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23 Miles & Me: My Drowned Out SOB50k

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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

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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

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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

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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…

End Times: AC100 Now On UltraSignUp

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Finally. Proof that the ice-caps are melting, Rapture, whatever. 
The Ultra World learned this afternoon that the venerable and creaky AC100 was now on Ultrasignup. This transition finally happened, long years after it had been suggested by parties irreverent and impertinent. 
RD Ken Hamada is famously cheap, and that somehow the idea that runners were going to pay a fee to effectively process their entry had gotten through to him. 
Assistant RD Jakob Herrmann simultaneously announced his departure, and has left Uncle Kenny's Kabin. Hermann didn't go into great detail, but its safe to surmise that enough was enough. Jakob had the patience for this kind of glass wall-climbing, but has decided to suffer better elsewhere. 
AC100 had already startled long-time observers several months ago by finally getting on board with a wait-list, paired with an entry open date in December, not the day after end of race, as previously. The lottery is still a joke, most likely Kenny's Sharpie, a…

What Is The Sound Of One Solo Clapping?

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The Solo Runner category in the current 100-mile race scene is bullshit, and should die immediately. Its unenforceable, and subject to gaming by the more clever out there. 

"Oh hey, I didn't really understand that part of the rules where it said a solo runner was Lonesome Me, with no crew or pacers, gosh..."
Somehow these people pass their DMV tests.

In theory it supposedly confers a registration advantage at the AC100, and reduces the number of cars out on the course and in aid stations. On the face of it, OK; because this is America, and every runner has 3 friends and 4 extra cars. But is a solo runner theoretically a nobody, with no casual admirers? 

At the AC100 this is Panic Level DefCon 2. Runners got a multi-signature contract form, pretty much like buying a house. You swore that you know all the rules, you read the rules, understand the rules. Got that Adventure Pass, Crew Parking Pass? Don't give aid out on the road [because there's 12 miles of asphalt butt-…

BigFoot 40: The Abbreviated Pilgrimage

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I finished BigFoot 40 in style—behind the wheel of a Buick Regal, driving three other woebegone 28mile DNFs like myself. It was a far cry from my race morning start that ended at Windy Ridge 27.79666 miles later. 

My first shameless thought on dropping was "how the fuck do I get out of here?"
Yeah, me love ultras long time, but I was a drowned rat looking for a lifeboat. Fortunately, I said this to Ryan Good who offered me his Buick Regal to drive to the finish. He was going to pace a friend for the last 15+miles and that saved him a long-ass stinky-butt drive to get his car. 

Let it be noted for all the city types that driving in rural Washington involves hours, the roads are curvy, and prone to sinks, sags, waves, and potholes as occur in a dynamic geology and weather. 
Prologue-Jamming The day started well enough, but once the preliminaries had been replaced by lava boulder fields my shit-summer training made itself known in lethargic slowness. Past that and back into trees I…