Thursday, July 28, 2016

Never Summer 100k

The course started out on a dirt road for the first couple miles where we saw 2 moose, a cow with her calf.  We quickly started heading up to Seven Utes Peak.  Such nice alpine terrain, trails fading in and out, wildflowers blooming, sun coming up over ridges.  We settled into a lead pack of three: Eliot Barcikowski, myself and Gabe Joyes who pointed out a young little bull moose bolting for the trees at the sight or sound of us.  At some point we'd separate a tiny bit but I think we were all just hanging out together for the fun of it, and because we were going at what was a smart pace for us.

Coming down from Seven Utes Peak
photo from Never Summer 100k website

Agnes Lake
photo by Erin Bibeau

The three of us were together hiking up Diamond Peak.  I was surprised with how steep this puppy was.  Probably 35% incline up a trailless grassy ridge to 11,800'.  Very nice.  Eliot and Gabe pulled away a bit and leaving me to run by my lonesome.

Diamond Peak on the right, and the ridge we followed after,
photo from Never Summer 100k webiste.

The course is a big loop with a 5 mile out and back at mile 40.  At this point I had passed Eliot and only had Gabe in front of me, but had Nick Pedetella nipping at my heals.  Gabe had a 10 minute lead on me and was looking good, but I was hungry to run him down and excited to try, knowing that I had 20+ miles to do so my plan was to keep doing my thing and see if he'd come to me.  Unfortunately, my growing nausea exploded into projectile vomiting of a large volume of fluid at mile 46.  Both Nick and Chris Schurk offered water as they passed me while I was clutching a sign post.  My stomach felt better, but the loss of fluid, electrolytes and intestinal secretions left me depleted.  I tried to get back on track but couldn't, leading to a mental pity party.  I kept chugging along I knew I couldn't chase anyone down and my goal of podiuming wasn't in the cards.

At the mile 55 aid station, my wife and daughter Penny greeted me and hung out while I ate.  Eliot and Jeff Mogavero passed me while I sat.  I walked/shuffled the last 9 miles in, getting passed by Elijah Flenner.

Most of the first 45 miles were solid and rugged mountain miles.  Not much in the way of cruising on smooth single track or dirt road.  And there were miles of overgrown trail that wasn't really a trail you could follow on the ground, but a trail that was marked by colored signs on trees that led through grass, bushes, fallen trees, etc.  I guess what I'm getting at is this course is tough and slow.  Tougher than I had imagined, but that is exactly my kind of party... I just wasn't ready for the party I guess.

Leading into the race I thought I'd surely end up on the podium.  Got a good dose of reality and a reminder NOT to take anything for granted.

I feel bad that VFuel and Drymax, both sponsors of mine, were big supporters of this race... and it was my worst performance in a long time.  Full Results: here.  Congratulations to all the finishers and participants.

If you're looking for a tough, remote, gorgeous 100k, I highly recommend this event.  Race Director's Nick Clark and Pete Stevenson put on a handful of events with Gnar Runner's and they obviously have race directing down pat.  I'll have to give another one of their events a shot.


Vfuel:  For the first time I ran with a flask, 5oz., and refilled it with provided VFuel at the aid stations.  This was a nice change to taking gels from single serving packets, and less wasteful.  I had some of the VFuel drink mix too, but probably should have drank more of this and nibbled more on real food sooner to keep nausea at bay.  3 gels an hour work so well for fueling for the first 30+ miles, but my stomach needs a little variety I think.  Loved chatting with VFuel co-founder, Alan Smith, and his wife Lori after the race.  He recently attempted a double Hardrock 100 run, but stopped just short of 200 miles.

Julbo:  I wore the new Aero's and they were very comfortable.  The photochromic lenses were great for the intense sun and shaded forests.

HOKA:  I wore a fresh pair of Speedgoat's, right out of the box.  My feet felt great all day and after finishing, the sticky vibram outsoles were great on all the cross county terrain and creek crossings.

Drymax:  My Trail Lite socks are all I ever wear any more.  After 13:30 on tough terrain with heat, creek crossings, etc.  I didn't have a single blister or hot spot.

Next up: Run Rabbit Run.  As I've switched from working night shift to day shift I think I'll be able to train better and sleep better.  This race served as a good kick in the ass, reminding me how demanding mountain miles around 10,000' elevation are.

Monday, July 4, 2016

San Juan Solstice 50M - Race Report

Playing cribbage the day before the race to keep my head cool.  Penny telling me what to discard.
Penny puts down the pacifier to go over race strategy.

We had a nice 2 mile warm up on dirt road to start.  A pack of 6 or so of us led the way to the Alpine Gulch trail head.  We stomped through half a dozen or so creek crossings as we made our way up the first of three major climbs on the course.  Dustin Simoens pulled away from Travis Macy, Jon Brown and I as we ran through the first aid station then crested the climb and began the 6 mile descent to the Williams Creek aid station, which was conveniently where my family and our good friends Peter (who also raced) and Mandy (crewed & paced Peter) camped at the night before the race.  Dustin ran through a couple minutes before I did and I a couple minutes before Travis and Jon.

By the time we all topped out on the Continental Divide at the halfway point of the race, Dustin had 9 minutes on me and Travis was still a minute or two back.  I was pleasantly surprised with how runnable most of the course was.

At the Divide aid station ~ mile 31, I scarfed down some potato chips... probably too many.  My stomach, which had been rock solid with a Vfuel every 20 minutes and water all day, didn't like the watermelon and handfuls of chips I gorged on.

For the last 20+ miles every time I would look back, Travis would be right there, a minute or two back. Initially I thought, sweet, he can't catch me.  Eventually I realized that he was just waiting to strike.  Strike he did, blowing by me at mile 34.

I snagged a water bottle and waist pack from my wife Elissa at Slumgullion, the aid station at the 40 mile mark.  I physically fell apart for a couple miles and had a little pity party as I hiked through the moderate climb through a gorgeous aspen forest.  I was dehydrated but didn't have much left in my bottle.  Luckily I came to a clear looking stream after the top of the climb that has not given me giardia yet.

I slowly cruised down the steep descent into town and made my way to the park where the race started and finished in 8:52.  Good enough for 3rd place today.

Travis Macy (2nd) holding is daugher, Dustin Simoens(1st) holding his beer, me (3rd) holding Dustin.
photo from San Juan Solstice Race FB page.


Glad I went with the Hoka Speedgoat's, they're still my favorite big mountain shoe - performed well through the creeks, mud, rocks and small patches of snow.

Drymax Lite Trail Running socks kept my feet happy.  No blisters or hot spots after 50 miles of creek crossings, small patches of snow and alpine terrain.

VFuel gels kept my energy level perfect and stomach happy, until I foolishly ate too much watermelon and too many chips.

Julbo Blast's with their photochromic lenses were nice for the exposed breezy ridges and shady forests.

This was definitely one of the best events I've participated in.  The loop course is in the fairytailesq San Juan Mountains, the organization is smooth and everyone can enjoy a free breakfast buffet in the park the next morning.  There are lots of kiddo's and dogs around, along with tons of good mountain loving peeps including fellow Montrosians Chris Marcinek and Erin McMahon.  I enjoyed pacing and crewing my wife at the race the last two years and am glad I ran it this year.  While part of me is stoked to have finished on the podium, another part of me knows that I could finish in less time than I did this year.  I'll be coming back.

Penny likes camping in Lake City.