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The Definitive BigFoot 200 DNF

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Vanity has a lower boiling point than common sense. Having DNF'd the 40-miler in 2018, I figured "what's it like to go big, I mean really big?" The Fates took note, elbowing each other as they crowed "Hold my beer, bitches!"
It wasn't always like thisWhen I got home in 2018 I promptly called Tom Nielsen, old friend, coach, and ultra-beast. I booked him and we got to work. I had a lot of work to do. My last 100-miler was 1998, last 67-miler in 2017, last 50-miler in 2015. A thin base, timed out at best. 
At one late point I noticed that I looked fit from the neck up and waist down—the flyover section was Dad Bod. Oh fucking well.
To spare you, Gentle Reader, the trudging statistical drizzle that is the geeking heart and soul of this sport, the Executive Recap is "close, but no cigar." The Race, and where it got funMade the 12 & 30mi checkpoints in respectable time. I was ahead of 2018, and feeling guardedly optimistic. 
Meanwhile, weather. 
Cloud…

As You Are, I Once Was

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Tarahumarans And Ultras

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The Tarahumaran/Raramuri runners of northern Mexico have an exalted ultra reputation. Their legendary running skills have cyclically transfixed ultras here in the USA going back to the early nineties. Coming out of deep, remote canyons in Chihuahua, the optics were magnetic. What gets lost in the media pixie dust is that they are desperately poor, sustaining themselves in a harsh landscape, and beset by loggers, narcos, and an indifferent ruling class and government. Starvation is a constant threat, now exacerbated by global warming climate change.
Here it comes: “Born To Run”McDougall’s “Born To Run” book is often cited as a primary source on the Raramuri. Last time it was mentioned by an aggrieved SJW who was newly woke on ultras, I nearly shot coffee out my nose. Wikipedia can be like that. But McDougall’s done well with it, bullshitting TED talks in Davos etc. I get it, writing doesn’t pay much, and Davos can be fun. 
Rewind!The Raramuri have been in several Little Brown Indian Trav…

Fake Solo Runners

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The Legit Solo Runner in its purest form is almost a unicorn. I know several of you—and I respect it. My first two hundreds were pacer-less. I got thru Angeles Crest in '91, and Wasatch '92 without a pacer. I had a crew in '91, no crew in '92. But crews and pacers can be fun, if you're willing to be responsible. More on that here.

I hear distant “Chariots of Fire” trumpets. The Solo Runner heroically running the 100 all by themselves—without an entourage, posse, or circus caravan. 

The Solo Runner idea was to encourage or goose signups in the Lottery Age we now live in. It's obvious that this can be gamed by clever people, with few penalties. However rules are mysteriously bent when celebrity or a course-record might be involved.

Take the doddering AC100 for instance. RD Ken Hamada was trying to get less cars up on Highway 2, because each runner had 14 friends with 2 cars each, creating traffic and confusion. So the answer there is to only let in people who have n…

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

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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:
#brandambassadork
#SocialMediaWhoring
#BullshitExcusesYo

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

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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: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative 
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

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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

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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…