The night before the run, I was invited to register for the 2016 Youngberg Hill Half, which takes place on rural roads outside of my hometown of McMinnville, Oregon. I couldn’t register online, so arrived the next morning and registered on the spot.
The course was set up as an out-and-back, beginning at Youngberg Hill Vineyards, down the steep property road, out Youngberg Hill Road to Masonville Road, then finally down SW Muddy Valley Road before reaching the halfway turnaround, and retracing the route back.
The course was fairly quiet with minimal road traffic, and was well supported by numerous volunteers and drink stations.
The first half of the run, I flew. Not only was the steep descent for the first mile exhilarating, it also got all of the runners into a faster pace than what I’d expect. I was concerned about burning out early, and tried to slow it down just a bit.
The weather alternated between heavy cloud coverage and a spotting of rain. Towards the second half, the weather began clearing up.
As I made my way back, I realized at about mile 8 that my body wasn’t doing too well. Sure enough, by mile 9 I was considering whether I’d need to find that portapotty I’d passed at mile 3. I toughed it out but had to slow down considerably, the last 2 miles of the race.
Then, we were at the final mile. It felt like going straight uphill, and looking at the elevation chart, no wonder! A portion of the final climb treated us to a 13% grade incline. Many of us walked the final 1/2 mile up, running in short bursts where possible. I managed to smile as the photographer cheered us on.
The last 500 feet felt like forever, and then, I’d crested the rise at the tasting room, and the finish line was just beyond. I made a quick dash to the second finish line — ahem — the restrooms — before cooling off and returning to the crowd.
I looked at the stats. I’d come in 9th for men and 14th overall! Not bad considering I was battling a bad stomach.
The after party was well set up, with all kinds of appetizers and munchies, and of course, a complimentary wine tasting. I ended up buying a glass, and I have to say, it was probably the finest glass of Pinot Noir I’ve ever tasted. The views, the space, the whole energy of the place. They even drew my bib number for a gift certificate at Fleet Feet, not far from my office. It was great. 🙂
So there you have it, the Youngberg Hill Half.