Bear 100 race day. Worked the Leatham Hollow aid station (mile 19.6) with Cody, Paul, and families in the morning. Lots of fun to help the runners and see them early in the race. Later in the afternoon, I drove to Temple Fork aid station (mile 45.1) to meet and pace Davy Crockett. He arrived right on time per his schedule at 4:15 pm, and, after working a bit on a very nasty blister, we were off. Davy had set an ambitious goal of 27:30 for the race, more than 3 hours faster than last year. This was my first time every pacing a trail race, so I was hoping to learn a lot from the very experienced Davy about 100's while also helping push him.
It was rather hot and most of the runners were dehydrated when the arrived at TF, including Davy. Within a mile after leaving his stomach rejected everything in it, which I think actually made him feel a bit better. He kept everything down the rest of the way. The first leg had 4000 ft climbing to Tony Grove. It was a beautiful leg with lots of aspen trees. It went well and we pulled into Tony Grove right on time just before 6:30 pm (mile 51.8). He worked on his foot for a while and we got our night gear on. I talked to a few guys here, including John Wheelwright, who I know from Logan Peak race. Also saw Brian Beckstead and a big group with him around here- he was going a bit easy today so had lots of energy and was bouncing around.
The climb out of Tony Grove went well (including some gorgeous views), and Davy decided to really push himself on the decent into White Pine. He had me run ahead and we absolutely blasted down the trail- we were cruising and blew by several people, including the first place woman. He had fallen earlier and banged his quad, and it really pained him on decents, but he did awesome at ignoring it. It got dark just as we reached Bunchgrass trail, which is generally a very nice trail to run down and we kept leapfrogging a number of runners. At this point, we noticed the moon was just setting in the west and commented on it.
It is a long stretch to Franklin Basin- 9.7 miles. The last few miles were real tough for Davy- he kept twisting his ankles, particularly his right one. And the blister on his right heel kept getting worse and worse. But he toughed it out and we arrived at the Franklin aid station well ahead of schedule. The station was hosted by Striders and had tons of great volunteer and was very energetic. This was the first station with Davy's crew, Jerry and Brad, who were waiting for him with a Wendy's hamburger. They worked on his foot for a while and Davy really struggled to get his shoe back on, he was in so much pain. I ate some food and took some sodium tablets to calm my quads. But eventually Davy was set, someone pointed us in the right direction, and we were off at 9:08 pm (22 min ahead of schedule). This next leg was very tough- the first 3 miles were steep climbing. We grunted our way up, but noticed the moon was still visible but kept appearing from different directions. The hill seemed to go on forever. Eventually we reached some rocky downhill and Davy struggled with his foot, but he pushed hard and kept a great pace. On this whole 2.5 hour leg, we did not see a single person, though the moon kept us company from all sides. We reached the road at Steep Hollow and descended to the Logan River aid station (mile 68.8). This was probably my favorite aid station- they cheered us in, had lots of food, lots of happy volunteers, and even warm towels for washing. After a quick stop, we were off at 11:46 pm (14 minutes ahead of schedule).
We ran down a road, then crossed the Logan River. Davy dislikes roads, but picked up the pace again once we hit singletrack. This leg was Davy's toughest last year- he was cold and tired and he commented on how hard the climb was. This year, though, it went better- the climb was not near as steep as after Franklin, in general, though there was a very chilly breeze. Again, we didn't see anyone for several hours- meaning we ran almost 5 hours without seeing any runners. After a long climb, we reached the summit and started a very rocky, long descent. Davy's foot was extremely painful but he ran well, though several people passed us. He was inspiring to me with how tough he was. Our oft-repeated motto was "Don't Be Lazy!" and he wasn't. He pushed hard and we reached the Beaver Mtn aid station (mile 75.8) exactly at his goal time of 2:15 am. After a change of shoes, he and Brad were off.
My journey with Davy ended at this point. I drove home and was in bed by 4 am. But watching him run was inspiring and amazing, and a privilege to be able to share in. I was tired and could hardly imagine how he felt after doing 45 miles more than me, especially with his foot problems and quad bruise. Thanks for letting me tag along, Davy. It was a wonderful.
Today had a number of firsts for me- it was my first time running an extended period at night, it was my longest run ever (32 miles with warmup), and the 10 hours were twice as long as I had ever run before. I am definitely tired and sore, but happy.
As part of pacing, I was testing out all my gear for my upcoming ultra races and learning the Bear course. My shoes and socks worked great, with no blisters or hot spots. My clothes at night were adequate, though I will take an extra layer next time for the cold and wind. My lighting system (PT Yukon headlamp on my head, Petzl Tikka XP around my waist) worked swimmingly. The Yukon provided distant views, while the Tikka provided dimension so I could see rocks. I kept the Tikka on low when moving uphill or slowly, and on high when running fast or over technical terrain. I may replace the Yukon with a Petzl Myo RXP so I can have multiple settings- the low was a bit too low, and the high was good but rarely used, and a medium setting would have been good. But it was definitely adequate. I had 2 handheld bottles and a vest with pockets for my food and backup water/clothes. All in all, my gear passed the test. This run today helps me gain a new respect for 100 mile races while also helping me prepare by testing my gear and myself. Bear 2010, here I come!