Baby Dragon (BD)
The Baby Dragon is an H9-HAE event comprised of three races, a 100 mile race and a little sister 40 mile race and a partially hatched-pre-ultra race of 40 km (the Dragon Egg). This year race start times have been shifted to the morning in order to maximize the amount of daylight on the course at the beginning of the races.
The BD 100 is the 100 mile race that takes place on Friday and Saturday of the weekend. This race starts at 7am Friday morning and ends 9am on Sunday giving 50 hours to complete 100 miles. The course involves 4x full traverses of the Duncan Ridge (2 laps) and 2x half traverses of the Duncan Ridge (Vogel to Bryant Gap and back). This event does not have a daily progress minimum, instead there are cutoff times at the 1 lap point (Vogel), 1.5 lap point (Skeenah), a hard cutoff at the completion of 2 laps (80 miles), a cut-off at the Fire Pit, and a final cutoff of 50 hours at the start/finish line. Note that if the weather is fair and sunny then the 50 hours of completion time is super generous. However, if the weather becomes stormy, then progress along the Dragon Spine slows considerably.
The BD 40 is a 40 mile race that completes only one lap of the course. This races starts at 7am on Saturday morning and has a final cutoff at 7am Sunday morning. This race caters to both fast and slow runners and is intended to give runners a taste of the 100 mile event. This race has three cutoff times; Skeenah Gap at 6pm (0.5 lap point), Fire Pit at 2am (0.75 lap point), and a final cutoff of 22 hours (5 am) at the start/finish line.
The BD Dragon Egg 40K is a 40 kilometer race that makes an out-and-back to Mulky Gap. This race is intended for trail runners who do not ever, ever, ever have an intention to run 100 miles on the Duncan Ridge - so it is relatively short and quick. This race starts at 7:30am on Saturday morning near the pavilion (lake area). The start time is 30 minutes later to provide a bit of time and distance between the 40M and 40K runners. Runners have 12.5 hours to accomplish the 40 km. The cutoff time at Mulky Gap is 2:30pm on Saturday; with a final cutoff of 8pm on Saturday evening. This race has no nighttime running ... or walking.
The races finish at the Group Shelter. Check-in is at the Group Shelter. Check-in is the evening before each race, starting at 4pm (until 6pm). The race starts for the 100M and 40M will be at the Group Shelter. These races will start on clock time at 07:00am. The 40K race will start by the Group Shelter at at clock time of 07:30am. Everyone must check-in before 6:59:59 am in order to start. No late starts. If you meet certain age criteria, then you may be able to do an early start for the 100M.
The support locations are Vogel State Park, Fire Pit, Fish Gap and Skeenah Gap on Friday. Support at Vogel will be at the Group Shelter. Hot food and drinks will be available. Restrooms are immediately adjacent to the Campsites. On Saturday, Mulky Gap will be added as an additional support location primarily for the 40K runners; however, all runners may use this support location after it is set up. The temps will warm and it will likely be very humid everywhere on the course.
The Baby Dragon course is almost spot on for a 40 mile lap from Vogel to Skeenah and back to Vogel. The course uses the Coosa Loop, the Duncan Ridge Trail, a short section of the Benton Mackaye Trail and a couple miles of Forest Service road. By East Coast standards, these trails are not very technical, but the trails have considerable elevation gain. The reason this event uses the "Baby" terminology is that it has less elevation gain then the other Dragon race variants, i.e., no Pointless Elevation Change (PEC) insertions or loops around Coosa Bald to climb it again. And, well, the 100M is very very close to 100 miles; no real bonus miles. The course is mostly an out-and-back, with the exception that the outbound traverse goes over the Wolf Creek river crossing, while the inbound traverse uses FS Roads 108/107 to reach Burnett Gap (Hwy 180).
Local time: 4:01 AM