The following email was sent out to all 2016 Big Cedar participants on October 1st:
As many of you may be aware if you're a local trail user, the Big Cedar Wilderness Trail that is the location for our race has been closed indefinitely. DORBA, the Dallas Offroad Bicycling Association, maintains this trail and discovered serious legal and liability issues when they realized they didn’t have agreements in place for the use of all pieces of the trail. We really appreciate that they're trying to safeguard their organization and other users for the long term by following their by-laws. When they discovered this at the end of August, they truly believed it could be all sorted out by somewhere between mid-September and the end of September. As they began contacting landowners, the situation became increasingly complicated and we just very recently learned this will not be resolved in time for our event.
We quickly began looking at other venues and making contact. We even looked into a private land option. There were multiple requirements that needed to be met to have a good race venue:
- Good quality trail to live up to The Active Joe name.
- The venue needed to be available on the dates of our race because some people have airfare booked.
- The venue needed to be willing to let an event come into the area.
- A trail that could handle normal weather conditions for that time of year (not including crazy weather like flash floods).
- A trail with a moderate-sized loop so that the 100 milers don’t get dizzy. :-)
- The ability to park about 200 cars.
- Drive-up access to reasonably spaced aid stations.
- A reasonable drive from our original venue, not expecting people to drive an additional several hours each way.
- Not duplicating use of a trail used by another race producer around the same time of year.
- Camping options onsite.
This makes finding the right venue go from being a difficult task to almost impossible. However, we have found a venue and trail that will fit all these requirements.
So I’m happy to let everyone know that the Big Cedar Endurance Run this year will be held at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose. The folks at the park are really excited to showcase their land to the trailrunning community. They have lots of miles of trails with varied terrain and gorgeous scenery. We will be filing all the paperwork this week, but the park felt very confident we could go ahead and announce this to the runners to allow you all to make your plans. Since The Active Joe produces The Showdown Half Marathon and 5K roadrunning race next Saturday, we can’t invest the many days it takes to get a course finalized until after October 8. However, on first blush, we believe we can get the same size loop as we had planned for Big Cedar – a 16.67 mile loop. So 2 loops for the 50K, 3 for the 50 miler, and 6 for the 100 miler. This loop size is used at other races like Javelina Jundred, Hallucination 100 at Run Woodstock, and Indiana Trail 100.
This state park only holds one other trail race which is of a shorter distance so it’s an amazing opportunity for people to experience this trail when they might not do it otherwise.
A couple other thoughts I can mention:
- This new location is a little over an hour from the original venue.
- They will allow us to cut a section of field off to do free tent camping.
- As we have seen before, Big Cedar can’t handle large amounts of race weekend rain. The same will be true with this new venue. The Big Cedar trail was a dangerous mess in last year’s flash flooding, and this course would be equally so. However, in normal sporadic seasonal rain, we will be fine. But at the end of the day, our contract with the State Park says that if they are concerned for your safety, they have the right to cancel the event and we have to respect that as part of the conditions of being able to use the venue.
- This new course will have some rocks, some roots, some field sections, some great single track, some jeep road – a lot of what Big Cedar was going to provide you with. While we have not finalized a course, I would expect the climbs and total elevation gain and loss to probably be similar. There will be the addition of a couple shallow river crossings that I think will add some fun adventure to the course.
We recognize this is a big change, but at the end of the day, our goal is to follow through, if at all possible, with giving each and every one of our participants the best running and racing experience that we can on race day. We wish we could still be back on the Big Cedar trail as much as you all do. Change is hard for everyone, both runners and race directors alike. We’re busting butt to make the best of the situation. However, if you find this just is not going to work out for you, we respect that so for the next 5 days, participants can email us to ask for a full refund of the entry fee. Unfortunately, Ultrasignup’s fee goes straight to them for their costs tied to conducting the original transaction so that small processing fee can’t be refunded.
We’ll be adding some cool pictures and videos from the trail that I took during yesterday’s scouting adventure to the Facebook page. All the pictures in this email are also from Dinosaur Valley State Park on the route we're considering. I kind of fell in love with this trail, and I think when you see the views and fun terrain elements, you’ll love it too. And I hope everyone is psyched to run Big Cedar… @ Dinosaur Valley!
Please hit reply and feel free to email me any concerns and questions you have. Happy Running!
The Active Joe owner, Big Cedar Endurance Run Race Director