We caught up with Dave Mackey defending champion the day before the 2012 Bandera 100k. In the interview, Mackey talks about the Bandera course, the draw of USATF championships, who’ll be his biggest competition at the race, and who his competition might be for the 2011 Ultrarunner of the year.
Dave Mackey, 2012 Bandera 100k Pre-Race Interview Transcript
iRunFar: You’re the Bandera defending champion and the USATF Trail 100k Champion.
Dave Mackey: So it seems. Yes, if that means something, so I am.
iRF: It must mean something to you. You seem to run a bunch of these USATF races. What does being 100k Trail Champion mean to you?
Mackey: It usually means a few more of the faster guys will show up which is the primary reason to go to one of the races. There’s a little bit of prize money, which is nice, and usually it’s in a cool location. USATF has their standard with their races, so you know you’re usually going to get a good event and good competition. Some races you don’t get as good of competition. Last year was pretty good. This year it’s really stacked. It will be a good challenge.
iRF: What is this course like? A two-lap 100k course?
Mackey: Yes, two 50k laps. The first third is pretty technical, the middle third is pretty fast, and the last third is pretty technical, too. Overall, you can get some good leg turnover. But when you’re not, you’re kind of in rocky, rutted canyons and baby head rocks, limestone sharp rocks. It’s pretty technical overall when you’re not doing this sort of flat, fast burns through the middle section, you’re definitely going up and down pretty often. There are some pretty good climbs and it adds up. I don’t know what the total vert is but you get 500-foot climbs all the time. It’s pretty good, pretty technical singletrack.
iRF: So even though there’s no high elevation and no big mountains around us these hills add up.
Mackey: Yes, there’s one 600 foot hill right there and that’s as big as it gets.
iRF: What do you think about having course knowledge either just the feel for it or the technicality of it? I ran a few miles of it today and the course is very well marked but if you’re looking around it’s not obvious… the line… there might be two or three paths in one section.
Mackey: Yeah, I was telling my friend Charles when we were driving it, you’ve got to pick some lines. You might lose one second if you go one way or one second if you go the other way but you always end up in the same place. It’s just like a little blurb around a hump of rocks or grass or something. It doesn’t make a big difference. So you go around the first loop, and then you’ve seen the course. So the next time you might take little variations, but course knowledge won’t help out much at all.
Overall, it will help out with pacing. I know what I did last year, and I know this year I want to run it slightly differently. In that experience course knowledge helps a lot. Knowing where that middle fast section is and knowing where the technical sections are might help a little bit, but anyone can onsight this course and do really well.
iRF: Who do you think is going to be out there pushing you the most tomorrow?
Mackey: Just go to iRunFar.com and they’ll highlight it for you. Nick [Clark] is solid, he won it two years ago. I think it was pretty cold two years ago, but I’m sure he’s going to do faster tomorrow. Tim Olson is obviously super fast. Jason Schlarb. Dave James who was second last year, he goes out aggressively. He’ll be going out really fast I’m sure, he always does. Joe Uhan is here. Todd Braje is coming, is that right? Who am I missing? Oh yeah, Yassine (Diboun). Justin Ricks, oh yeah, he’s a really interesting one. He’s set some really fast times in Colorado a few years ago and then he kind of fell off. But it’s good to see him back in it.
iRF: Do you think you can run faster than last year?
Mackey: I’m probably 10 minutes slower right now but hopefully I’m 15 minutes smarter. I don’t know, we’ll see if I can run a little bit faster. It could be by the nature of the competition I might be able to go a little bit faster if I get sucked along in it. I might be faster, but I doubt it. I don’t have the training base that I did last year.
iRF: Busy with school?
Mackey: School and life, I guess.
iRF: It is the beginning of 2012 and it’s the time people are looking back at 2011. Rumor has it that today was the day that Ultrarunning magazine Ultrarunner of the Year ballots were due. Your name was obviously in the mix. Who besides yourself would you have picked for men’s Ultrarunner of the Year?
Mackey: If I had a choice it would be the people who have been listed numerous times: Nick [Clark], Mike Wolfe, Mike Wardian and for the girls you’ve got Ellie Greenwood who’s hard to top and Kami [Semick]. Probably those four guys. I’d go with them. You never know who could pop in there. David Riddle ran an awesome JFK 50 mile and dominated the 50k scene and that didn’t mean much as far as Ultrarunner of the Year which is fine, it’s a different distance. So yeah, those four guys probably.
iRF: No one standing above the rest?
Mackey: I don’t know who I’d pick. Of course I’d vote for me, but, I don’t know. That’s a tough call. Everyone’s got their different specialties. Mike Wardian dominates the roads. Nick’s the 100-mile guy. I’m somewhere in between on the dirt. So yeah, hard to say.
iRF: It’s going to be a beautiful day here tomorrow so enjoy the trails!