Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cle Elum Ridge 50k race report

It felt nice to approach a race without a race mentality. Still getting over a back-to-school cold I picked up from the kids and carrying a knot in my lower peroneus brevis tendon (from side-stepping a descent on the Sulphide Glacier), I didn't have any expectations besides trying to have fun on a long mountain run.

In usual Candice/James fashion, with about a minute to go and standing on a forest service road, Candice said, "Just imagine there's a line here!" Surprisingly, though, I didn't see anyone go at 10k pace.

A group of 10 went out front on the first mile of road leading to the first climb, and I settled into the back of the group behind the leaders, probably in about 20th. Cle Elum is almost all climbing for the first 18 miles and descent for the last 15 (Candice measured the course the day before at 33 miles; I got 32).
Cle Elum Ridge 50k
I stayed in my place for the first 8 miles leading into the second climb, and then started to hike a little quicker. As promised, it was quite cold up on the ridge at the 13-mile aid station. I just kept moving up, one spot at a time, until coming into the 20-mile aid station in 7th place (didn't know at the time).

Splashing through the creek crossing around mile 21:
Pretty ugly face. Glenn Tachiyama photo.
And a mud puddle 20 yards further on:
Nice shot Glenn Tachiyama!
The long descent that makes up the second half of the course is really a heavily-used dirtbike trail that resembles a BMX race track but with the jumps only five feet apart. And all those little bumps in the profile? Those aren't GPS noise bumps, there really are 50 little 5-20 foot climbs. It was hard for me as I felt like I couldn't find a rhythm. I had a little bit of a low patch from miles 27 to 30 as my legs just felt weak. I got passed by two people (one of whom I passed at mile 20).

I picked it up on the last couple of miles and gained some time back.

Finished in 5:49:22 (full results).

Not a super-competitive race = 9th place overall, 20-29 age group winner.
Good to see Kevin Smythe (who graciously didn't pass me in the last quarter mile at White River) have a killer race and finish 2nd overall.

Nice finish line food, beer and live music from The Pine Hearts ended a fine late-summer (OK, OK, early-fall) afternoon. The race was fun, but the dirtbikes on course made it a little weird (they DID NOT yield as they had at Angel's Staircase) and it's sad to see the trails so torn up. Of course, runners and hikers are only one user group...

This was my third Candice-and-James event, and I've had a great time at every one; thanks you two! Thanks to all the volunteers who were out there as well.

And now, for the first time in over a year, I'm not registered for a single race.

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