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Cool heats up this weekend

Way Too Cool kicks running season into gear Saturday, bikers invade Sunday
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Cool is the hip place to be for endurance athletes this weekend. Runners will invade the small town on the edge of the American River Canyon on Saturday for the 11th annual Way Too Cool 50-kilometer trail run. On Sunday, the enormously popular Cool Mountain Bike Race will celebrate its 16th anniversary at the Olmstead Loop. Half of the race is already over for the 450 Way Too Cool entrants. Just landing a spot in the race is a challenge. Auburn's Tom Piette was one of the lucky ones to get in before the race filled just 11 minutes after online registration opened. I was sitting there on a Sunday morning at 8 a.m. with my coffee, logging onto the Internet to register, said Piette, who is running Way Too Cool for the first time. That's part of the competition right there. It fills up incredibly fast. Cool resident Casey Jower is also running Way Too Cool for the first time. Inspired by other ultrarunners in the area, the 27-year-old CPA is anxious to run what will be her first ultramarathon. I've read a lot about (25-time Western States Endurance Run finisher) Tim Twietmeyer and other runners in the area, Jower said. It's so inspiring. They're so humble, but they do such amazing things. Newcastle resident Jim Hopkins has been a mentor for Jower. She's also hooked up with a training group at Auburn Running Company. The Way Too Cool course begins behind the Cool Fire Station. After covering the Olmstead Loop the course hooks up with a portion of the Western States Trail, heading out to the Auburn Lake Trails aid station before returning to Cool. I'm excited because it's an out and back course, so I'll get to see some of the frontrunners, Jower said. Saturday's Way Tool Cool race begins at 8 a.m. wit the top finishers expected back in Cool between 11 a.m. and 11:30. Uli Steidl holds the course record of 3 hours, 18 minutes. On Sunday, the Olmstead Loop will be invaded by mountain bikers. The wildly popular Cool Mountain Bike Race is the annual kickoff for the mountain biking season in the foothills. A fundraiser for the Folsom Auburn Trails Coalition (FATRAC), Lisa Kodl of Auburn Bikeworks has helped organize the race for the past several years. The race is limited to the first 425 entrants and race-day registration is available. The Cool race features several age groups, single-speed categories and even a tandem category. Sunday's festivities begin at 10:30 a.m.