Ow. That was hard.
To summarize, big up, big down, big up, medium down, medium up, little down, hard little up, little down, little up, big down, finish. Mileage: 31, Total vertical: 10,500+/- (many people are reporting higher numbers, but GPS elevation data just isn't very accurate. If someone has an elevation total from a barometric altimeter I'd love to hear it).
Truth be told, I had a great day. I started pretty conservative and ran with Rich most of the way to the top. On the way over to Baldy my electrolyte capsules fell out of a hole in the baggie I use to carry them in so I stopped to pick a few of them up and lost contact with Rich (note to self put capsules in new bag before races). The long descent to Dutch Flat was fairly uneventful, I did roll an ankle but if anyone made it through this section without doing the same I would be really surprised. The climb out of Mary Ellen was hot and I concentrated on drinking as much as possible. At this point I was in 8th place and I could see Rich about 5 minutes in front of me. The course took us over a ridge, down a short section to the water-only aid station, then all the way up to the Basshole...I mean, tunnel. On the way up to the tunnel I passed a woman that didn't look particularly good and offered her help, but she just wanted to slog through to the tunnel. Now I was in 7th, which, funny enough matched my race number (Karl was playing odds maker at his own race).
After the tunnel it was back down the service road 1,500' or so, then a climb up the ridge to a trail junction just below Hidden Peak. Scott Mason was there to greet us and let us know that we had to go down in to Little Cloud bowl and back up to Hidden Peak. I was starting to hit a low point and I was not happy but I followed Karen, who had just passed me, down the rocky descent. It seems as though my legs had no trouble going down, but when I started the last big ascent they started to object. This is where I decided that doing the Millcreek 50k the week prior was a bad idea. Slogging my way up the climb I was able to see 2nd place male, 1st place female Anita Ortiz followed by 4th overall Storheim coming back down heading to the finish. Eventually I hit the final service road leading to the top and saw my family waiting for me which gave me a bit of a boost but I was still feeling pretty low. Greg's wife, Marge was up there taking pictures and I did my best to put on a happy face (thanks Marge!). Despite the boost, I was finally passed by the guy that had been stalking me since mile 15. If it truly was "all downhill from there" like everyone told me it was, (I'm not at all bitter btw) I think I could have stayed with him. But after a short 200' to 300' descent in to Mineral Basin basin the "true" last climb of the day back out sapped the remaining fuel from my legs and I lost my motivation.
Now it was all downhill from here on the service road, but I was being cautious, thinking that there might be another detour along the way taking us up another climb or traverse of some sort. I ran pretty tentatively going down because I didn't want to injure myself and it seemed pretty likely that I would finish under 7 hours. Then I glanced over my shoulder with about a mile to go and saw someone closing on me, so I picked up the pace for the last mile and finished just in front of Sarah Evans for 9th overall in 6:51. I told Sarah congratulations and thanked her for pushing me to a strong finish.
Karl was at the finish greeting everyone and taking all the positive feedback on the course with a wide grin on his face. My family was there to congratulate me along with Erik and Rich. Congratulations to all that finished, that was tough one. Thanks to all the volunteers who made it possible and to Karl for organizing the whole thing. Results and some great Pictures here and here.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Ow. That was hard.