After last year's race, I was a bit dissapointed with how it went, so I was looking forward to the 2011 iteration of the race. This year's course would be a bit different from prior years because of the Farmington Canyon road closure. The decision was made to run it as an out and back course running up bair canyon until the service road just pad Grobben's Corner, then fastening the seat belt for a hair-raising descent of the same trail.
In my running I've really tried to learn to conserve a bit the first few miles of a race to leave some energy to finish strong. Many of the heavy hitters from last year's race were absent for this year, so maybe the pace wouldn't be quite as ballistic right from the get-go.
At 6, the gun went off and up the road we went. It is almost exactly 1 mile to the dirt trail. I went out nice and easy, but just fast enough to "sort" a bit so I wasn't having to pass people once I got to the trail. Up to the third stream crossing, I was feeling good. I was gradually gaining of a fella in front of me. Just after the third water crossing he gapped me not to be seen until the top. The vegetation was extra thick this year what with the record snow year we had. I'm guessing I was somewhere around 5th until we hit the ferns. Ah, the ferns. I got lost in them this year. Somehow I left the trail and ended up bushwacking through ferns, reeds and gamble oak (I hate gamble oak!). After what seemed like an eternal 10 minutes, I popped out on a ridge with the trail 200yds off to the side. While I was getting up close and personal with my plant identification, I lost 5 spots. Gotta love the gutsman. Another 1.5 to the top that was pretty uneventful. I was, like pretty much everyone else, forced to hike. My watch was showing the gradient over 30% for much of this section. I passed, or repassed a few people on this section. Eventually hitting the top, I grabbed some swedish fish and pointed downwards.
Despite my proclivities for "dangerous" recreation (climbing, b/c skiing, etc.), bravery is something that I always struggle with. Is bravery required for running? I don't know, but the speed at which some of the racers descended was sphincter-clenching for me. So I got passed (or repassed) 2x on the downhill. Overall the descent was about 5,000 feet in 5 miles. You do the math--It was steep! After hitting the pavement, my quads were toast. I was forced to leg it out the last mile so I didn't get passed again. I saw someone over my shoulder and thought "Well, he's going to have to earn it if he wants to beat me." Amazingly, I held him off for about a mile. I never do that! I have a long established history of getting pipped at the line or passed on the finishing straight. It felt good to fight someone off this time. I crossed the line in 2:44. 9th place this year and 26 minutes in arrears of the winner (A former college XC runner and 2:35 marathoner--so I can't feel too bad).
Full Results here.
Mile splits (Total Distance 10.27 according to Garmin)
2011 & 2010
In some ways I was pumped about how the race went. In some ways dissapointed. The 2 that passed me on the downhill put 7 and 9 minutes into me. My knees were hurting from self-braking and I'm not sure how much faster I could have gone. But still--9 minutes?! I got lost--that sucked and I lost several minutes, not to mention copious amounts of skin cells from brush. After looking at my time, I think I could have done 2:15 on the regular course (Had I not gotten lost--guess at which mile that happened), so I think my fitness is better than last year. Although my time year over year was similar for the first 5 miles it felt comparatively easier. And I was 5.5 minutes faster on the death row mile this year. The climb felt hard, but easier than last year.
On the Road in Oregon - I've been home just three days, but its already time for me to hit the road again. This time, I'm off to Oregon to spend a few days paddling with some fell...
4 days ago