Missed Manners

Periodically I'll go to an event's training run. Certainly not to establish World Dominance, but just to see who and what. This time we [yrs truly and my enigmatic unindicted co-conspirator "J"] ran the training loop backwards, to see some of the talent that had signed up for the upcoming race. My speed went off a cliff some time ago, and frankly, I'm past giving a shit. 

Here come the frontrunners. Oh boy! The gear, enthusiasm, fresh faces, and KOM FKTs blasting past you. You've got that GoPro Game Face you already imagine in a Thundering Ultra Movie About You. They hit the finish in record time, did the obligatory "aw shucks-gee whiz way-to-go-bro" moves, like in those movies, downloaded your Strokas by Cheezing the Garmin, and so on.

Then there are the dogged middle-packers, who seemed to be looking their first trail race in the face, going "holy shit, really?" Finally, there were several weary old-timers who were keeping a good pace, but…

Just playing thru, don't mind me...

In finest Ray Miller 50/50 tradition, I was chicked and dicked right from the start. Being surrounded by all that fine talent can only put my race into perspective. Such seriousness and devotion to purpose! In classic Olde English Ailing it would be “Beowulf Watch!”, only I was the slo-mo.
"Tell us about the race, Mr Trail Safety!"Alright. I started slow and it only got slower. I was 2min/mile slower than the last RM50k outing. It's been a colorful interlude. Nothing like finding out through acupuncture that rewiring over 20 years of anatomical malpractice takes time. Butt! I digress.
As my talent has fled the stage, Tempis Fugit, Et Merde®™, my final refuge in ultras is merely hanging on. International Orange was the color of my spirit animal that day. That morning I made back my entry fee by parking cars on the highway at $20 a pop. Even the signs warning not to pick up hitchhikers dissuaded anxious runners from their appointed time in the PortaSquat Confessional.  There …

92 In The Shade, When You Found It

No Name 5030 is a serious course, not for the faint of heart or armchair bad-asses. It’s harsh out there, and tough as fuck. No water or shade, with convection heat and dehydration as your ever-present serious friends. For those studs who bang this 50k in 4+ hrs— you are truly amazing.

I don’t recommend this as a first-time 50k for most people. There are many long and lonely stretches between aid stations. For me it was a super-harsh 31 mile training run that drew on every last thing I’d ever learned. 
TOTAL PROPSThe Shuttle van. Oh Jesus. Richard deserves a medal on this one. 

Volunteers out in the middle of nowhere. 

Mike Epler humping water up to that forsaken Albertson’s Motorway ridge at 22 miles. I topped off because I assumed that the water-only meant somebody would be there, not a lonely water drop later at Mile 26. The following canyon is serious as a heart attack, and to be dismissed at your peril. Got my attention, no kidding.

On the final mile climb to the finish out of Chesebr…

Hello Burnout, My Old Friend

Everyone is mystified why modern ultra Bobs & Betties burn out after 3 years. Every new crop of young champions rise, burn brightly, then fall out of the heavens back into darkness, as everyone stares at their phones. Jason Koop has some sharp observations on this.

It boils down to race proliferation, #FOMO, social media, and sponsors wanting max exposure.  If you look at Ann Trason’s peak career, or Tim Twietmeyer you’ll see they didn’t race all the time. Or maybe some races didn’t make it into the database.

Ultras have changed mightily in thirty years. What used to be low-rent is now high dollar on both ends of the spectrum. We’ve gone from aluminum lawn chairs and a stopwatch to blowup arches and timing chips.

Here’s the arc: hot young Bob or Betty wins a name ultra. They become a social-media influencer. Winning is a stoke, kid you not. And they race. And race. The season never stops.

Eventually exhaustion sets in. The runner in question begins to realize its hard wo…

Analysis of Exercise v. Weight Over Time

Your pants are shrinking. Give thanks to gay whales, global warming, and probable damnation.

The answers from experts are too long, complicated, and involve cultic references to crypto-chemistry. I'll make it easy for you. Study this diagram. It's clear and pure as the driven slush. Have a blessed day!

2018 AC100: First-time Entrants With Zero Prior Finishes

Angeles Crest 100 opens its panic-Goober Gold Rush entry process the day after the race ends. A week later, after a cryptic “lottery,” the next year's entrants are announced. They now have a year to get their one 50-mile qualifying race done, just like in 1986.

The First-time Entrants With Zero Prior Finishes compose the overwhelming majority of the field: 177 with 83 all other prior finishers. I began to wonder what are their immediate qualifications? It runs the gamut from names like Jim Walmsley [WS100] and Darcy Piceu [Hardrock 100, Bigfoot 120], to the entrant with the one recorded 7mi finish.

Also noted that there were a startling number of half- and full Ironman finishers. I didn't include these finishes, because at best its a marathon. I expect yelps on that too. 

The stats showed that:
22% have no ultra experience whatsoever at signup, only 14% have completed a 50-miler.Entrants in the None category might not have any qualifiers; or the data may be absent, as database…

Kodiak Will Eat AC100's Lunch

This is Ruperto Romero, 2014 AC100 winner, 10-time AC100 finisher at this year's AC100. But he's not running it. He's pacing Ulises Reyes to an eventual 25:56:50 finish. I totally did not expect to see him that day.

He'd been not invited back to AC this year. Think about that for a second. Or not. 

Ruperto is lining up on Aug 25 at the Kodiak 100 in Big Bear. He loves to race, and was not going to be denied. And this is one reason why Kodiak wil eat AC's lunch.
AC100 Takes Two To The ChinOne: Hal Winton, venerated co-RD, died this past May.

Two: the original race course from Islip Saddle [25mi] is now a 12-mile asphalt beatdown to Three Points [42.72], with a trail section up and over to Mt Hillyer [49,78], eventually rejoining the original course at Chilao [52.8] then Short Cut Saddle [59.3]. Then you get an eye-opening trail workout to Red Box, then rejoining the Original Course at Newcomb's Saddle [69].

This is due to the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness Area, wher…