2012 was a hell of a March. Although the temperature matched 2010, this felt like the hottest march ever. Seems like there was a lot of fun, but a lot of suffering to be had. This is natural for a Death March, however. That’s the point right?
Things started off well. I was able to get doughnuts as the Caravan was assembling. The Valley Caravan left Starbucks at a decent hour.
We got to the end point to find 2 folks had already started the first ever Double Death March. Wow. But things got a little hairy as it dawned on us that there wasn’t a lot of organization as to who would be taking who back to the start. It’s a tricky business, but as we had a comparable Ride Corps compared to last year, I think it was more worry than substance. (Note for next year, 12 doughnuts was just about right for a nearly 30 member Ride Corps.)
I waited for George to show up (he was running late) and when he arrived, we piled into the old Civic and headed back to Topanga Canyon. There, we found Travis in trouble. His car wasn’t handling all the people very well, so I drive one volunteer back to get one more car. In the end, we saved Travis, but it also meant we didn’t get to Tommy’s until 9:30am. Arg.
So, after buying Tommy’s (note for next year, $40 worth of Tommy’s was too much. Shoot lower next year and avoid hot dogs, no one seems to want them), we headed to the Staring Point… we were late. So late, in fact, that we kind of rushed the Opening Ceremonies. Joel came up and wanted to play the National Anthem. I’m not sure what happened, but it got kind of confused halfway and everyone started singing different parts. When the music seemed to reach some sort of creshendo, I yelled “March on!!!” However, I didn’t get a start time for the March because I forgot to start my GPS. It seems to have been around 10:30am.
I did an initial count at the first hill (I should have taken a video, I still don’t have a great idea how many men and women there were) and got 59. That’s 2 more than last year. This is very similar to the change between 2009 and 2010. Does that mean that 2013 will be more like 100+? We’ll see. I’m thinking we might be burning through all the slightly nerdy hikers in the LA area. Prove me wrong, LA, prove me wrong.
Immediately, I heard about someone quitting after the first hill. Ouch. Shortest Death March ever. But then as I wandered through the ranks, I noticed lots of upbeat talk about how awesome the hike is gonna be.
The hub has been remodeled! No more is there that small board and a porta-potty. There is now a little structure and a more permanent looking toilet. Very nice.
Eagle Rock was nice. Beers were a tad hard to find and burgers were not quite in demand like they normally are. A note for next year, point out that beers and burgers are needed for the titles! Maybe it wasn’t quite known. Also, beers need to be cold. Too many warm beers with this year’s hot temps.
The picture taking didn’t go great. While the whiteboard was a good idea for later identification, it slowed things down considerably. I was unable to get through everyone this year, even after switching from individual pics to group pics. Maybe next year there could be some sort of picture checkpoint pre-Eagle Rock.
There also was someone running who I counted on the initial hill who we never saw again. Someone said he continued on all the way without stopping, but then got lost and finished in the 10s. I can’t figure out who it was. REMEMBER FOLKS, your race to the sea will not count if you do not visit Eagle Rock and wait for the go sign. Also, there was confusion over if that was the start or the start was the start. Something else to try to clarify.
After announcing the race at 12:45pm (this was exact), I stuck around to take the pictures of some non-racing members and then proceeded to walk with the Lt. Marshal and Vice Lt. Marshal for a while. Ace suggested a sweep to make sure that there are no stragglers, but we didn’t seem motivated to really pass a bylaw about it at that time. I think a Rear Guard position would be fantastic, but it would have to be a volunteer position staffed by a long time member who knows the route. Might be a good idea to suggest this pre-2013 March and see if anyone is interested.
At Musch Camp, lots of people were taking a nice shady second break. One guy was furiously searching for a geocache. People seem to be having lots of fun with the achievements. They seem to have become a major part of the March, despite only being the second year for them. I was already feeling pretty slow, so rather than stick around too long, I offered some burgers, I drank until I sloshed and headed off alone. Lonely Death March is lonely.
When I got to the next water (I always forget that there are two water fountains pretty close to each other) near the Altar of Freedom, I waited for the next group to catch up and lead a party up to the Altar. We took our pictures there and headed off to Trippet Ranch.
At Trippet, they were building a new shade structure. It appears half completed. This is the halfway point, but I kept telling people it was the latitude. I’m surprised by how little I specifically remember about the hike. Each year begins to blur into the next.
The last section was variously leaving people behind and being left behind. I’m trying to remember just how many hills there are, but this last section is tough. I think the second to last hill is the worst (long and steep), but most people seem to think the last hill is the worst.
I was alone once again for the Los Liones Trail and was appalled by how much trash there was. I gave up my trash collecting when I found someone had “Become Two With Nature” and then wiped with Starbucks napkins. I almost vomited. Next year I’m bringing a trash picker and a bag. Think about it, the Death March could really have a positive impact if we all picked up something.
The last new improvement (all of which seem weird in the tough budget climate) was a gateway for the Los Liones trail head. Lovely! Of course, that isn’t the end. The long lonely walk to the ocean is nothing to laugh at.
But at the ocean, I was so happy to find that Baker was still there taking times AND that people had gathered around the shade structure! It was like coming home. Touched the ocean and completed my 13th Death March.
But no rest for the weary. My team had already been waiting 2 hours, so I had to hop in Jose’s car almost immediately to go get things for the Banquet. After getting extremely car sick, it was nice to be in my own (borrowed) car once again. I drove to Trader Joe’s to pick up some goodies and won a bag of treats for wearing a kilt (I think).
The banquet at the Fuller Compound was fantastic. Waves of people arriving and eating and resting. Many who couldn’t make the March this year arrived to congratulate. The cake was delicious and really cool looking.
Again, back to work! Started running the rank numbers and found that Mike had been passed up by George for 3rd place. But George wasn’t at the Banquet! So we called him up and he passed it on to Mike as long as he got to keep his rank points. This is completely bylegal, so Mike gets to serve another year as Vice Lt. Marshal.
Next, went about congratulating Foot on being the new Champion of the Sea and trying to figure out what team was the largest. After polling the people in attendance, it appeared that Howland Reed’s Moving Castle was the largest team, making Supriya our new Premiere!
After that, I went about assigning Seasonal Marches (Supriya is Autumn, Ace is Winter, Mike is Spring) and then took a load off.
All in all, a great March. I’m sad to see it over, but look forward to the first bylaw mandated Seasonal March this Autumn.
Thank you for all your help this year and making this a Great Death March.