Chris Russell’s Tip #2 – Aid Stations
by 10k Tony · October 16, 2011
The purpose of this tip is to discuss the Cactus Rose Aid Staions and where you may want to put your drop bags. The contents of the drop bags will be discuss in tip # 3; otherwise, this eamil would be too long.
First if you haven’t already done so I suggest you read Joe’s latest and updated info guide. Lots of good info in there. http://tejastrails.com/docs/Cactus__Inf.html
I will use a Q&A; format to discuss the Cactus Rose Aid Stations:
How many aid stations does CR have and how often will I hit them?
Cactus Rose has 5 aid stations per loop spaced approximately 5 miles apart. For specific distances go to this link: http://tejastrails.com/docs/Cactus__Aid.html
Specifically, a 50 mile racer will hit Equestrian (5mi), Nachos (10mi), Equestrian (15), Boyles (20), Lodge (25), Boyles (30), Equestrian (35), Nachos (40), Equestrian (45) and Lodge (50).
What can I expect at each Aid Station?
A Las Vegas style buffet, 40 different kind of beverages, massages, manis/pedis, hot tub. Just kidding. At each Aid Station Joe will have water, ice, notebook, pen and clock. The notebook, pen and clock are to record the time you arrive at each aid station. Due to runners getting bunched up last year at Equestrian (5) and Nachos (10) Joe will not require runners to record their bib number and time in book until Equestrian (15). Boyles and Nachos are bare bones (water only). Joe is expecting to make Equestrian and Lodge somewhat supported. Cold food available during day and hot food available during night. Plus Rich will be at Equestrian also with his goodies. But I would not be basing my race survival on whatever food Joe may provide (it may not even be something you like). Definitely plan on having enough calories in your own dropbag. Olga V will be running the Equestrian Aid Station Russian style. Don’t expect sympathy but she knows what she is doing and can often help you get going again. In fact Olga enjoys helping you get going out of the aid station. She also likes to give you tomato juice to drink because of nutrients and sodium. Its generally best to drink it and not to argue with Olga.
Where should I put my drop bags?
As you may have noticed Equestrian gets hit twice every loop. Definitely want to put a drop bag there. If you also put a drop bag at Lodge then you will have access to your stuff every 10 miles. You are also allowed to put a drop bag at Nachos and Boyles. I like to keep it simple so I have never done that. But some runners do. Usually it is 100 milers stashing a cooler of mtn dew or something.
What should I put in Drop Bags?
That will be tip #3:-)
I can hardly wait for tip #3, well can you tell me how do I get the drop bags to the Aid Station?
You drop them off yourself. Joe doesn’t do it for Cactus. That is why I like to do it day before in daylight. Also if you use a cooler put a rock on it so critters can’t get into it.
Okay, what is the deal with Equestrian? I see Joe has a separate map for it.
Yes Joe does have a separate map for it. Here is the link. http://tejastrails.com/maps/CR_Equestrian.jpg
During a 50 mile race you hit Equestrian 4 times and each time you enter and exit a different way depending on the loop. The first 2 or 3 CRs people got confused. Last year Joe put in a divider (fence) to essentially break Equestrian into two aid stations so it is a lot more difficult to get confused. Plus you can always ask Olga. I highly recommend going to Equestrian day before race and familiarizing yourself.
Joe also said if we don’t know Equestrian to have 2 drop bags but if we know it then we are free to use 1 drop bag? Help, I’m getting a headache!!
What Joe is saying is that if you don’t know the flow in and out of Equestrian to put a drop bag on either side of the divider (fence). However, if you are familiar with Equestrian and know the way in and out of it then you can put your drop bag along the divider fence. My preference is just use one drop bag. Packing another drop bag adds to the complexity and once you study the map of the aid station it is pretty simple. Plus most of the Rockhoppers are familiar with Equestrian/Crossroads area. If you have 2 drop bags at Equestrian then you have to think about when you are going to be hiting that part of Equestrian and which stuff to put into which Equestrian drop bag. Much easier to totally understand the flow in and out of Equestrian and just use one drop bag there.
For those that can make it Sat. I will give an overview of Equestrian for anyone who wants one.
Well Mr. Know it all is the anything else I need to know about Aid Stations?
From Joe’s website…”Set up your own stuff where you want it and nobody will touch it. It remains where you put it. Nobody is to touch anyone else’s gear. If anything is left on the table, it is available to everybody. This does not mean that you should leave your trash on the table because you do not want it anymore. There will be a trash can there for your trash: please use it. The stations that are unattended, do not leave anything with a flame (like a lantern) unattended. I have a few LED lanterns I use that give some light, but only a little.”
So the big takeaway is do not leave anything on the aid station table when you go through. Put everything back in your drop bag and throw your trash away. This means you shouldn’t store some gels at the corner of the table so you can grab them faster next time you come through. Anything left on table is community property so someone else may take them. I have seen pizza left on a table for runners before and have helped myself to a piece.