Welcome to Checkdam Bend. This point is about 1.55 miles into the Lori Fitzgerald Memorial and State meet course. Note that there is potential for mud at this point of the course. Also of interest is the second of three major climbs on the course (seen in the background) comes immediately following this point. Photo by Jeff Bliven.
Judging by the number of e-mails I've been receiving, there's a great deal of interest in the progress of the state meet course grooming. This article should help bring everyone up to date.
As the accompanying photos show, the course is now entirely mowed. Jeff Bliven, assistant cross country coach at Smoky Hill High School, reports running the course in the last week and paying more attention to the "scenery" than to the footing. That's a good sign as it indicates the course is currently runnable.
That's not to say, however, that all grooming of the course is complete. Sections of the course will still need to be rolled to further even out the footing. The Arapahoe County Fairgrounds has a device for precisely such an operation.
Small, but nasty, items such as yucca and prickly pear cactus still need to be dug out of the course at points. That is an ongoing operation. The course will also be mowed one more time prior to opening weekend of the cross country season.
But, all of that work should be completed in time for the Lori Fitzgerald Memorial Invitational on September 4. A few updated photos of the course layout appear below. At the bottom of the article is a link to the course video shot earlier this month (before mowing operations began). Also shown below is the approximate course profile help orient you to the location from which each of the photos were taken. All photos contributed by Jeff Bliven.
This photo looks back south-southeast toward the start area from the north fenceline. The photo nicely illustrates the downward slope from the start through the 0.6 mile point of the course.
This photo illustrates the brief dip that interrupts the gradual rise along the creek at the west end of the course. This occurs about one-tenth of a mile before the Powerline Climb.
Here is an updated view of the Powerline Climb after mowing operations have been completed.
Coming off the hill following Checkdam Bend, the course turns north and approaches the NE corner. The descent here is similar to, but slightly more gradual than, the descent from the start area.
Lori Fitzgerald and State course approximate elevation profile.