Scout Mountain Ultras: DFL, DNF....Aaah, What The Hell

When I dropped at Mile 32 I gave my DFL/DNF podium speech, picked up the keys to the Benzo, thanked my sponsors.

Luke Nelson puts on a very tough race with amazing volunteers. The Scout Mountain Ultras [100/50/21 miles] is old school in the best way possible, with a Zero Douche Factor. Finish line at Mink Creek is quiet, but maybe the mosquitoes hadn't woken up yet. 

But now, back to my shit:

Then I drove on down that Lonesome Highway to a Happy End.  
[Insert Interlude of Beautiful Music]Now, for something to really jerk off to, where the fine blend of butt hurt is laid on [wait for it....] THICC
That's this season's meme-worthy term, kid you not.
In the beginning is the end, and shit.Just prior to the 0500 start I was trying to stay warm by a fire, knowing I'd be sweating like a pig within a mile. Two local guys were discussing ultra-injuries, and other people's marital/romantic train wrecks. It all began to ble…

Imagine AC100 Without Baden-Powell

The AC100 is asking the public’s support for the race’s survival as a trail race. At stake is the iconic portion from Vincent Gap over Mt Baden-Powell. Which could disappear. 

Their email came to my attention:
This past December, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Act was presented by Congresswoman Judy Chu. The legislation adds new wilderness areas the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and the effect on the Angeles Crest 100 Mile course would require another road section skipping the pinnacle of the course, Mount Baden-Powell. We need your help to reach out to your congressional representative to help get AC100 trail access and prevent the race from becoming a road race.

Then the following text on how to locate your congressperson:
Step 1: 
Step 2: Contact your Congressperson via their website. Copy and paste the following letter (add your name/title) and add your personal story as you see fit.
Step 3: If no …

Ultra-Nostalgia Ain't What It Used to Be

I was at a wedding several summers back and a handsome young dude asked me "don't you ever wish you were young and beautiful like me?"

I looked at him, thinking, "...sure."

But I answered him "Billy, play your cards right, and you can be old and ugly like me."

This wasn't the answer he expected. But I deal in the unexpected.

Have a seat.
Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?I see your fresh faces thundering down the trail in your most Recent Race Shirt. You're young and enthusiastic. It's springtime, and Ultras are magical. Your Luck Bag is full, and your Injury Bag is empty. 

As it should be.

In time, typically about five seasons, you'll look around and suddenly wonder "who the fuck are all these new people?"

They'll be wearing their own styles, carrying gear that is different from yours, and probably look at your flat-brimmed trucker cap and oversize Julbo glasses as hopelessly passé. 

They'll be IG influencers, s…

23 Miles & Me: My Drowned Out SOB50k

A massive winter storm front rolled in on the rescheduled Sean O'Brien 50, and hit it squarely in the face. In the Pacific Northwest that's an average day, but here in SoCal its a shocker. The race was torched out of its original Malibu locale by the Woolsey Fire. Now it got drenched in its Verdugo Mountains relocation. It couldn't catch a break this year.

The original field of 250 was 93 DNS—for many runners driving from outlying areas probably bagged it on justified fears of highway closures. 
I was looking for a sub cutoff 50k finish, but didn't get it. The race was called shortly after noon as local mudslides and washouts prompted the Verdugo Mtn park authorities to call the race, the end. Those of us out there when it was called were credited with a 30k finish. Wet-Look Fashion Victims At the starting line from my jaundiced perspective, there were lots of dubious gear choices. For many, not nearly enough rain gear or warm stuff, and a lot of fair-weather bravado. Twen…

AC100: Wait List Of Glory

Just when the AC100 is getting its act together, it reverts to form. 

Rene Dorantes won it in 2018. And here he is, #93 on the wait-list. Really?

The previous year's winner used to be invited/admitted into the next year's race. This used to be customary and automatic.Another quaint and delirious custom from a bygone epoch is now buried in a shallow grave.

Which begs the question: who's gonna get Bib #1? Again, this used to be worn by the previous year's champion. And the following 9 bibs were worn by other worthies of note. Things like this will be fun to note when they're assigned.

Think I'm kidding? See for yourself.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!

UPDATE: Somebody got woke, on or around Jan 2 2019:

Revised Dec 31 1400hrs. Because I'm pissed.
Further updated Jan 5 2019, with some good news:

Invitational Ultras

The Few, The Wowed, The ChosenSoon top-tier ultras will be invitationals. Demand, and instant online signups are driving this. The HardRock 100 is a conspicuous example. Their field is capped at 145, because of remote aid-station space/logistic constraints. Nobody is particularly happy with the lottery for whatever reason; full qualification details here

Solution: make it an Invitational. That removes the whole lottery/convoluted entry process/RD Sharpie Thing. Then the disgruntled can bitch about that too. Most ultra-lotteries are cryptic events anyway. Correct me if I'm wrong. 

Further down the list, change the qualifications. Like maybe have 2-5 qualifying 100s done before you enter the inner circle of elite 100s. Ditch the 100k or 50miler as a qualifier. It hasn't been 1986 for a long time now.
Flying Wait-List Standby So you didn't get in to your dream 100, now you're wait-listed. Great! Lets say you're 93rd at the venerable AC100. Based on prior years, that mig…

The Fire This Time

These are the Days of the Expanding Fire.

Currently the entire western Santa Monica Mountains are either burned, or going to be burned.

Years of persistent drought, global warming weather have brought us here. Fires that used to be confined somewhat to autumn are now year-round.

A big hole has been blown into the SoCal ultra calendar. 
The Ray Miller 50/50/30 is cancelled.I'm expecting the Sean O'Brien 50/50/100k [Feb 2 2019] to follow suit. Race management has promised rollovers to next year. Backbone Trail 68 & 100, gone.Also cancelled this weekend was the No Name races that were slated to start/finish in Chesebro Cyn up in Agoura.

Just yesterday [Nov 12 2018] Rocky Peak and Corriganville burned, up in Simi Valley. 

Malibu was under mandatory evacuation. Any property up a winding canyon road is likely a goner. The Pacific Coast Hwy [PCH] was all four lanes southbound last week, to allow people to flee. 

Where to? What next?

CalFire is stretched to the limit. Year round. 

Where to…