July 29th Dave Griebling and I left Park City, UT headed for Snowbird to get a steak and good nights sleep before racing the Speedgoat 50k. Speedgoat 50k, that’s a funny name huh?Well about 3/4 way through the race I laughed out loud as the namesake hit me like a ton of bricks because I felt like a mountain goat and I was going as fast as my body would take me.Here is the topo map.Looks flat because you are looking at a computer screen but take a look at the left column where the elevation starts at 8000ft!90% of the race is performed above 9200ft; maxing out at 11115ft at the top of Mt Baldy…a couple of times.
Anyhoo….Dave and I checked into the Cliffs Hotel at Snowbird and I spread out all my gear and food making different bags and planning out nutrition, etc.I got breakfast ready to eat in the bathroom as not to wake Dave up at 3:30am. I wanted to get up early to get some serious calories on board several hours before the race started going straight up the mountain.
Soon after getting the gear set up we went down to get some beta on the course.We ran into a couple fellas in the hall that looked like they were trail runners and proceeded to ask them about the course and joked about the “hand drawn” topo map…..turns out we were talking to Karl Meltzer, the race director, the guy who ran the Pony Express trail, the Red Bull athlete…the Legend!Nothing like getting beta from the guy that set the course!Next was a quick hot tub where I met up with another local athlete that had raced the year before. He ended up 7hours 7min this year!!! Nice work mandango!As Dave and I walked to the Steak Pit for dinner we ran into a guy with an IRun t-shirt.I guessed this was Jay Danek the guy I tried to meet at the WMRC trail run in Phoenix.I showed up to meet him but he didn’t make it that day.Yep, it was Jay.We talked for a moment and parted ways until the race day.After that encounter Dave and I put down a couple 7oz steaks, thanks again Dave.Then to bed.It’s now 6:00 in the morning and breakfast has long been digested and Dave and I are in the parking lot near the race start watching and joking that the start of an Ultra race may look like a slow-mo movie…. next was the race meeting then the starting line, GO!
It wasn’t so much of a slow-mo start but everyone was very relaxed and there was some chit-chat from some that had altitude-developed lungs.I was about 163bpm from the start and settled in to about 154bpm and as low as 125bpom at the low point of the race, mentally.Not much excitement till we hit snow near the top of Mt Baldy, where there was 500ft of rope straight up the snow chute t0 the top.
We weren’t post-holing but there were defiantly kick steps and we needed the rope.I was greeted by a big grin from Dave at the top of Mt Baldy.I took a seat as he filled my Camelbak with more Infinit nutritionand handed me Pringles.
The next section was not quite as DOWN as the hand drawn topo had suggested but there was a cool section with ropes and scree.Then a long decent to the mine down a long ATV, dry creek, baby-head strewn area that wasn’t as flowy as it looked on the hand drawn topo map.Toward the bottom of this gnar, I ran upon a woman I parked next to before the race.I ran by shouting ‘ whazzz up!” I quickly realized she was sobbing when she told me she had potentially torn her meniscus on the run down and was upset that the point we were heading toward was a “no stopping point as it was difficult to evacuate athletes”.I offered Advil and told her to keep moving forward and I would notify the officials of her predicament.I believe it was here that I got a flat tire on my right shoe.I have been running and representing Hoka shoes the past year and absolutely love them but I bottomed out the sole and it flattened out at about mile 16 of 31…
After the mine comfort station, about ½ way though the race, I felt like a CHAMP!It was the first time I hit the Coke and got a little PBJ in me.Things were really clicking.The tunes on my Ipod were turning me into a running-dance machine!I was hitting up a little “air-dj”, a little robot arm and some break dance arm moves I hadn’t seen since ’85!Then the crash.I guess I could’ve seen it coming as I was feeling SO good.This was the low point of the day about mile 18 going back up to the top of Mt Baldy.My heart rate hit 130bpm and the guys I was dancing by, started passing me.I stayed with one guy and he told me a story of his wife getting her stomach banded and all the weight she lost and how he and she had done some trail running/ walking recently and it was ok that I was walking so much during this race.I really appreciated his story telling at this point and finally got my legs again near the top.Thanks guy.
Fast forward past the tunnel and back to the top of Mt Baldy about mile 25.5.Although I looked sluggish getting up to Dave and his grin, I felt better when I got some more solids and more Infinit.
I was ready to crush this last part of the race.It was all downhill from here, literally.I started off and hit the snow chute with the ropes going back down.I took my bandana off my wrist and tied it around my hand to hold the rope as I glissaded down the chute…wheeeeeeeee!It felt so good to go so fast and get my bum and legs cold!Now I was cruising about 7 min miles, making up time on Jay Danek the other Phoenician I met up with the night before.Dave said he was about an hour ahead of me at the top of Mt Baldy; I finished within 45min of him.BUT not so fast….just after the snow glissade I was running with a woman and another guy cruising until…..woooosh, I slipped on a small stream crossing….sliding on my hands and scraped my knee and splattering mud everywhere.I really didn’t check myself out but just got up and started running again.The two runners I was with asked me several times if I was ok…yes…YES I’m good, let’s rock this!Actually in my head I was like ‘ F man, what the hell, chill, you have like 5 miles left, relax!!!Things really were downhill like the topo map said and it felt sooooo good to run so freely after the mountain was getting the best of me all day.I owned this last 10k!
As I got to the finish line I stopped just short of it and made like I was driving a bus.Keeping my hand on the imaginary wheel, I reached over with my right hand and pretended to open the bus door.I told Karl and Dave to GET ON THE BUS!
They got on behind me and we cruised across the finish line together.Karl had and injury and was excited that he got to run that day albeit 5ft.A quick PBR, pizza and spray shower in the parking lot as I changed cloths and the day was done.
Thanks Dave.Thanks Karl.I’ll be back.
I couldn’t have done this race with the little training I did without this list of gear. This gear got me through injury free: