Big Horn 50 Mile Race Report, June 2008
for two years in a row i signed up for the big horn 100 miler and injured myself in preparation for the race. last year i showed up and won the 50km instead (the freshman race). this year i showed up and won the 50 miler (the jv race).
i love these mountains and this terrain. but what keeps me coming back is the race. michelle and her race crew do a great job and there is an ultra community feel to the races. the races are staggered so the 30km, 50km, 50 mile and 100 mile races all finish in the same afternoon in scott park. burgers, music and lots of worked runners all hanging out in the sun comparing war stories – perfect.
doing this race at all was sort of a last second thing. there was a hip injury i had to let heal, then the guide job, etc. i didn’t have high hopes going in and since i won i’ve subsiquently been called a “sandbagger”. but the 3 weeks prior were not promising. i had run and been dropped by all my friends – roch horton and karl meltzer in salt lake city, rod bien and sean meissner in bend. so my gauge on my fitness was… it’s not good, and won’t be good enough to win a 50 miler. i just figured it would be fun and a great training run if nothing else. in hind sight it was the travel, training and altitude that had me tired and with a proper taper it all came together.
ok the race…
6am start out of dry fork at about 8,000ft. as we ran down to cow camp (aid station 1) i headed out first. after a few minutes there were two other guys with me; seattle billygoat bill huggins and a guy i had battle with last year in the 50km race cameron hanes (if you see an underarmor billboard with a guy running it’s cam).
after 45min or so bill stopped to “make a deposit”. as we ran the over 3,000ft vertical downhill in 18 miles i was able to shake cam too. the first drop bags were at footbridge aid station mile 18. i was in and out grabbing two new bottles of lemon lime nuun and 6 new clif shots.
as i started my ascent i thought to myself “anyone can run down here as fast as i did, the real race starts on this climb”. i probably had just 5-7 minutes on cam, and bill was 1 minute behind him. the climb out felt pretty good. my goal was to run everything, which i did sans the 4-5 stupid steep sections. my diesel engine was working hard but comfy as i headed back up to dry fork and mile 34 drop bags. i had quite a few opportunities to look back over pretty long stretches of trail and never saw another 50 mile runner. in fact, mile 18 footbridge was the last time i saw another 50 mile competitor. this seems great, but in reality i had to play some mental games with myself to keep moving fast. that was my struggle for this 50 mile race.
running up to dry fork at mile 34 i had some twinges of calf cramping, not uncommon for the first hot race of the season. kevin was there to help me and i had him do a double tab of lemon lime nuun in my nathan thermal quickdraws. with just 16 miles left and no one in sight behind me i knew the race was mine to lose.
i climbed pretty well up into the tongue river canyon and had my quads tenderized by the beautiful singletrack 3,000+ foot descent. hitting the dreaded last 5 miles of dirt/paved road i just focused on quick turn over and held onto sub 8/min miles which i thought was good (at least it felt fast). i was pretty excited to get the win and it was awesome to have ty and angle there to congratulate me – thanks guys!