I started out with what I thought was a decent pace, but was sucking wind pretty hard. I was on Abby Woods' heels, which might explain that, but she had admitted to being undertrained for the trails. Jay was in sight ahead of her, which should have explained why I was so winded. In any case the first couple miles were kind of rough, heavy legs from not running, but halfway up Spruce Mountain I had my legs under me and was chugging along at a good clip. The forest was beautiful and remote, just a path of foot-mulched leaves to follow in most places. Ribbons marked the course and made it pretty easy to follow, it was in fact a very difficult course but excellently marked. The downhill began and quickly baptized you. There was a little 5 foot muddy patch that looked completely runnable. After setting foot on it I was immediately up to my knees in thick shoe-sucking mud! Both knees baptised I commenced the descent. I flew, really did a great job. for instance, here are my splits: first 3.6 in 36:28, next 1.5 to the summit 18:32, that's half the race in 55:01 and the second half in 41:11. I passed everyone who passed me in the first couple miles, many down due to injury on the treacherous descent. That included Abby, a Yackity guy, and Paul B., all of whom regularly kick my butt. Paul and I passed Billy Rowe before Paul dropped back, and I was amazed at that. Billy looked pretty beat but he hung on my tail just on the edge of earshot to finish behind me. My downhill chops served me very well in this one. I can safely run full tilt down these things, so long as I can see. I was presented with my Age Group award immediately upon finishing, a first at a major trail race. Meanwhile, Nye had a great time helping with the BBQ preparations, swinging on the swingset, and tossing the football around afterwards. A completely excellent day!