Dylan Bowman’s 2016 trail-racing season is underway and he’s giving the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile a shot on Saturday. In this interview, Dylan talks about what he thought of his 2015 of racing, what he learned last year that he’ll apply to racing in the future, and where we might see him race in 2016.
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Dylan Bowman Pre-2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here a couple days before the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. I’m with Dylan Bowman. Good evening.
Dylan Bowman: Good evening. Welcome to my beautiful backyard.
iRunFar: This is your backyard.
Bowman: Yes, it is.
iRunFar: You’re fresh off an airplane this afternoon.
Bowman: Yes, luckily the race this weekend is also nearly in my back yard, so I won’t have to be doing any other traveling. Yeah, I was in Argentina the last week with The North Face—a really, really fun trip. I didn’t have to sacrifice training at all which made it convenient and an awesome opportunity for me. I’m happy to be home. Now I have a few days to rest up and get ready for the race.
iRunFar: Social media made your trip to South America look pretty darn good.
Bowman: Yeah, it was great. We were there just to do some photo shoots and kind of see some of the new gear that’s going to be coming out. I was with Mike Foote and Fernanda Maciel and we got out for some runs together and got to see some really beautiful mountains. Honestly, I can’t wait to go back. It was quite fun. It was great.
iRunFar: A taste of what you can do down there?
Bowman: Yeah, we were in Bariloche which is sort of southwestern Argentina sort of near the border of Chile. Yeah, I had never really heard of the place before they asked me to come. I Google imaged it and…
iRunFar: “Okay, it’s pretty enough.”
Bowman: Yeah, so now I just can’t wait to go back.
iRunFar: It’s 2016. It’s a new racing season.
Bowman: Can you believe it?
iRunFar: Is this your official kickoff?
Bowman: Yeah, for the most part. I did Way Too Cool four to five weeks ago. That was a good shock to the system to sort of see how things were going. I took a longer than normal break after The North Face 50 Mile at the end of last season. I think that longer-than-normal break was something that was really beneficial for me. Going into Way Too Cool, I only had a few good weeks of training, so I was really happy with how that race went. The more and more I do this, the more it seems that I benefit from rest more than I benefit from…
iRunFar: Funny that, huh?
Bowman: Yeah, so I’ve been feeling really good. I’ve got now another four or five weeks of good training in since Way Too Cool, and more important than anything is I’m really excited to race.
iRunFar: Awesome. Last year seemed, as an outsider looking in your year, it seemed like an interesting transitional year for Dylan Bowman. What’s your assessment of your 2015?
Bowman: Yeah, I was talking to Mike Foote about this last week. There were some really high highs and a couple really low lows. I had a few really good races. In fact, three of probably my best races ever happened last season. Then I also put myself in the hospital and dropped out of Western States which was the ultimate goal of the season. So I’d prefer to be more level and more consistent which I think I always have been in my career. I think avoiding those major valleys… that’s kind of what I’m going to try and do this season. I’ve been working with Jason Koop a lot and how we can do that a little bit better, but overall, like I said, I was really happy with how my season went. I think it’s something I can build on going forward. Yeah, I look forward to starting that this weekend.
iRunFar: You sort of centered that explanation on your lows, but you also had some incredible highs. You took second at The North Face last year. That’s a big deal.
Bowman: Yeah, that was great. The race sort of just played out perfectly for me. It was kind of a day where nothing went wrong and a great way to end the season especially after having dropped out of Western States which was the major goal before TNF. It was good for my confidence coming back from a big disappointment to then having a good race again. Earlier in the season I had a couple good races, too, that I was really happy with. So overall, the racing was pretty successful at least outside of Western States. Beyond that, I think I grew as an athlete. I matured. I learned new stuff. For me, I still feel like I’m learning a lot even though I’ve kind of been in the game for a long time. So, there’s a lot more positives came out of last year for me. Yeah, I think I’m still developing as an athlete. I think I can still improve hopefully.
iRunFar: What does 2016 hold for you?
Bowman: I’m still trying to figure that out to be honest. I’m doing this race. I think I’m going to do the Cayuga 50 Mile in New York. Then, I don’t know. I think I might forgo the 100 mile distance for the year. I have a few different schedules that I’m sort of playing around with. At least right now, I’m just doing the Cayuga and then the UltraVasan 90k, Les Templiers, and then The North Face 50 Mile. I want to do UTMB, but this year it seems like it’s going to be nearly impossible for me to train in the appropriate places to get myself ready for it just because I have a lot of other things going on in the summer. That’s kind of how it stands now. We’ll see how it plays out.
iRunFar: Awesome. This weekend, the competition is a competitive field, but it is a different competitive field than the people we’ve seen and the dynamic we’ve seen. There are a lot of fresh feathers that are going to be flapping around this weekend. What do you think about what’s happening with this part of the world’s trail running right now and trail racing?
Bowman: Yeah, it’s something I think about a lot, but to be honest, I haven’t looked at the start list.
iRunFar: “I’m not looking.”
Bowman: No, no, it’s not that. I pulled up the race preview this morning but then still got distracted, so that’s still on my reading list but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m sure it’s going to be very competitive. Beyond four or five names, I don’t know who else is in the field, but I’m sure there are going to be at least 10 guys who can be competitive. For me, at this point in my career, I really want to focus on that kind of racing. This is the kind of race I really want to be successful at. To your point about what’s happening in trail running, it’s kind of hard to find competitive fields to race against at 50 miles especially in North America but really on the global circuit. The sport seems to be getting longer and longer. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but I also like racing six- to eight-hour races.
iRunFar: Go home, sleep in your bed at night, not feeling so terrible the next day…
Bowman: Yeah, and you can just do more racing. I think there’s something to be said for how deep you have to go in 125 to 160k races. That’s still obviously a huge passion of mine is to do those really long vision-quest-style events, but it’s just a matter of picking when and where you expend that energy and training and that you don’t do it too much. I don’t know if that really answers your question. Yeah, the competition, I’m sure, is going to be fierce. I’ll have a look at the start list, I’m sure, in the next 24 hours. I anticipate it will be quick.
iRunFar: Sounds like your year is sort of your tour of 80 to 100k races around the world?
Bowman: For the most part, that’s kind of what I’m thinking about doing. It will allow me to race more, to still go on cool trips and see different parts of the world, and also allow me to avoid going really, really deep this year. Not to say that I won’t race hard and I won’t train hard, but I just turned 30 last week.
iRunFar: Happy birthday.
Bowman: Thank you. And I’ve been doing this since I was 23 years old. Part of me, I feel like a veteran, but I also feel like I just got started. I really want to make sure I can continue to race and compete for several more years. I think approaching this year and taking it a little bit differently… it’s the first time I’m not doing Western States in four years, so I figured why not just do something different? We’ll see. I may end up at UTMB for all I know.
iRunFar: “I couldn’t stay away.”
Bowman: I’ve just sort of been talking through what I’ve been thinking about for the last six or eight months.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you this weekend.
Bowman: Thanks so much.
iRunFar: It will be fun to see you run some shorter races around the world this year.
Bowman: Yeah, thanks, Meghan.