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?

Over the Line!

I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. That, or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you’re not into the whole brevity thing. – The Big Lebowski

Not generally known for the whole brevity thing, the Dude aka the Backbone Buffoon, provides an uncharacteristically brief announcement of your Thursday night bowling assignments here. Directions to said event venue can be found here.

And not to worry, with the start of the games drawing near, you can be sure The Dude will regain his gift for gab. Stay tuned for lots more announcements soon.

Bowling_Bruce Grant

The Big Cluck (aka Bruce Grant) setting up for an eggceptional roll.

Finals Week

Halllooo everybody, we’ve now finalized your start group assignments. Per the Head Buffoon, these ARE the assignments — if you don’t like where you are, tough noogies. You’ve had more than a month to make your case for a different pole position, and now we distribute these names across all the other record keeping lists necessary to stage the event and account for you on/off the Backbone Trail.

So, make new friends and enjoy the journey, whatever time that journey begins.


Oh, and the final, full list of players is now posted here. See you sooooon!

Dirty Girl’s on the Backbone Trail

Thanks to Xy Weiss of Dirty Girl gaiters, our latest sponsor, there may be a little extra wild life out on the Backbone Trail. Dirty girls – and boys – might want to finish up those limericks and haikus for a chance to win a pair of these sweet gaiters selected from a grab bag of naughty colors: pretty kitty, fetish, hot to trot, pain management, falling to pieces, or maybe giardia? Me-owwwww.