Monday, September 26, 2011

Wasatch 100 training runs

I did 4 training runs on the Wasatch 100 course to get ready for the race in July and August. Here are the reports from those runs:

From the race start to Baer Canyon (17.5 miles) July 27th 2011:

With Matt Williams and Matt Van Horn. What an adventure. My alarm went off at two-fitty am this morning. It was tough downing 500 cals that early. I met MattW and MattV at W's house and after dropping off my car at the Baer Canyon trailhead Matt drove us over to the start of the Wasatch 100. I want to run as much of the course as I can before the race and this would be my first time on that trail.

The first 5 miles aren't too bad. A few hills, but you can run the whole way. It was light by time we hit mile 5 and from there is gets really steep. A few miles later the trail became really overgrown and it slowed us down a lot. Busting up over 4K in elevation to the Chinscraper was a lot of fun. The views were much better than I thought they would be. What an incredible place. About mile 10 we stopped at a spring to talk with an older guy and fill up our bottles. The water was cold and good.

Just below the Chinscraper summit I got into some loose rock and I started to slide, so I reached up to grab a hand hold on a rock and it popped off and hit me right in the knee causing a nasty puncture that was bleeding profusely. It wasn't big, but it was really deep. I put 3 band-aids on it and it didn't help at all. The blood just kept coming. Another band-aid, some moleskin and a bunch of tissue paper and about 20 minutes and it finally stopped. What a pain. The guys had to wait for me and it was cold up there with a lot of wind. The worst part is that I was so slow after that because I was afraid of ripping off the bandage with all of the overgrowth on the trail and after the Chinscraper it only got worse.

After about two miles the bandage got ripped off my a branch and I had to stop and put another band-aid and another piece of moleskin on to cover it up. The next few miles were pretty incredible. The views are amazing. Peaks, meadows and valleys below. Wow! We made it to the summit of another peak (Peak 9,401?) and bypassed a few others. On one we crossed a snowfield that was a pain and I used a rock as an ice axe.

At mile 13.7 we took the Baer Canyon trail back down to the valley. This was by far the worst part of the day. That trail was so overgrown I couldn't believe it. Someone yelled "We've got Bush" and we certainly did. Bushwhack! It was a steep motha too. Busting out of that canyon was slow. Eventually my bandage was ripped off again and I had to take it so slow because I didn't have anything to cover the wound, so I was way over-cautious. We had to make a few stream crossings, but nothing eventful the rest of the way. it was a killer workout. Just about 18 miles with 6K elevation gain. It was really tough, but we all had a lot of fun. I am totally psyched for the race. I'll post up some pics of my bloody knee.

From Bountiful B aid to Francis Peak aid and back. July 30th 2011:

The plan: Run part of the Wasatch 100 course (Bountiful B aid to Francis Peak and back) with Matt Ricks and MattVS. We thought it would be about 14 miles. What happened: We got to the BB aid station about 5:30 and started our run up toward Centerville Peak. We didn't see the trail we were supposed to be on, but we figured we could eventually get on Skyline Drive and make our way to Francis Peak and then get on the right trail on the way back. Twinkies and I summitted Centerville Peak just as the sun was rising. It was pretty awesome. We then hit a few bumps on the ridge and then bushwhacked over to Skyline where we ran to the summit of Bountiful Peak and we couls see our route. We ran down the road at a quick 6:45 to 7:00 pace for just about 3 miles. The last half mile to the Francis Peak aid station was pretty steep so it slowed us down, but we still ran most of the way up. We stopped at the aid station for a few minutes and then headed back on the W100 trail. After about 3 miles the trail crosses a stream and then starts the climb back to the BB aid station. Because the trail was so overgrown and since we didn't know where it was we missed it. We thought we made a wrong turn and then we spent the next two hours running every trail and fork in the area. Nothing made sense and we would always start to go in the wrong direction, so we would end up turning back to try something else. It was horrible, but the silver lining is that it might be the most beautiful area in the Wasatch. There were lush green meadows with wild flowers and the view of the mountains to the west. So cool! Eventually, VD called his wife and she read the directions to him from the W100 website and he quickly figured out our mistake. We had been right the first time. We just had to go back and cross the river about 30 yards from where we were and there was the trail. It was totally overgrown and was a bushwhack for about a half mile. Eventually it got better, but it is a steep climb back up to the BB aid station. We were pretty tired when we finished. We had planned on about 14, but ended up with almost 20 and quite an adventure. I'm very happy that I was able to run most of the first 23 miles of the course this week. It is pretty tough for sure. Those are not easy trails. I am totally psyched though. The views are unreal.

Big Mountain to Lambs. August 5th with Craig Lloyd and Josh Greenwell. 14 miles:

Wasatch 100 course from Big Mountain to Lambs with Craig and Josh. BUSHWHACK! I wanted to do this section of the course during the heat of the day because most people that have run Wasatch say it is the hottest section and many runners DNF after doing it. It was definitely hot out there. The trail was very overgrown in several places which slowed us down some. Jun and jsh were strong all day and I spent most of the run trying to catch them. I really enjoyed the run until we hit the Alexander flat aid station area. From there it was brutally hot and the last half mile we got into one of the most heinous bushwhacks I have ever done. This section is pretty tough, but I really enjoyed everything but the overgrowth. My legs are scratched and raw.

Lambs to Brighton with Craig Lloyd and Adam Hall on August 24th 2011:

We met at 4:15 am at the BCC PNR and after dropping off cars at Brighton we had an incident with some longboarders that had crashed coming down the canyon. Two young guys that were both bloody and dazed. One of them looked much worse than the other and kept complaining that he was going to die. We drove them to the 7-11 at the mouth of the canyon where they called some friends to come take them to the hospital. They were not wearing any protective gear and didn't have headlamps. Dumb! They are lucky to be alive.

We started at the Lambs Canyon aid area for the Wasatch 100. None of us had run this section of the course and it was really fun. After 1.6 miles up Lambs we took the trail on the right that would take us up and over the pass to Millcreek canyon. The sun came up about half way up the climb and it was beautiful in there. It was a touch overgrown, but not too bad. At the pass we had a good solid run down to the canyon road at Elbow Fork and then we all grabbed a quick snack while we headed up the canyon to Upper Big Water. We ran most of the canyon road and only hiked the steepest sections.

The trail from Upper Big Water to Dog Lake is very pretty and in great shape. We hiked most of the steeper sections and ran where we could. After Dog Lake we knew we had to get some water, so we hit the spring just below the trail junction to Desolation Lake. We all filled up our water and I got into some stinging nettle, which bothered me for about the next hour. The trail up to Desolation is steep and tough. We were all feeling it at this point. We were not moving fast.
We reached the crest and decided to bag Desolation Peak. Why not? On the summit we took a few peak jumping photos and then headed back to the trail. From there we ran most of the way back to the base of Scott Hill. Jun got ahead and was waiting for us. We stopped there and took a break and Adam and I decided we were going to climb Scott Hill and Jun had to get back, so he took off while we took a few minutes to eat some real food (granola bar, Powerbar, Fritos).
From this point on it seemed like Adam and I were climbing up. We went up Scott Hill and then after dropping down and losing some elevation we had to climb back up to the ridge to Guardsman Pass. From here we were off the W100 course and decided to climb as many peaks as we could on the Brighton ridge run. Adam was out of water, so we would have to bum some off of hikers if we wanted to do anything serious because it was very hot. We did find a few nice hikers that let us have some water, but the steep climb up to peak 10,420 and Clayton Peak was taking a lot out of us. The sun was beating down most of the time and it was a tough climb with 20+ miles and several thousand feet of elevation already on our legs. We really slowed down a lot. When we reached the summit of Clayton I ran out of water and Adam had about 16 ounces left, so we knew that we were done. That would barely get both of us back to the car and if we didn't see anyone with water we would be screwed if we tried to go further, so we decided to call it a day. We made our way back to the saddle and then ran the road back to the car that was parked in the Brighton parking lot.

We finished with 4 peaks, 8311 feet of elevation gain and just under 24 miles. I also got to run about 20 more miles of the W100 course. I really can't imagine a race course being any tougher than this one. It's coming quick.

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