I finished without any major injury and it was a tough course with some really technical downhill at the end of the race.
This was the first 50 miles covered in training and the first time Amber & Elena would crew for me. Actually, it was first time having a crew for an ultra. With them coming to race, I stayed up in Vancover at Amber’s since we were driving to the start. It was an early morning as the race started at 6am so we left at 3AM to get my bib and have some time to stretch. The race was a point-to-point so it involved a shuttle which required earlier arrival than normal.
The first hiccup was actually finding the race venue. We drove right by it as there was not a single sign from the main road mentioning it and no real obvious thing. Luckily since we left early that we were able to make adjustments and I still had lots of time.
Parking was a total mess too as I had to walk about half a mile to the bib pickup. This was the first time for the race so lots of growing pains which was exacerbated by a shuttle bus breaking down before getting to the event. So we had two buses for 3 bus full of racers. Luckily I was able to get on before others so I didn’t have to stand.
With all that the race started 20 minutes late…no big deal as my day was going be long anyway. It felt really cold at the start even though had a heavy long sleeve and full tights. The benefit of having a crew as they would have light long sleeve and shorts for me.
Crew was only allowed at a single aid station but we would pass it at mile 20 and 40 so not bad. Plus a benefit for my first time crew not having to drive around but just sit and camp at a single place.
There were clouds surrounding Mt. Hood already and they would remain the whole day. We never got a view it all day even though there so many viewing points along the course.
The course net a downhill elevation as it was point to point but man did it GO UP A LOT. Especially in the first 10 miles and the last 2 or so to the 10 mile aid station was just unrelenting up which had my power hike with everyone else. Since I was taking it easy at the back of the race I was constantly passing folks as they power hike all the hills and I ran them. They’d pass me right back on the downhill and flats.
I wanted to suffer on all the hills to really prepare as much for the 42K of elevation will be gaining in the Bigfoot. And suffer I did as it was A LOT of uphill which would immediately be followed by intense downhill. Overall there wasn’t any “flat” sustained sections at all.
On the way up to the 10 mile aid station, we had some snow drifts on the course even though it’s mid-June. Pretty wild nothing too bad but definitely took them easy. So at the 10 mile aid station, the first intense descent started and I was passed by practically the whole race or at least it felt like it. The 10 miles to my crew was a beast of downhill and I felt awful. My right posterior tibial tendon was hurting at each foot fall. It was immediately sore when I woke up for the day. Ugh!! The good news was my left posterior tibial felt fine for the first time in weeks.
Let’s just say I was very quiet and focused when I saw Amber and Elena for the first crew aid station. They were efficient and rock-stars as I took off my tights and heavy shirt. The day had warmed up enough. I took off to see what the next 20 miles would bring as I had really no idea.
Of course we started off climbing subtly and then more intense before immediately descending to the 25 mile aid station that we would loop around too again at the 31 mile mark. I planned that I would start taking my Rockstar nutrition at that mile 31 to really give me a pick me up with the caffeine.
I made my way from the 25 mile mark and then we went up as usual before starting another descent. It was on this descent that I almost face-planted. My watch went off as it’s usual 4 mile lap and I wanted to see how my last 4 miles had gone. My watch’s GPS was actually solid so I could get a good idea how I was doing. Anyway, I looked over and took my eyes off the trail for a second and my right toe caught something. I immediately pitched forward and thought for sure I done for…luckily since it was downhill I was able to speed up even more and catch my self barely as I let out a “Ooooww”.
Since it was the inaugural event all the aid stations were pretty lack luster. No real food at any of them which was strange for a 50 mile ultra. Usually at least one aid station would have burgers or something like it. I left mile 31 and started in on the Rockstar and felt like a Rockstar. I just started to move faster especially on the down hill.
I started to pass a few folks and wasn’t passed back as I think the elevation changes were catching up with folks. During this section we had 2 simple water crossings one I made over without incident and other one I resigned as my feet got wet. They would dry quickly but my right pinky toe started rubbing. At the end the blister wasn’t too bad which I can only say is the miracle of the Infinji socks.
So by the time I made it back to my crew at 40 miles, I felt normal and was engaged with the crew as they once again did an immaculate job. We chatted a bit and then I left to tackle the last 10 miles which again I had no idea what it would be like. I thought about taking off my long sleeve but I had heard that there might be a thunderstorm in the late afternoon. So I decided to keep it and I’m glad I did.
Sure enough about an hour later we got hit with a rain cloud which was cold but luckily it didn’t last too long. On top of that the final downhill had started. I mean it’s a point to point and I knew that the mile 40 aid station was way above where the finish was, yet we still had some intense uphill along a ridge. I started walking all the steep uphill to try and maintain overall effort.
But the downhill had truly started and it was super rocky. With the recent rain, it was not fun at all. I tried my best but my quads were starting to feel the toll a bit. I just kept thinking about all the studs at the head of the race and how they would’ve managed this section. It would’ve been amazing to watch for sure.
The last 5 miles were all DOWNHILL. I was making my way down and really hoping maybe we get some miles level at the end but instead I was treated to a ridge with under 2 miles go. The worst of downhill as it was a switch back fest right down the side of the ridge.
My quads started really complaining and I knew this totally blow them as even with the switch backs each of them were still super steep. I mean you could basically look down the side of the mountain. I cursed the whole way down. Basically this last section sealed it, I will never do that event again. It just doesn’t suite me with all the heinous downhill even though if you’re a downhill expert a super fast time could be had for 50 miles.
I finished in just over 11 hours and boy was I glad to be done with that course. Just too much up/down for my liking. The good news it would help prepare me for the 200 with the mental piece as well as the elevation changes. Just not my type of course.
Thanks for reading..