Nuclear showdown averted!

 Trail Boy is overwhelmed.

My running arch-nemesis, R2B, showered me with gifts and kindness during a get-together Saturday morning on the trails.

Well, let me clarify something. These were not, strictly speaking, trails. Like with dirt and stuff.

We ran 12 miles on something called the “All Purpose Trail” of the Cleveland Metroparks’ Rocky River Reservation in Northeast Ohio.

An “all purpose trail” is a clever way of saying: “This sucker is paved. It might not be a road. But it’s the next best thing for pavement-pounding road runners.”

This, ahem, trail, is designed for runners, walkers, cyclists, in-line skaters, baby buggies and perhaps even pogo-stick jumpers.

(The photo at left is R2B’s idea of a trail, the poor guy. The one at the right is Trail Boy’s idea of a real trail.)

R2B's idea of a trail.      Trail Boy's idea of a trail.

Yet it meanders along a valley parkway, surrounded by woods and a river. So it’s probably the next best thing to a trail.

Therefore, it was the only place a road runner and a trail runner are likely to meet. 

So that’s where we met, for nearly two hours of running and conversation. The goal was to avoid Total Nuclear Annihiliation. For weeks, we had been mouthing off on our blogs about trails versus roads. Mouthing off in a suburban, middle-class way, of course.

It’s been the cyber battle of the ages. In one corner, we have Trail Boy, an unapologetic booster of trail running. My motto: There’s no such thing as a bad trail. Only idiots who disagree.

In the other corner, there’s R2B, who recently ran his first ultra — ON PAVEMENT! His motto: You’ll never drag me off my precious asphalt.

So there we were, trotting side-by-side, in a true Running Summit, hoping to find some common ground, so to speak, and avoid global destruction.

Early on, R2B had shown his conciliatory side, offering me a bottle of Gatorade at the beginning of the run — a gesture that was truly appreciated. Trail Boy is ashamed to admit he had brought no gifts — a diplomatic gaffe in retrospect.

But then, at roughly Mile Two, came the real breakthrough. R2B said he had “a little surprise.”

What could this be, Trail Boy wondered. A knock over the head with a chunk of loose curb, maybe?

No, it was much better. R2B disclosed, with a shy smile, that he had recently registered for a trail ultra.

Yes, you read that right. R2B was officially entered in the Buckeye Trail 50K, an outrageously difficult trail race held every summer in the hilly woods of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Akron.

Trail Boy registered for that race months ago. It’s the highlight of my summer.

So, just like that, R2B made a gigantic leap from the Dark Side to the Sunny Side.

It was unexpected. It was unbelievable. It was…a joke? But, no! I just checked on the race web site. R2B is, in fact, a registered competitor.

You still might wonder, what’s the catch? Will R2B go through with it?

Yes, that’s a good question, indeed. Stay tuned. The drama has only begun!

(PS: In the interest of full disclosure, I must point out that R2B kicked my butt during the last two miles of our run. He cranked up the tempo, as road runners are wont to do on their home turf. I decided it was a good time to head over to a nearby bridle trail to soothe my pavement-battered senses. I had a delightful finish to my run.  Back in the parking lot, R2B showed yet another touch of class by offering to treat me to a pancake breakfast. But I regretfully declined. Mrs. Trail Runner was waiting for me back at the ranch. Plus, there is such a thing as getting TOO chummy with the enemy.)

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One Response to “Nuclear showdown averted!”

  1. run2boston Says:

    Dude!

    You like, totally outed me on the BT50K thing. Way harsh! If this keeps up, I may have to go back to DEFCON 3.

    — R2B

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