Kodiak 50k: BearBak'd To The Max

Guillaume Callmettes, 2nd place 100-Mile God, listens to the low-ball comedy of a late 50k finisher.


The Kodiak 100 Ultras are set in the Big Bear region of the San Bernardino Mts, elevations from 6-10,00’. 

The races are the 100mi, 50mi, and 2 50k variants: Front [first 50k] and Back [last 50k]. I opted for the Back 50k, which I’ll refer to as the Kodiak BearBak’d Rear 50k, strictly for its aspects of intimate punishment and acquaintance. You’ll get your mountain-money’s worth here. Mountains, dry mountains. Take note.

The Kodiak is still fine-tuning itself. Its an old-school ultra— with minimal markings, and necessary aid-stations with lean but adequate offerings. If you’re looking for your first Care Bear Ultra, with strawberries, vegan-chow, gluten-free what-the-fuck ever nosh; look elsewhere.
Get ready to spend a lot of time out there by yourself. Its that good.

This shit is tough, and you’ll get served. Ditto any notions of conquering the course, which is a persistent delusion. Go in under-prepared, and this is your fate; try getting along with it instead.

The weather was a balmy 70+ during the day, and dropped to the 40s at night. And yet people were eating shit, moaning about the heat. It was the low ambient humidity at elevation too.

Now, let’s go to the lies and bullshit.   

[All mileage is referenced to the 100-mi distances. Subtract 69, and you’ve got the back 50k mileage-points]

START AT MILE 69: Now here I go again, I see the Gristle visions.

The Rear 50k started at Mi 69/Snow Valley. My spirit-animal told me this was a positive augury.

The big fun was at the Siberia Creek water-only aid-station [Mile 75][1]. This was hosted by SoCal’s worthiest ultra-bobs & betties from the Dirt Bag Runners, Pacific Mtn Runners, and NB Sponsored Athletes & Brand Ambassadors, including a high-pitched heckle bird that made incomprehensible calls. 

Possessed by the spirit and muse of comedy, I approached the partiers in Full Stunt Mode— right arm thrust down the front of my shorts, protruding in clenched fist out the leg, as miming a braying, snorting rampant dick, complete with elephantine sound-effects. Smartphones and GoPros were tracking this faithfully.

I felt a draft. No matter, on with the show! Evidently Mr Happy tumbled from his sleepy bower, and was waving to the crowd.

Eyeballs were popped, camera-warranties voided, and memories of many couldn't be unseen. It brought a staggering halt to many erstwhile worldly people, who pride themselves on Having Seen It All.

“I didn’t need to see that, ever”

Evidently it was bigger than a baby’s arm holding an apple.[2

Jesus wept.

Afterwards it  was all business. I put away guyish things and commenced the climb up out of Siberia Creek; a steep 3 mile gain, but is rewarded with spectacular vistas that aren’t on tap in the San Gabriels.

Mile 79/Champion: Tri-Boys 3

I’d first noticed The Three Tri-boys on the bus ride to the start. They were young triathlete pudwhackers; lean, fit and cocky to have their prancing moment at the their first ultra. Lots of bonhomie, not much gear, certainly caps or head gear. They were going to get a fine education that day.

When I caught up to them at Champion, things weren’t looking so ducky. Two guys, 1 bladder pack, 1 caps, and a building look of butt-hurt. I’d bellowed by number coming in, which prompted a chuckle from Nick Nudell, Ultra MD. The boys looked up, and weren’t too happy.

“Gentlemen, lets go, we’ve got work to do”

The next 6 miles saw a rapid unraveling in the Boys; only one had a bladder pack, the other a little dinky twisty-bottle. WTF. Finally, I interfered and began asking hard-questions about their gear. Turned out that the other Tri-Boy had made off with the other bladder pack. That’s a beat-down right there.

They had no electrolytes or salt; were in deep shit, and I told them so. I’d been pounding down electrolytes, knowing that I’d left my salt caps in my jacket pocket like an idiot. I handed the worse-off one some beef-jerky, told him to just let it melt in his mouth, to get salt and protein. When they got to Grandview/Mile 85, they were to suck down as much electrolytes, salt-caps as possible. Otherwise they’d be goners. They stared and nodded.

Grandview/Mile 85

This commences a downward loop to Aspen Glen/Mile 87.5. Fucker goes on forever. Fortunately they looped this one, because coming back up would’ve been a total goat/mind-fuck. Which was being saved for later when you got to Coyote 93/96.

Good news: I saw TriBoy #1 surge up the PineKnot Trail, having gotten his shit together. He was much happier, and thanked me for my help. He was welcome— I’d rather get in his shit, rather than seeing him go tits up and get in real trouble out there.  Then it was back to trotting up as fast as I couldn’t go.

Grandview/Mile 90.5

Looted as much as I could drink and carry. The Skyline Trail is a serpentine fuck along the ridge. Its really designed for beginning MTB’ers who swarm Big Bear in huge numbers. Any notion of straight lining this shit is choked by brush heaps and the likelihood of being dimed-out by witnesses. So there you go. Have fun with it, if you have the legs for it. The real mind-fuck was yet to come.

Coyote: Mile 93/96

This says it all. I was leaning up against the cooler sucking down Shasta Pseudo-Sprite, thinking “fuck all this shit”…the aid-station dude mentioned without malice that it was an easy out-n-back to the turnaround. My mumbled answer: “I just popped a stiffie”. And out I went. And eventually made it back. Thence on down to the finish.

Happy 100-milers, 50-milers passed me going down the Knickerbocker Road. I lurched in sometime after 9-1/2 hours, fucking glad it was all over. As I crossed, RD Matt Smith asked if I’d really run the whole thing in my big hat. Fuck yeah, thinking about the hat-less sufferers out there…


The weary was offset by the smiles and high-fives of friends and ultra-acquaintances, and knowing that I’d made my accommodations to a tough course and done OK with what I brought that day.

I missed getting a podium-Participation Award of some sort. My last remaining feeling was shattered, which was ignored by my truculent spirit-animal, snoring in the corner, surrounded by shredded bones and scraps of my wishful thinking.

Only one of these is right for the occasion.


  1. Mileage in 100-Mile notations. I started at Mile 69, you do the math. 
  2. The French film classic “Boudin Sauvé des Eaux,” [1933] references this: when Boudin escapes 'from holy padlock' and heads for 'a future of independent, vagrant liberty.' 
  3.  I know that two of the Tri-Boys 3 finished, caught up to TriBoy 1 at the finish and gave him the props for a job well done

... And necessary improvements to the Kodiak Ultras

  • The website is a mess. Gray text on a black background may be notionally badass, but its a chore to read through.
  • Aid stations need distinct signage of exact mileage. Use the 100mi as a reference.
  • Course ribbons need to be a bright something— lime green tends to blend in with foliage. Various turns need to be better marked.
  • Website map is muddled. Directional arrows showing line of travel would help. A specific street address for the start/finish line would be nice. Also an enlargement of the start-finish map area would be nice. Most of us don’t live in Big Bear. 


Monsieur Gassan..."You interfered and began asking hard-questions"...and you saved the TriBoys hide.

Funny thing, you did the same for my sorry ass during the RR training run. Before we met, I'd heard a lot about you....from black masses to communist party affiliations to tax cheat to being a draft dodger. Kidding about the draft dodger. Not kidding about the newborn thing...

You interfered and began asking me hard-questions. I learned a valuable lesson. And I am thankful for it.

People should shut the hell up, move their ego out of the way and listen to you. They might learn a thing or too.
Mr Trail Safety said…
they listened, and finished. Or at least 2 did.
Alan B....somewhere between Pico and Figueroa said…
Proof's in the pudding.
Lori Enlow said…
You made my day! Just finished Mogollan 100 in a world of hurt.
Vanessaruns said…
I didn't need to see that, ever...
webman said…
you are a funny guy

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