With his win at the 2014 Sean O’Brien 50 Mile, Dylan Bowman pretty much cemented the fact that he races really well in southern California. In the following interview, DBo talks about how the first half of the race played out for him and the other guys up front, and when and how he made his break for the win. He also goes all SportsCenter on us to talk about how he thinks his favorite team might do in the Super Bowl. (Sorry about that game, DBo.)
For more on the race, you can read our 2014 Sean O’Brien 50 Mile results article.
Dylan Bowman, 2014 Sean O’Brien 50 Mile Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Dylan Bowman after his win at the inaugural Sean O’Brien 50 Mile. Of course you kind of won this race last year as the Ray Miller 50/50k. You’re undefeated in SoCal, right? Leona Divide the year before that?
Dylan Bowman: Man, I don’t know what it is, but I love racing down here. I think all the courses sort of play into my strengths. I’m super happy.
iRunFar: So what is it? How do you group these types of courses together? What’s the characteristic?
Bowman: I think I probably like do well in sort of the dry heat from my life in Colorado. It’s all runnable which is something that I think I do well at. In other words, I think I struggle in races that require a lot of hiking. I mean, the course today was tougher than I really even thought it would be. That said, it was pretty much all runnable, but who knows, I just seem to have good luck down here in SoCal.
iRunFar: Now you live in Marin up in northern California. On a superficial level, it seemed like very similar type of trail—a lot of rolling, fire road-y…
Bowman: Yeah, I was actually thinking about that during the race, during the climbs, thinking, Okay, this is 1300 feet—thinking about climbs I could compare it to.
Bowman: Exactly. It is similar in a lot of respects and it’s kind of similar to a lot of the running I did in Colorado, too, but like I said, I think I just do well on those types of courses.
iRunFar: Were you shooting for a top performance today? It’s early for the season and you already have a spot in Western States.
Bowman: I certainly wanted to win, yeah. I feel like I did a lot of really good training between TNF[EC50] and now and came in ready for a good one. I put all the pieces together on race day which is always the toughest part. I certainly did have high hopes going into the race, but I’m sort of surprised with the result.
iRunFar: You were always sort of in the mix in the race today. You were a couple minutes back early on. When did you really dial into that lead group?
Bowman: The race went out fairly conservative, but [Mike] Aish and [Chris] Vargo had a little bit of a gap. I fell in with Josh Arthur and we ran together for a long time and we caught Aish and Vargo on that long descent down to that lollipop loop out there in Malibu. So we ran as a foursome for a couple of miles, then leaving that aid station Josh dropped off. I’m not sure what happened to him, but then it was just Aish, Vargo, and I up those two big climbs up to the ridge. We got back up to the top of the ridge at that aid station at mile 31, and you still have 500-foot to climb out of there over 1.5 miles or something. I got through the aid station five seconds faster than they did and put in a tiny surge. I looked over my shoulder like two minutes later and had like probably a minute. I figured just go for it now rather than waiting for them to catch up and trying to go for it later. So I hit the gas at the top of the hill there and just bombed down back onto the singletrack and didn’t look back.
iRunFar: Mile 38 you had almost five minutes on Aish, and you didn’t know Vargo was out. No one did. Running confident? Did you feel like you were sort of in control?
Bowman: I was pushing certainly. When you make a move like that you have to sort of commit. It’s rare for me to really do that in races or that I’m in the position where I need to. But I was definitely running near my sort of threshold where it was comfortable. I sort of knew in the back of my mind that I could hold the pace that I was running. It was just a matter of just getting it done at the end.
iRunFar: I’m assuming you already had Western States on your schedule again for this year as you were already in before today. Does it give you an extra sort of bit of confidence to maybe be more aggressive or to go for… if you’re in the position mid-race…?
Bowman: Yeah, you know I think about Western States so much. I think, in 2012, I think I was way too aggressive. I think last year I was a little bit too conservative. Hopefully this year I’ll find a middle ground there where I can put myself in the mix but not to the detriment of the later stages of the race. It’s definitely on my schedule, and I’ll keep going back there until I nail one for sure.
iRunFar: What else do you have on your schedule this first half of the season?
Bowman: Well, I got an invite to Transgrancanaria which is a month from today. I don’t really recover as well as most guys, I think. But that’s, I guess, the next plan. Between that and Western, I’ll do something—what, I’m not sure yet. Of course, at the end of the summer the goal is UTMB. Western and UTMB are the main focuses.
iRunFar: The two big 100s—awesome. What kicks were you wearing today?
Bowman: I was wearing the N2 today—the Pearl Izumi Trail N2 It’s my standard, go-to Pearl shoe. It’s perfect for me as a bigger guy. Talking to Vargo and [Mike] Wolfe wearing their small shoes—I just can’t do that and especially with all the hills out here.
iRunFar: Do you like the cushion and the bit of midsole?
Bowman: It’s a 10-ounce shoe or something and it certainly doesn’t feel heavy. I just love that shoe. It gets me through pretty much every distance.
iRunFar: Great job out there today and best of luck for the rest of your season.
Bowman: Appreciate it.
iRunFar: Can’t let you get away yet. Bonus question for you: tomorrow there’s a football game going on. I’m assuming you’re picking the Broncos for the win but by how much? What’s the game look like?
Bowman: Well, you never bet on your team. That’s the first rule of gambling, but I have a very good feeling about the Denver Broncos. We haven’t been to the Super Bowl in 15 years, but I remember distinctly the feeling I had before the last time we went to the Super Bowl and beat the Atlanta Falcons rather easily. I’ve got that same feeling this year. I’m very confident in my team and Peyton Manning.