Author Archives: Gretchen Garnett

Treat yourself: Jayme Burtis’ game day photos now online

1,379 memories of the Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra await you here on Jayme Burtis’ website. He was, of course, our official game day photographer, and he captured some pretty sweet images of y’all in full Coyote splendor.

To purchase the images just click on the thumbnail to enlarge and a Buy Image icon will appear. Easy peasy.

Kathy Jumping

Group Hug!

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells…where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits  for you. – Edward Abbey

A gift from your fellow 2013 Backbone Trail Ultra player Jeff Martin. Sheds a bit more perspective on the reasons for our “official” timing calculations, and a lot more perspective on why we all do what we do. Sniff, makes us a bit verklempt, truly.

Thanks a heap, Jeff, you are the ranch dressing on our curly fries. And thanks to everyone who came out to play with us – happy trails!

Jeff Martin video_screen grab

Oh, and that song? “Many the Miles” by Sara Bareilles; live recording here.

Game Results, Coyote-Style


How much fun was that??? As you tend to the agony of da’ feet, you can also now peruse the official results (perhaps an oxy-moroon at a Coyote event) on our website here.

No doubt they may make the rookies amongst you take pause, especially those who failed to fully wrap their minds around the concept of bonus and boner minutes. Gosh, your clock time doesn’t match what we show?!!?  Dweezleberry McFermentire finished a full hour behind you but his time is an hour faster?  That’s cuz Dweezleberry played by Coyote rules:  entertain those supporting your cause, and they’ll reward you with bonus minutes.  Hence Blisteroon’s almost 7 hour improvement in time because he “rapped” his way to the finish — 5 minutes to entertain, 5 minutes to socialize and replenish himself, and 30 bonus minutes. Capiche?

A Teaser: Official Game Day Photos from Jayme Burtis

Here’s a sneak peak of some amazing captures of some amazing players on an amazing course (but then we’re a bit biased.) We really should have had a GPS on Jayme Burtis, our official Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra event photographer – he was EVERYwhere, preserving the event experience for you forever, so you can always revisit the day (kind of like flashbacks.)

More images to follow, which you will be able to purchase from his website. Note: we paid him only in mancakes and beautiful memories, so we hope you will compensate him properly for any images you use. Thanks Jayme!!!!

Krissy bouldering

Safety Crews: Somebunny Loves You

There are three types of safety patrols who will be supporting you between aid stations along the Backbone Trail: safety runners, mountain biking units, and mounted volunteer patrols (on horseback). Should they find a player in need of assistance, they will be prepared with water, electrolytes, and basic first aid;  if needed, they will go to the next aid station ahead of the entrant and report the issue. They are spending their Easter weekend ensuring that you are safe and happy, so you might want to show them some serious love, yes?


Trippet Ranch to Piuma (10am –  4pm): Erica Gratton, Skye Colclough, Jeff Sperber

Encinal to Corral Canyon 9.0 miles (5:30pm to 11:30pm): Erik Schulte, Ignasi (Nacho) Mas

Encinal to Mishe Mokwa 11.1 miles (6:00pm to 12:00am): Donovan Jenkins, Tiffany Guerra, Anne-Claire Podlipski

Danielson Ranch to Moshe Mokwa 7.2 miles (early am to 8:00am): Mieko Morita, Erik Priedkalns

Finish Line to Overlook Crossing with Wood Canyon Vista (1:00am to 9:30am): TBD, will be staffed from Finish Line personnel


Topanga and Will Rogers State Park: Chris Nitz, Charles Trotter


Will Rogers State Park to Hub (8:30-12:30): Stacey Best, John Weiler, Paul Kanzawa, James Grasso

Topanga State Park (10:30-2:00): Gary Artis, Jim Henderson, Jose Macias, Bob Opperman

Piuma/Corral Canyon (2:30-6:30): Paul Kanzawa, James Grasso, Brad Souva, Kristain Versaies


Trail sweeps will be the last runners along each section of the trail, and will shut down the event as they go. They will contact the aid station captain when they arrive at the end of their assigned section, and confer with them regarding players that have not checked in. The Aid Station Captain and HAM Operator will then contact HAM Base/NetControl to research the entrant’s status and analyze next steps.

Will Rogers to Stunt Rd:  Jim Tello

Stunt Rd to Corral Canyon: Erin Chavin, Alison Chavez

Corral Canyon to Kanan RD: Chuck Journey, Cat Moore

Kanan Rd to Mishe Mokwa: Jonathan Toker, Jonathan Stewart

Mishe Mokwa to Danielson: Mieko Morita, Erik Priedkalns

Danielson Ranch to Finish: Sachin Sachdeva

They’re Probably Pregnant and It’s Partly Your Problem

From the “we can’t make this sh** up” category of blog topics (our very favorite, ‘natch) comes this guidance from the National Park Service about a highly invasive snail species spreading quickly through this weekend’s playground. And while we, as always, take a somewhat humorous tone, we do need you to read this post carefully and comply with all recommendations – your game status, our event status, and the health of the environment depend on it.

In addition, and all snails aside, there are several potentially dangerous road crossings along the course where we’ve been asked to use a high level of caution, so please take heed of the crossing protocols noted below.

First, a bit of background:

They’re nearly always pregnant, like the mythical tribbles of “Star Trek” fame. They pass through gullets of fish unfazed. And they could bring disaster to native bugs, frogs and steelhead restoration efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains.

New Zealand mudsnails have taken over four watersheds in the Santa Monica Mountains and are spreading fast, expanding from the first confirmed sample in Medea Creek in Agoura Hills to nearly 30 other stream sites in four years. (from L.A. Times “Hard to Kill Snails Infest Santa Monica Mountains Watersheds”)

The invasive New Zealand Mud Snails have caused the park service environmentalists to reroute the Las Virgenes Road Crossing from the Piuma Street Light to a Volunteer Monitored crossing on the other side of the Malibu Creek bridge.  The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has stated if the players do not follow markings and monitor instructions they reserve the right to shut down the event WHILE IN PROGRESS.

Specific to Las Virgenes road crossing, shortly after you turn left from PiumaNEW ZEALAND MUD SNAIL Road on to Las Virgenes Road, there is a protected sidewalk on your side of the bridge crossing Malibu Creek. You MUST cross the creek using this sidewalk.  After crossing this bridge a volunteer monitor will be there where three orange cones mark where you will cross the road, according to the general guidelines below.

The CHP has recorded quite a few car v. pedestrian confrontations at this location: cars won, people lost.   So, for your safety, and our stress levels, take EXTRA caution on ALL road crossings!   If the road monitor observes a player not following the guidelines in this communication, they will report your bib number to the HAM team and you will be pulled from the event – this is a serious infraction. 

In general the following instructions are to be followed at ALL Road Crossings as these were approved by ALL law enforcement agencies:

“Regarding the road crossing, we will okay the crossing as long as your volunteers do not interact with vehicular traffic. We do not want your volunteers stopping traffic to allow runners to cross the street.  All rules of the road must be adhered to at all times. Runners shall cross the road only when it is safe to do so, yielding to all traffic. Failure to adhere to the aforementioned will result in appropriate enforcement actions taken against the runners and/or volunteers.  Thank you for your cooperation.”

Got it? Hope so. Go and practice safe running. See you sooooon!

FKTs, PRs and the Spirit of the Games

In which the Backbone Buffoon holds forth on results and the proper Backbone mindset….

PR & FKT – it really doesn’t matter which one you go after, as either will only find corroboration from a source other than the official results.  Why?  Boner & Bonus Minutes, applied liberally, will yield the “official” results to be posted on UltraSignup at some point following our recovery from the games.

And if you’re concerned how it may impact your overall Ultra rating, fear not, for this 68 Miler just doesn’t align with the “standard” distances plastered all over the calendar.  Want to improve your standing anyway?  Well, suck up to the Vols and perform other deeds of note to earn valuable Bonus Minutes out on the Backbone.

As it is, all Coyote Vets enter the game with Bonus Minutes; others will earn still more for Thursday bowling; doing the Ray Loop and/or hanging out at The Patio on Friday; hopping a boat for whale watching on Friday; participating in Friday’s dinner; and engaging in other touristy things in the area pre-event.  Get the drift?  It ain’t a race; mentality centered on same guarantees Boner minutes to drop you further in the final ranking.

Let this sink in: those moving methodically to get the biggest bang for their bucks, and moving in camaraderie-rich Coyote packs, will earn Bonus Minutes to counter the Boner Minutes earned by those racing and running solo to the Finish.  Welcome to the Coyote brand of ultrarunning!!

Calvin and Hobbes

We Give and Give and Give

We are just so GOOD to you people. Courtesy of H’ard Cohen, we’ve now added turn-by-turn course directions to our website here. We fear we are coddling you too much, yes?

And on the weather front, there’s rain in the forecast. 40% chance, but being a Coyote event, you might say the likelihood of rain is…


Can’t WAIT for the big hootenanny! See y’all soooooon!!!!

Bib Numbers and Toy Surprises

Hi y’all,

A list of assigned bib #’s is linked below. Note that this list also serves as confirmation of your start group assignments (these haven’t changed since the last time we sent them out), with bib #’s 1-99 being assigned to start group 1 (6:00 a.m.), #’s 100 – 199 to start group 2 (9:00 a.m.), and 200 – 299 to those in the noon start group.

A reminder: registration opens 2 hours before your respective starting time, and your bus leaves 1 hour before. If’n you’re not on time, you’ll need to make your own way to the ballpark.

Final Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra Player Bib #’s and Start Groups

Oh, and check out the final t-shirt color schemes, da’ boyz colors are on the top row, and da’ girlz on the bottom. Don’t see the color you ordered when ya’ signed up? We suggest adopting a similar attitude to that used when opening the Crackerjack box, you just never know what you’re going to find inside. ‘Course, if you signed up for these shenanigans and you’ve survived all our previous attempts at eliminating any semblance of seriousness, we’re guessing this is pretty much your permanent state of mind by now – right?


It’s Happening People: Runner Instructions

Yep, we promised more, and here ’tis – the final and complete Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra Player’s Guide can be found on our website here.

We know we don’t need to remind you to read it thoroughly. We’re pretty sure that everything you could possibly want or need to know about the games is in it, or on our website, but in the off chance that a complete read of both leaves you with additional burning questions, please use the form on our Contact page to submit them.

The countdown begins. Excited much?