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Cutthroat Classic Trail Race
Aug 27, 2007
By Heather Macdonald

Stories Cutthroat Classic In August

Cutthroat Classic Trail Race

August 27, 2007
By Heather Macdonald

Climbing from 5000 to 7000 feet, there's got to be a view and downhill! The Cutthroat Classic 11 miler in Washington on August 25 not only had a view, but also had runnable trails, the chance for wildlife sightings, a burrito lunch and a "western" touch complete with horses at the aid station. Laura Woodward and I set off for Winthrop Washington to take in this recommended race, the last in the MVSTA series.

The border crossing was brutal so we missed package pickup on Friday. We checked in at the Hotel Rio Vista on the river's edge in Winthrop. Bambi strolled by, eagles flew overhead.

On race day, buses transported us from Mazama Recreation Centre to Rainy Pass trailhead. We were organized in waves to spread out the start on single track trail that would climb one pass and descend on another. The first 5 miles was an uphill climb and we were down to sleeveless shirts quickly.

The RD warned us, "Remember that this is a mountain trail run; please be prepared and watch for sections of loose rock, water, mud and small stumps." Given our technical trails, we couldn't wait to run the small stumps! (I saw very few.)

Once at the top, it was all downhill after that. The view was well worth the race fee; it was breathtaking even with some clouds. The aid station at 6 miles was equipped with water and GU gel that two horses had carried up.

The trail was easy to follow because there were very few choices (they didn't need to mark it). We followed the pass as it meandered down in switchbacks. The terrain was mostly soft, sandy soil, easy on the feet. With perfect timing, the sun came out.

Laura had finished ahead of me and was yelling at the finish (she was the only person making noise, unlike our race finishes).

We climbed on the bus and were taken back to the Rec Centre for burritos and slushies. The awards and "random" prizes were done at noon in full frontal blue sky sunshine! I won a Timbuk2 pack. (I gave away a Dirty Duo race entry to an unsuspecting racer as prizing. Wait till she sees the technical trails we have.)

We went back to Winthrop to hang out, find a local beer and give ourselves a post-race food reward. The whole town is western style and is set up well for tourists with fishing, boating, mountain biking and lots of trails. They even had a Hike and Bike shop.

The next day, we took a short side trip to Sun Mountain resort for a hike. The view shown below is the Methow Valley from the resort. If you go to Sun Mountain resort, plan to stay for lunch.

The Sun Mountain trails were easy and that was perfect for post-race quads. The Kraule Trail lead us to an old homestead site equipped with picnic tables for riding lunches and a steer's head for practicing lassooing. There's a skill to that!

I would recommend this race for its views and runnable trails. The altitude was not that noticeable and the cool weather at the start was a bonus. Running in the heat would have been a different story. Tip: cross the border at night.