Ultras have now matured so that people work at cheating on them. It's always something. I've suspected it in various 50ks, 50-milers, and a few 100-milers. Marathons had their wakeup with Rosie Ruiz, and her 1980 subway-assisted Boston Marathon win.

Cheating can occur in the following scenarios:
Races with interior loops, staffed by volunteers, with little or no help, and irregular contact with other volunteers running HAM and finish line dutiesLong stretches were people can get rides without scrutinyOut & back sections with no monitoring, or proof of completionWhere trails parallel paved or graded roadsCheating has always been rumored, but the rise in timing chip/Garminesque GPS tech watches has closed the gap. Provided the registered entrant is wearing the watch etc.  
This will percolate downwards into the sport. Time-testing will undoubtedly accompany drug-testing in marquee races. 
Race directors don't get a pass on this. Huh?
if they don't adequately monitor probl…

Curated Scrapings

Change comes slowly if at all to the venerable Angeles Crest 100. 

In late 2017 the cryptic Delphic oracle spoke to Race Management as in a dream, and the revelation was that [you might want to sit down here], there was going to be a waiting list

For the 2019 Race.

Which will now be lotteried the weekend after the WSER100 Draw. Instead of the previous Post Apocalyptic Race Day Plus One Death Scrum. You now have 120 days to ponder an entry.

So for all those who got States-missed, here's your chance. You'll get to elbow your way past the newbies who are just now over their poison-oak fever-dreams in a completely inscrutable process.

Also: AC100 newcomer entrant Jim Walmsley of recent Lake Sonoma 50 win fame is listed as Bib #8. In years past the first 10 bibs were reserved for previous AC100 finishers of note. Perhaps race management thought he'd get lost in the crowd at the start, even though his credentials are solid. But hey! It'll be interesting to see if he actually do…

When life gave me lard, I made LardAid

When life gave me lard, I made LardAid.

Ever wanted 3000 calories on tap, ready to burn 70 miles into that 100? Or do you know some kale-n-broccoli smoothie victim that just needs that extra something outta life? 

The answer is LardAid®™. Harvested from only the finest vintage ultra-talent, not the cheap filler from obese, sclerotic couch-dwellers. 

LardAid is available as injection, vape, or a topical application.

LardAid was first revealed by Obscure Mexican Mystic Dr Sevende Sandia in 2005. D&L Holistic Industries chemists isolated the unique properties, and have brought it to you, the conflicted ultra-gearhead. 

In full disclosure, here are some possible side-effects of LardAid:

Latent memories of Cuban cigarsRecollection of fart-jokesRemembering “Letters to Penthouse Editor”A sudden desire for single-malt ScotchKnowing the occult meaning of LS/MFT
After LardAid, I was striding up Horn-Dog Cyn in to the lowering cloud cover, a veritable swirling “Crullers In The Mist” scenario. Confi…

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…