This past Saturday Karl Meltzer and Scott Mason hosted the third annual Speedgoat 50k and with two years of practice these guys have things really dialed in. The course and the volunteers were exception, the weather lovely, and the competition was nothing to sneeze at, either. All in all, folks couldn’t help enjoying themselves, getting their butt kicked by M&M’s sick course, or, most likely, both.
While we only scouted out the first 10 miles of what’s been ratcheted up to close to a true 50k, we have no doubt that this is a sadistic course. Finish line altimeter readings consistently showed the course at right around 11,000(!?) feet of climb. Folks, that’s more than double the climb in all 100 miles of the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler and a mere 3,000′ shy of this past weekend’s Vermont 100. The first climb shots up from the base of Snowbird ski resort at 8,000′ to just over 11,000′ at the top of Hidden Peak just 9 miles into the race. While it’s a 3,000′ climb out of Little Cottonwood Canyon, it seems as if Karl & Co. have runners head up 1,000′, then drop 400′ quite a few times on the way up. There are some nice descents on the course… but there’s also quite a few gnarly ones, including one that required the addition of ropes after a nasty fall last year.
An astute Speedgoat race made a beautiful analogy about Hidden Peak. We forget it. However, the jist was that in the second half of the race runners repeatedly approach Hidden Peak only to be rebuked and sent back down the mountain, away from the summit. Cruel, just plain cruel.
Midway through the race La Sportiva runner Luke Nelson had a minute or so leader over Christian Johnson. Upon leaving the Pacific Mine aid station, the two leaders independently missed a quick right hand turn while each fiddled with a handheld water bottle. Luke and Christian estimated that they lost between 10 and 20 minutes. By the time Luke returned to the course, he’d dropped back to 11th place. Later down the trail, Christian dropped from the race due to the effects of a hard landing before getting lost. That left a race between speedster Eric Storheim and the Rip Van Winkle-esque Jay Aldous. (Jay ran the Wasatch 100 way back 1983(!) and has been seldom seen on the starting line since then. Well, he’s back folks.) The race was close at the top of the final climb up Hidden Peak (mile 27.1) and, given Eric’s speed, surprisingly close at the finish where Eric (6:12:17) edged out Jay (6:14:35) by only two minutes.
In the women’s race, Mandy Hosford led from the gun to win her first 50k in 7:06. (Congrats, Mandy!) Sarah Evans (7:22) and Christina Bauer (7:36) took the other women’s podium spots to take home sweet awarded handmade by ultrarunner Wynn Davis.
We took a bunch of other photos from the course. Check ’em out on Picasa.
While we here at iRunFar.com would like to think that we do a pretty good job at providing you with race information, we realize that others also provide insightful commentary, striking photographs, and captivating video. That’s why we’re providing you with the following high quality info from this year’s Speedgoat 50k:
- Matt Hart snapped some photos out there.
- Hart does video, too. Here’s the start.
- Jared Campbell took some sweet shots of the race. He’s got an extensive Speedgoat album (176 pics!).
- Jared also wrote a short race report with an embedded video.
- Professional photos from Pure Light Images.
I went into Speedgoat nursing my left Achilles. It bothered me for the first time ever on the Tuesday prior to Speedgoat and was significantly worse on Wednesday’s run. In hopes that I’d be better by race day, I logged an easy 5 on Thursday and took a zero day on Friday.
I was determined to limit any further damage to my Achilles during the Speedgoat 50k. That meant walking every uphill and even avoiding aggressive climbing. I heel struck absolutely everything I could so I wouldn’t have to toe off. This worked up to the top of Hidden Peak and I was admittedly pretty psyched crossing the ridge to Mount Baldy. I’d kept my effort way in check and was envisioning how I’d take off the final 10 miles or so. It was not
to be. Barely a half mile down a nice dirt road descent I felt the tale tell “bee stings” on my left Achilles. I immediately shut things down, stopped to take pictures of fellow runners, and walked back to the Hidden Peak aid station where I spent the next few hours.
Prior to Speedgoat I was already considering not running the Leadville 100 in August as I didn’t think my fitness would be where I’d like it for a focus race. Yet another DNF (my third in a row since the Marathon des Sables) and a nagging Achilles further counsel in that direction. I’ll hold off on a decision for a little while longer, but things aren’t looking good for me running Leadville. If I’m out of the race but healthy in time, I’ll still head to Leadville to do some combination of pacing and covering the race.