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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Devil Mountain 50 Mile

  • August 23, 2014- Devil Mountain 50 Mile, 6th Place, 10:12:27
After grabbing a Growler at the local brewery to add to my collection, I checked in for the race as it was raining the evening prior. I quickly setup camp and anchored in for the night. I was already loving this style of race where many if not most were actually camping where even at SJS and CPTR almost no one camped. Devil Mountain has a 50K loop option and a lolly pop stem option that breaks off at 24 miles for the 50 Milers to do an out and back stretch to finish the same course from that point. The trick is to not woos out at 50K knowing it would be a few short miles to the car. As the gun went off, I took it very easy the first few miles down the road and up the first climb. It is hard when you don't know who is out for 50k and who is 50 mile. You just have to run your own race. Settling in after the first long slow climb, there was a quick road descent where I was hitting 7 Min pace on a few miles before the next steep climb where I caught the 2 guys in front of me after losing them before the descent as I had to take care of some stomach issues. Halfway into the climb I had both of them and once they were out of sight, I stopped running up hill. I wanted to look strong on the pass for strategy and then let down when they wern't watching. After this second steep climb that one of the Barkely course designers came up with, I was feeling good and still seeing folks ahead that I was reeling in. I looked back to find the 2 guys I passed right on my tail and actually passing me just before the 24 mile bail point for 50k. I was hoping they would turn and neither one did. They blew right through the aid and went for the 50 mile. My shoes didn't feel right here so I took a couple of extra minutes for the swap. I put on the other pair and set out. From here, it was hot and the course was marked way less. It was route finding and fun as elevation dropped greatly. Somewhere in here, I finally turned on some tunes to try and hide being tired from myself. Many times, I wondered if I was even on route. Especially when it dropped into a field with no trail or sign of a trail. I just kept running hoping to see another pink tag and trying to follow grass that appeared trampled. Shortly after the river crossing, it was straight up hill. I was actually able to run most of this section until I ran out of water. After my bladder incident at SJS, I was experimenting with bottles here. I had one in each hand. One at 24oz and one at 16 oz. I rationed properly although it was hot and ran out exactly at 8 miles, but where was the aid station. It was nowhere in sight. Less than half a mile later, there it was and I saw folks ahead. It was only a few miles out and back to the turn around from there and there was still no one coming the other way. OMG, I can't believe I am this close to the front. This aid station I discovered Oranges. They are magic food when you are depleted. I dropped one of my bottles here and took off for the turnaround feeling better than good. About a mile up, I saw the leader trotting along looking very effortless. There was no way I was going to catch up 3-5 miles over the next 15. About a mile from the turn around, I passed the two guys in front of me and realized I was less than half a mile behind the two in front of them. A male and female who were in second and third place. This means at this point, I was actually third place male and 4th overall and I was gunning for second with them so close. I made the unique turnaround where you tear a page out of a book as proof you made it (old school baby).

After the turn, I was energized, perhaps too energized as I cranked 7:30ish pace back to the aid where I topped off bottles hoping to not run out before the next aid just 8 hot miles away. I screamed the descent as folks behind coming the other direction cheered me on. As I reached the valley, I spotted the two in front of me less than a quarter mile up as I crossed the river. They were mine I thought as I took a quick head dip to cool down and continue pursuit. As the climb began, I began to crash. I had to hike some and began to be worried. I pushed too hard when I got excited. All of the sudden, I bonked harder than ever in my life. As my hike slowed, I got passed by the two behind me that I got just before the turn. There was 4 mi uphill left to the aid and I had nothing in the tank. At my rate and up the steep hill, I was looking at 2 hours to cover that 4 measly miles. I actually had to sit down because I got dizzy. I sat for about 10 minutes right there in the trail just after a short hail storm. One nice lady came down going the other way bidding on her 50 miles for the day still. Eventually, I got up and made a solid hike and even some running to the aid where I refueled and thought I had roughly 7 miles to the finish. Before my bonk, I was right on par for a sub 10 hour finish and probably under 9:30 which is pretty good for 8K of elevation gain for the day. My mind was playing games as I determined on the last few miles to find it was a couple miles shorter than expected which means the 50K course was actually short. Once I spotted another female about half a mile behind, I took off up the last hill hoping she didn't see me (not that it really mattered if she caught up or passed). I came into the finish in 10:12:27 in the same 6th place that I left the 24 mile at happy as ever. After a short nap and cleanup. I enjoyed several tasty beers at the finish line bonfire as we cheered in each and every last finisher and returned for breakfast the next morning where there was so much social time and meeting many new friends.I didn't get the community ultra experience during the race where you socialize and whatnot but I did get that in full after hanging out at the finish and with the breakfast. Really like the old school low key style of this race. I will be back here in the future eventually for sure.
Until next time...

See you at the top!