"If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes," according to the famous Lewis Grizzard quote. For a first-time trail runner, the beginning of a race might make that quote seem undoubtedly true. On a narrow course, the runner has to keep one eye on the rocky terrain and the other on the person in front of you.
At the beginning of the Dirty Spokes Sawnee Mountain Trail Race in Cumming, GA, it seemed as if the scenery might be limited to the rocks under foot and the shoes of the person in front of you. But, as the first two miles of the race wound up the mountain, pretty steeply at times, the racers spread out significantly. You could keep an eye on the ground for roots and rocks, but still take in the scenery of trees and nature.
Although this race didn't summit the mountain for a breathtaking view, the first two miles could take your breath away with the steady incline. The second two miles were forgiving. If anything, the toughest part was slowing momentum to avoid tripping and falling.
The race was the seventh in the Dirty Spokes Trail Running series, which began with the Heritage Park run on February 4. For the Sawnee Mountain race, the last race in the series, the organizers showed the ability to improvise, having Forsythe County vans shuttle participants from Central Park to Swanee Mountain, because the field that was going to be used for parking was unusable. In lieu of a gear check, volunteers gave plastic bags and clothespins to the runners, who hung them from a tent and easily retrieved them after the race.
This trail race was a nice change of pace from city running and in-town road races. tra