Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 Ouray 100 - Race Report

The top of our first climb into Silver Basin.

I don’t seem to like running more than one hundred mile race per year.  While I’m sure I could finish more than one in a calendar year, it is hard, maybe even impossible to get two top-notch performances out of a body at that distance.  The only problem with this is that after a years time the lessons you learned from the race tend to fade from memory.  But this year I dropped at Hardrock three weeks before racing the Ouray 100.  While I wish I could have finished Hardrock (race report here) and Ouray, getting significant 100 mile experience weeks before Ouray without killing my body by running the whole 100 miles at Hardrock ended up working well for me. 

Following Dan Metzger down from Ft. Peabody, which is directly above Imogene Pass.  Stormsa brew'n.

I was able to stay calm during the early miles of Ouray.  I made sure to take in sufficient calories and relaxed at aid stations a couple times early in the race to keep my mind from going into a frantic race mode.   I enjoyed the insane views.  I even brought my phone to take a picture at the top of each of the 14 climbs along the course.  I saw bears, deer, an eagle and was buzzed by a bat in the perimeter trail tunnel.  In true San Juan fashion, we were dealt sunny skies, rain, hail, thunder and rainbows.

After hours of rain, hail and thunder, the clouds broke at the top of Corkscrew Gulch.

With 41,000’ of climbing and 41,000’ of descending over 102 miles, there wasn’t a whole bunch of runnable terrain.  I hiked up 99% of anything uphill and shuffled slowly down steep, wet, rocky trails, frequently using my poles during the majority of the descents.

Dinosaur tracks at the top of the Silvershield Trail.

Thanks to my wife, Elissa, for the help at aid stations, and to all the helpful aid station volunteers, including last year’s winner, Avery Collins.  Jeason and Annie Murphy took good care of me the Ironton aid station, as did Megan Hicks at the Crystal Lake aid station.   Kim Wrinkle was out there encouraging all of us at multiple aid stations, sneaking in some good photos.  I would also like to thank the RD, Charles Johnston, for not having the sense to put on an easier race.  Approximately 30% of the starters finished this year, which is a huge increase from last year’s numbers.  He has an appreciation for accomplishing things that are difficult.  If you ever peruse his Facebook feed you’ll see pictures of  his projects which consist of things like broken down motorized equipment and non-functional musical instruments – items a lot of people, myself included,  steer clear of.  But Charles appreciates uneasy challenges, true challenges, ones you take on without knowing whether or not you can complete it, and he offers up a grand test with this race.  Thanks Charles.

Sun setting on the Reds.  Photo taken halfway up to Richmond Pass.

Congratulations to everyone who dared to start this difficult race and kudos to the 20 finishers (http://www.ouray100.com/tracking).  It was inspiring to see the first female finisher (ever) of this race, Melissa Beaury, move well all day and night, and part of the next day to finish 5th overall.  Thanks to Matt Smith (2nd place) and Kevin Sturmer (3rd place) for pushing me throughout the race.

Crossing the finish line with Penny.
pc: Kim Wrinkle

After failing to tough out Hardrock, I wore these reminders of a couple brave young men that I was fortunate enough to meet through working as an RN.  What they've been through is way tougher than anything I'll have to endure, especially silly little races.  Seeing these bands throughout the race helped me stay strong and reminded me of a couple remarkable families.

Sponsor Shout Outs:

Julbo:  My Aerolite’s are the most comfortable glasses I’ve owned to date.  The photochromic lenses adjusted perfectly all day through sunshine and dark skies. 

VFuel:  I drank a lot of Black Cherry Cola drink mix early in the race and put down a lot of Peach Cobbler Gels all the way to the end of the race.  Those, with a little real food mixed in from aid stations, kept my stomach super happy for 30+ hours.  Didn’t get nauseous once!

Drymax Socks:  I started the race off in the Lite Trail Running socks.  After hours of rain and soaked feet, I changed into a dry pair of Lite Trail Running socks at mile 42.  My new socks were soaked again before too long, but regardless, they worked perfectly.  No blisters after 30+ hours on the trails, with wet feet for the majority of the race.

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