Lakeside Update on Kilian’s Tahoe Rim Trail Run [Update: 9/30 12 am]

Please forgive me, but I can’t help but post once more about Kilian Jornet’s Tahoe Rim Trail before it kicks […]

By on September 27, 2009 | Comments

Kilians Quest SalomonPlease forgive me, but I can’t help but post once more about Kilian Jornet’s Tahoe Rim Trail before it kicks off at 5 a.m. Pacific Time Monday morning. The Salomon crew is assembled in Tahoe City, the pacing sections are assigned, and Kilian is (hopefully) getting his final hours of sleep until Tuesday night. I’m going to provide a quick update regarding coverage, pacing, and weather before getting some shut eye. I’m the lucky man who gets to take Mr. Jornet out of the gate. I must admit, I’m a bit nervous!

[Update 9/30 12 a.m. PDT: I’ve posted one last set of photos in the Facebook photo album.]

[Update 9/29 8 p.m. PDT: Kilian Jornet becomes the 967 member of the Tahoe Rim Trail 165 mile club by covering the entire trail in 38:32. This establishes a new fastest known time by 7 hours and 26 minutes. Congratulations, Kilian! More photos are up, too!]

[Update 9/29 11 a.m. PDT: Brief narrative update below the fold. I’ve also posted photos of the journey in a Facebook album.]

[Update 9/28 12 p.m. PDT: Time updates added to pacer chart below.]

Our previous post on Kilian’s run included a more detailed discussion of the weather, Kilian’s projected splits, and some commentary.

[Update 9/30 11 a.m. PDT] Kilian continues to push on. He was 2 hours ahead of his 40 hour schedule when he pulled into the Kingsbury South Trailhead just before 6 p.m. local time last night. He’d covered 76 miles (122 kms) in 13 hours. I ran the previous section with him and he while he had slowed down from his early pace, he was still moving very well. We made the 5 miles, 1,600′ climb out of Spooner Summit in just over an hour. He cruised the flats and downhills. He was in good spirits throughout.

Kilian took a 45 minute break at Kingsbury to rest, have a blister treated, and eat some tortellini. Ross took Jornet out of Kingsbury. The most interesting occurrence during their long stretch together were a set of eyes watching them in the night.

Sean Meissner joined Kilian on the run from Big Meadows to Echo Lake. They got lost for an hour and a quarter. They also had serious lighting issues. The batteries had not been replaced in Kilian’s light and the super bright light Sean borrowed from me unexpectedly died. For long stretches, the two used a single light – alternating between Kilian’s low battery light and Sean’s backup.

Reports are that Kilian is moving very well at the moment. We are thinking that he’ll arrive at Barker Pass not long after 2 this afternoon. That’s about 3 hours ahead of schedule even with the time spent lost. He could finish in daylight today.

The two best ways to follow Kilian the next few days will be at and on Twitter. Salomon Running has a map on which you can follow Kilian live. On Twitter follow @iRunFar, @Salomon_Running, and @SalomonSports for more narrative updates. (We declare #KJTRT to be the Twitter hash for the event.) A final place to check will be Facebook. We’ll post updates to iRunFar’s Facebook page when we get a chance and know that Salomon Running’s Facebook page will be frequently updated.

There was a enjoyable lakeside meeting tonight in which everyone received a general briefing, introductions were made, and folks got down to the business of hashing out the pacing assignments. Here’s what things look like at the moment. Obviously things are likely to change.

  • Start – (5 a.m. PDT Monday)Kilian Jornet Tahoe Rim Trail map miles
    • Bryon Powell leads off for a short stroll to Painted Rock [Actual splits: 6:28 a.m. in; 6:31 out]
    • Jean-Michel Faure Vincent takes over at Painted Rock and brings Kilian to Brockway Summit
  • Brockway Summit (19 miles/32kms) – 2:45 elapsed (7:45 a.m. PDT Monday) [Actual splits: 8:04 in; 8:06 out]
    • Sean Miessner guides Kilian to Rifle Peak
    • Josh Korn then leads Jornet to Tahoe Meadows
  • Tahoe Meadows (38 miles/61kms) – 6:00 elapsed (11 a.m. PDT Monday) [Actual splits: 11:08 a.m. in; 11:13 out – at this point Meissner is making frantic pacer calls after going missing on us]
    • Adam Chase gets the section out of Tahoe Meadows
    • Kevin Johnson is up next at Tunnel Creek Road
  • Spooner Summit (60 miles/96kms) 10:00 elapsed (3 p.m. PDT Monday)
    • Bryon gets the first long pull with Kilian from Spooner to Kingsbury
  • Kingsbury South (76 miles/122kms) – 15:00 elapsed (8 p.m. PDT Monday)
    • Ross McMahan might have the longest unbroken stretch with Kilian en route to Big Meadow
  • Big Meadow (99 miles/160kms) – 21:00 elapsed (2 a.m. PDT Tuesday)
    • Sean gets a secord pacing gig just two days after winning the Lake Tahoe Marathon
  • Echo Lake (118 miles/190kms) – 25:00 elapsed (6 a.m. PDT Tuesday)
    • Jean-Michel is back. He’s actually on duty to Barker Pass, but should be relieved at Dicks Pass
  • Dicks Pass (129 miles/208kms) – 30:oo elapsed (11 a.m. PDT Tuesday)
    • Adam should make the 45 minute trek in to begin pacing and give Jean-Michelle a break.
  • Barker Pass (148 miles/238kms) – 36:00 elapsed (5 p.m. PDT Tuesday)
    • American KJ or Josh will get Catalan KJ over to Ward Creek
    • Some combination of Adam, Sean, and Bryon (likely Adam) will bring Kilian in
  • Finish (165 miles/265 kms) – 40:00 elapsed (9 p.m. PDT Tuesday)
Kilian Jornet Adam Chase Tahoe Rim TrailKilian Jornet and Adam Chase pouring over the Tahoe Rim Trail map

We previously discussed some of the pacers. Since then, Jean-Michel Faure Vincent of Salomon HQ has been confirmed as another pacer. Kilian’s seventh pacer didn’t mount up and join the Quest until this afternoon. We’re talking about Montrail’s Sean Miessner, who didn’t want to miss out on the fun after winning the Lake Tahoe Marathon Sunday morning. We’ve posted a bunch of pictures from today’s pacer meeting in our Kilian Jornet Tahoe Rim Trail run Facebook album.

Kilian Jornet Adam Chase Tahoe Rim TrailKilian, a French dude (?), and Adam listening intently to someone

For more on what Kilian’s pacers might be thinking, take look at Adam Chase’s Six-Hours, Seven Pacers, 165 Good Luck Miles. [Broken link to Salomon Running US article removed].

Cool and downright cold weather should predominate our run around Lake Tahoe the next two days. Monday’s high (70F/21C) will be mild. Monday’s low will only be a moderate 43F/6C), but that might feel much cooler as an intense weather front passes through. There should be little precipitation, but much wind. The US National Weather Service writes:


Tuesday will be much cooler with a high of only 53F/12C and temperatures at even the lowest (and warmest) elevations dropping to 29F/-2C. The chance of precipitation, whether rain or snow, also picks up to 20% on Tuesday.

Salomon Relax Kilian Jornet Tahoe Rim TrailKilian Jornet and his Salomon Relax before tacking the splash
Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.