Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Western States 100 mile: Start to Escarpment

Tristan and I during the race just above "High Camp", the top of the Gondola (taken with my camera that traveled the full 100 miles).

Tristan hiked up starting at about 3:30 a.m. and cheered on the front runners all the way to the Back of the Pack. In face he suggested that he climbed up and over Escarpment and on the "civilian side" there was a fence which gave him a splinter...which may or may not still be in his hand nearly 2 weeks later!

You can see runners in the background continuing up to Escarpment (Also in the background)

Once the race started I wandered to and over the start line. I knew it was an uphill start from the Thursday hike up the mountain for the very touching memorial service led by race committee members: Mo L. and Tony. Also being an experience ultramarathoner I knew I needed to conserve energy by walking up the hill. I was near many friends including: Bill, Jeff (just briefly), Elaine, Don, Shannon, Jose, Wilson, and many others. It was going to be a grueling uphill climb for the first 4 miles! Luckily I eat hills for breakfast.

As I climbed the first hill I had the pleasure of meeting April who was doing her first WS100 in preparation for UTMB (an ultra around Mont Blanc that is on my “to do” list). We chatted and shared several very nice miles. Unfortunately once we got to the top my incompetence at downhill running ensured I dropped back considerably. While running with April, my friend Elaine caught up and passed me. I would not see her for the remainder of the race and am so thrilled she finished in a little over 27 hours!

At Escarpment I refilled my hydration pack. This took a lot more time then it should have as I identified a lady with enough water in her pitcher. As I opened my bladder she was dumping her water in other bottles and promptly left. I then had to find someone else who had a filled pitcher. This was a bit of a bummer because this also involved doubling back a bit. I told myself it was not a big deal but in fact when I was concerned about finishing 29:59:59 every second can start to count.

Heading out of Escarpment AS as I put my bladder back in my hydration pack my little string of bad luck continued as I bit through my smartwool gloves. Seriously I was using my teeth to pull of my glove and next thing I know the gloves are still on my hand and a bit of glove is in my mouth…pfft!

Continuing to climb I know we will start hitting patches of snow. This is not thrilling to me but at least I know this section. And I know I should be seeing Tristan pretty soon. As we get above High Camp, I do see Tristan. He is standing in a place I would not have picked but at least I see him. I stop give him a hug and chat briefly. I get a picture of us with my camera and then one with his iPhone. I tell him to post it to facebook so friends can see my progress. It is still not posted ~2 weeks later!

All to soon I realize I need to keep going forward. The next segment up Escarpment is a doozy. It is really steep single track some rocky section some covered in snow. I am not in my happy place as it is the stuff of my nightmares. Little do I realize that this is only the beginning of challenging sections. Going up is not so bad but every so often out of the corner of my eye I can see how precarious this trail is. I keep moving forward with purpose and hope it ends. At the top of escarpment I am thrilled. I hope the toughest part of the race is over. I like to live in delusionalworld…

1 comment:

CTmarathoner said...

wow!! Amazing snow picture and write-up--can't wait to read the rest!!!
At least we will have no snow in VT.