LooseCrew-JeffO: SJS50 part 3


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SJS50 part 3

So there I was - missed the aid station. I looked left and saw two runners in the distance and knew they were heading towards Carson. So Williams had to be in my direction. There were totally no markers, so I had to have passed a shortcut. So I bushwhacked through the grass and trees hoping I was heading the right way. I wasn't seeing anything, but the other directions looked even less likely.

Finally I heard yelling and there it was. I checked in and refilled everything, eating some banana.

Back to the road, heading to Carson. We took a left and headed up a very steep jeep road that wound around and switched-back many times. I was in a bit of panic because of all the time and distance I'd lost. I passed several people. It was obvious that I hadn't done well at the beginning, and the lost time put me back with the much slower middle-of-the-packers. It was an odd, crowded sensation for a 50. This started working on me and I guess it took lots of wind out of me.

Just before Carson, there was another wide creek crossing. A guy was actually stopped while he tried to figure out a dry way across. I blew through the water without hesitating. I looked back to make sure he was okay, but he was. I couldn't see how anyone could make it into one of the toughest 50-milers and cross all those streams in the first 20 miles, and there he was wasting time figuring out a pretty way across. Maybe he had serious foot issues and more water in his shoes would lea to bloody feet? Who knows? To each their own, I guess.

At the Carson aid station, I actually sat down and laughed with the other guys. It's not like I'd given up, but I just wasn't as focused on racing after that. I was intent on taking some good photos, getting a nice workout, and having fun. I still hoped to finish in the 14-14:30 zone, which I figured would have put me back up with the top 25%. With 9 miles to the next aid, I completely filled my Camelbak and Ultimate Direction bottle, and left with my squirrel bag full of potato chips.

Until the last creek, my feet were almost dried-out for the first time, but beyond Carson, there was too much water. We were running through lots of run-off and snow. The scenery was getting more stunning by the minute as we passed treeline again. Finally I reached the Divide, but the ridge then kept climbing even higher and higher.

The course markers then left the main trail and headed up the grass-and-rock hillside. (This reminded me of HardRock, where the course often follows no trail and you have to watch keenly for markers.) We gained the highest parts of the ridge where the views were best and followed it for miles! That was my favorite part of the race. There are spots that I just couldn't keep running, it was so beautiful.

So I wasted lots of time taking bad photos of great scenery. I could see, Handies, Sunshine, Redcloud, Wetterhorn, Uncomphagre, and San Luis in the east. You could see how the Slumgullion slide had dammed-up the valley and formed Lake San Cristobal.

On the downhills and flats, I passed people. We were very strung out. I'd see someone half a mile ahead and reel them in. Then the next one or two. That was slow going. I only saw one other guy running consistently at that altitude, but I eventually passed him too.

And because it takes me so long to post, this is the end of part 3!
Tomorrow I'll finish the photos and race, but there will also be a wrap-up synopsis debrief that might be helpful for anyone planning this race in the future.


At 8:30 AM, Blogger Justin Mock said...

How were you able to recognize so many peaks by name?

At 8:48 AM, Blogger JeffO said...

Justin - I climbed all of those peaks. So I've seen this same region from so many different viewpoints. It's been several years, but I got on Google Earth for a refresher before the race.
As for your blogged predictions, Meltzer has a decent sense of humor!
But I think your predictions are pretty accurate, barring injuries, etc.


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