new ones, and relaxing in the sun, pool, and Jacuzzi.

The owners, Becky and Bobby Kilborn, as well as their staff, and all the Olive Dell volunteers need to be congratulated for organizing and overseeing a great race and opening up their hospitable and friendly resort for a wonderful naturist event.

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