I signed up for the Speedgoat 50k earlier this year when my friend Kim planted the seed in my head. The race seemed right up my ally, a 50K on the snowbird ski resort, 32 miles and 11,000FT of climbing sure sign me up! Me and Meredith arrived in SLC the Friday before the race. We spent a little time walking around and exploring downtown before ordering about 10lbs of take out Chinese food (carbo-loading!). Saturday morning came around too fast, we were up and on the road bright and early to be sure to make the 6:30 am start.
I knew going into this race it was going to be much different than any other race I have ran. This much climbing crammed into a 50K is just nuts! The race started out at the bottom of a ski run, the climbing started immediately after the race started. I tried to remind myself to take it easy on the climbs. The first couple climbs reward you with brief stints of runnable downhill. You do not hit the first aid station until about mile 8 and about 3K of climbing. At this point I was still feeling pretty fresh, I had an aid station and I had just met Mare-Bear on the trail just below the aid station, she had the gopro and was taking pictures. I took a Banana and pb&j from the aid station was on my way.
After the first aid station you immediately drop back down 3,000 FT, followed by a few miles flat and then the climbing starts again. This section of the race was one of my favorite sections, it was filled with fast flowing single track though waist height wild flowers.
After the mile 22 aid station you are thrown one of the hardest climbs of the race, you basically straight up a black diamond bowl. Throughout the day I heard a lot of people curse the race director, Karl Meltzer, but this hill is where I heard most of it. Seriously who puts this kind of hill 20 miles into a race! After topping out on this climb you are rewarded with spectacular view on the surrounding mountains.
The wheels started falling off for me on the last climb back up the the first aid station. I am not sure what happened, my legs felt fine for having 25 miles on them. Thankfully Mare-Bear was waiting for me at the top of this climb, I was in a pretty bad place mentally until I saw her. She hiked with me the rest of the way up to the last aid station. I took an extended break at this aid station to cool off with a popsicle. In theory the rest of the race should have been a cake walk. This was not the case, the last 5 miles of the race destroyed me mentally. It was mostly downhill, but the little bit of uphill there was was really difficult. There was no real trail, it was a lot of bushwacking, and it seemed to never end. After you finally top out on the last climb and earn you 11,000 feet of climbing you are dumped out on a dirt road that eventually funnels you onto single track back down to where the race started.
This race was a very humbling experience, It was by far the hardest thing physically and mentally I have ever completed.
I want to take a second to thank this beautiful lady for being out there to support me and take photos all day. I would not have finished with out her support leading up to the race and on race day. Its pretty awesome how she turned the race around for me every time I saw her. She took me from a bad place mentally to a place where I knew I could finish the race. Sorry about the sunburn!