In the week leading up to this years race I felt a mixture of emotions. Excitement, Dread, anticipation. This race is different from all the others for me because of all the work we put into it. From marking the course to stuffing race packets, I really had a good time this year with all of the race prep we had to do.
My main goal for the race was to improve on my time of 6:08 from last year. I knew that the course conditions were going to be tough. I went out on Wed. before the race to finish up some course marking and all of the snow had melted and refrozen on the trail. Screwed shoes were going to be in order. I don't know about everyone else, but I've pretty much had my fill of ice running for the year.
Here's how the race went. It was about 15 degrees at the start. The crowd was huge. Nearly 300 hardy souls got out of bed early on this frigid February mornin'. There was a strong contingent of talented ultrarunners...even Barefoot Rick was there! Kinda chilly but I knew we'd warm up when we hit the trail. Good ol' Caleb was still sportin his shorts. Bad Ben said Let's Go! and off we went. My plan for the first lap was to take it pretty easy. I talked a little with Kevin P. , Mark K. and Gabe . I saw at least a half dozen sweet wipeouts and I managed to have one of my own on an ice free section of the course. Funny story-While I was running with Gabe we were going down the ridge after the paved hill and stepped on a piece of a tree branch with my inside foot while I was leaning to the right. I was on my face before I could blink. DOH! I bet it looked pretty funny to the guys behind me though. I finished the first loop comfortably in about 1:43. Second loop was about a 1:53- slowed down some but still felt pretty comfortable. I caught up with my wife Brandy, who was walking the 10 mile race, at about mile 19 of my race. She said something about losing screws so I thought I'd check mine. When I picked up my foot to look, my hamstring locked up real nice and I let out a little squeal. AAAHHHH! I got moving again, took a couple of Endurolytes with some water and tried to work it out. I came into the start/finish at 3:37 for 20 miles. I was still feeling pretty decent and was thinking I might be able to get close to 5 1/2 hrs. That thinking changed pretty early on during my third loop though. I was fighting some nice hamstring cramps for about 3/4 of the entire loop. I was fine going downhill but whenever I tried to push it uphill the old hammys really started to squeal. I got pretty close to my brother Cody on the pavement hill by the dam, but he started running sooner than me before the singletrack and I never saw him again until the finish. Many of you may have seen him on the course. He was the one wearing the TUXEDO T-shirt. By the way, that was his first run longer than about a dozen miles and he finished in 5:45. I came in bout 3 minutes behind him for a finishing time of 5:48. I'll take it.
I did have to stop and retie my damn shoes in Fester's wander on my third loop, so that probably cost me a minute or two. Gabe actually caught up to me right after that and we told each other about our cramping problems. He sucked it up pretty good considering that he paced Rick for 40 miles at RR100 the previous weekend. Mark K. was closing in on me with about two miles to go. When I saw him it kind of gave me a little boost for the last two miles or so. He came in a couple of minutes later and Gabe came in soon after him. Both under 6 hrs. Good Job guys! A good start to the season.
Shane's Top 10 Race highlights :
- Caleb redeeming his miserable performance of 06 and winning this thing for the Trail Nerds. A new CR in skating rink comditions. Awesome!
- Kyle's close second place- Awesome, but you didn't really surprise me. Actually you did just a little. You are my pick for the Free State 100k.
- Greg"A rolling stone gathers no moss" Burger- 5th place. You must have really been flyin down them hills. Great job man! Leadville 07!
- My brother Cody finishing in front of me in his first ultra. That was with a long run of about 10 or 11 miles. ??? Awesome job. You could probably run 100 miles on stubborness alone.
- Mark Koester in under 6 hrs. And you said 7 hrs. I knew you had it in ya!
7. Awesome sponsors!
8 . Dick Ross for showing up in the frigid conditions and taking tons of great photos- FOR FREE! Thanks Dick.
9. My brother Adam, Good Ben and Rick Mayo for getting some good pics and video. Mark is going to edit the video so we should have something to watch before long
10. Bad Ben for being the ringleader of this whole circus- Congrats on your 500 mile RR shirt!
I think that's it. See ya next year!