Dylan Bowman ran a patient race to improve upon his best The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships finish by three places to take second. In the following interview, Dylan talks about how good he felt during almost the entire race, the critical part where he moved up into second place, and where we might see him racing in 2016.
For more on how the race played out, you can read our TNF 50 results article.
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Dylan Bowman Post-2015 The North Face EC 50-Mile Championships Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar with Dylan Bowman after his second-place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. Dylan, nice work out there.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah, thanks a lot.
iRunFar: The way this race normally plays out is there’s a group of 20 guys, then a group of 10 guys, then five guys, two guys, and then one. The top three or five come out of that. That wasn’t the case today.
Bowman: It wasn’t the case today, and it really wasn’t the case last year. Whenever you have an athlete like Sage Canaday or Zach Miller in this case who are more than comfortable taking it out very hard and trying to hold on for the whole day, it strings the field out much earlier. I wasn’t actually all that surprised that it strung out so early. My objective was just to remain within myself, let those guys go, and just hope to have a strong second half.
iRunFar: Did you still feel like you were running fast even though those guys were minutes ahead of you?
Bowman: I felt really good at the beginning. I honestly felt like I was going to have a really good day from the start. Essentially, I felt like I was running fast but within myself. For 50 miles, it’s kind of a tough balance to find, but obviously I know the course really well having done the race the last four years and living on the trails. I think I came in with a good strategy. The race went pretty much perfectly for me.
iRunFar: When during the race did you know or think pretty securely that, I’m getting podium?
Bowman: I came into Stinson in sixth, and I was told I was three-and-a-half minutes down on the group that included Max [King], Tyler Sigl, Ryan Bak, and Jorge Maravilla. I caught a glimpse of Jorge as we were climbing Dipsea, and I caught him just before we got to Cardiac. Then I caught Bak, Sigl, and Max in succession right as we got into Muir Woods. All of a sudden I was in second place, and I felt great. I was climbing really, really well. I made up more than three minutes on the climb to Cardiac. I probably put a couple minutes…
iRunFar: Which is at mile 30.
Bowman: Yeah. Then I definitely put a couple minutes into the guys after I passed them going up the Lost Trail about mile 34 or so. At that point I got a split that Zach was only three minutes up. I thought, Game time. As soon as I got to Muir Beach, I was told it was closer to eight minutes. It seemed insurmountable at that time. I didn’t have much acceleration left in the legs, but I’m super happy.
iRunFar: At that point, you’re a couple miles out still and you know you have eight minutes to the win. Do you back off and be conservative, or do you…?
Bowman: I checked my shoulder a couple of times, and I was pretty sure… especially because the guys I’d passed had gone out so hard and I was able to pass them, I didn’t think they were going to be able to catch back up to me. If anything I thought maybe somebody behind me may be closing in. But again, I felt really good pretty much the whole day. Maybe 20 minutes of the day I had a little bit of a low point, but I was able to get through it quick. I was actually really surprised with my fitness. I was mentally engaged the whole time which is probably more important than fitness.
iRunFar: The mental side is so important, and when I interviewed you before the race, aside from what you were saying on camera, you could just tell when somebody is amped up and feeling really confident, and that wasn’t your demeanor—not that you’re overconfident as a person, but you can just tell when somebody thinks it’s there.
Bowman: As I said to you in that interview, I usually have a good feeling about how my race is going to go before the race. Really, I didn’t know. Part of me thought it wasn’t going to go very well. I felt like I didn’t really work as hard in training. It turns out that was really a good thing to not work as hard in training and show up a bit more fresh, a bit more mentally engaged, and still riding some fitness that I’ve been able to carry from the huge training I did earlier in the year. But like I said, early in the race I felt good. I had the energy. I had the legs. At that point, it was a matter of racing smart, and that meant not trying to hang onto Zach’s group. It paid off.
iRunFar: It definitely did pay off—$4,000 worth. Not a bad day. That wraps up this season. Do you have anything you’re dreaming about for next year?
Bowman: Right now, it’s still very much up in the air. I think it’s time that I go UTMB. If I do that, I’m going to prepare in a way in which I’ll be giving myself a good opportunity to succeed there. I can’t really do that from here in Mill Valley. If I do that, I’ll probably go to Colorado for most of the summer and train. I have a lot weddings and things next year that are taking up a lot of the calendar. I really want to sort of put all my eggs in that basket. I’ll do other races, but that’s going to be the focus if indeed it ends up on the calendar. Right now that’s the plan, but it’s still very much up in the air.
iRunFar: I look forward to seeing you out on the trails next year. Congratulations on your second place.