A Plug for Jug

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Less than 100 miles from Boise, Jug Mountain Ranch is no longer such a well-kept secret escape from city living. In fact, this 1400-acre, private residential community has been host to a number of different events, from Nordic ski racing to golf tournaments. This weekend is no exception, as some of the best single track in the state takes center stage.

Wild Rockies Racing is hosting two action-packed days of mountain biking and trail running, and everyone is invited. For the knobby tire fans, Saturday offers cross-country racing in a variety of distances and categories. Event director Darren Lightfield guarantees thrills (but hopefully no spills) on a 10.5-mile loop that has a little of everything when it comes to terrain. As always, the pro category payout will easily exceed entry fees and travel expenses.

But Sunday is the day I'm looking forward to. It's a trail run on the same course as Saturday's mountain bike races. The past two years, when I used to call myself a "cyclist," I raced two laps on the course on two wheels. Now that I'm a "runner," I'll be giving it a go on my own two feet. While all participants have the choice to run one lap or two, I've decided to keep up my streak and stick with the double header for a whopping 21 miles.

In the words of Collective Soul, "Have I got a long way to run?" Yes.

But let me add a little perspective. Coincidentally, this weekend is also the annual Western States Endurance Run, which is one of the oldest off-road ultra runs in the world. And it's 100 miles. On foot. Competitors begin in the wee hours on Saturday morning and hope to finish sometime on Sunday. What makes this year's event exciting is that Boise's own Joelle Vaught is a favorite to win the women's race. It's also her first 100-miler.

So when I toe the line on Sunday up at Jug Mountain Ranch, I think I'll focus less on how far I have to run, and focus more on how far I don't have to run.

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