Logan Peak trail run. I love this race. Last year it was my first official trail race and I was lucky enough to win it, followed by a win at Mid Mountain marathon. I knew the competition was going to be stiff today- Ty Draney (Bear 100 winner), Karl Jarvis (beat me by 5 minutes at Wahsatch 2 weeks ago), Cody, Leland- all would be there. There was further surprise when the amazing Corbin Talley showed up, as well. There were 78 starters, versus 40 last year. Given the crowd and big names, I gave myself less than a 5% chance of winning, and was thinking even a top 3 finish would be amazing. But somehow, I was lucky enough to win and am still undefeated at marathon or longer trail races.
This is a great, great race- 28 miles, 7200 feet climb, 7200 feet descent (my garmin said 8800 ft, sporttracks of the garmin said 7100 ft, so close to Paul's map). Weather was good- 50 at the start, sunny, just a bit hot by the finish. It starts off with a bang, climbing over 3000 ft in the first 5 miles to aid station 1. We went out in a pack of 6, with Ty and Corbin in the lead, Cody right behind, and Karl, myself, and Nick (a guy I just met from Logan) a few seconds back. Not too fast of a pace- splits were 9:09, 10:55, 15:33, 15:55, 15:34 (inc. aid station).
After aid 1, Nick quickly disappeared and the remaining 5 of us had a very enjoyable, talkative, fluid pack for the next 12 miles or so. The trail drops about 1000 ft as it circles the South Syncline trail, then climbs back to Aid station 2 just past mile 10. We started hitting the snow (more like ice), and Ty almost slid down a chute, but managed to stop and served as warning to the rest of us. Great trail through this section. Splits were 9:56, 7:23, 8:09, 12:00, 11:08.
Last year the lead pack split up here, but we kept our group together as we ran the final 1500 feet up to the 9700 ft summit of Logan Peak. There was less snow than last year, and the only bad spot was some about 1/3 mile that was covered with very, very icy snow. Several of us fell (myself included- I slid about 30 yds down before I stopped). We reached the summit in a big pack, with Corbin snapping pictures on his cell phone. We took about 2 minutes at the top, taking pictures, enjoying the view, and answering nature's call. Very nice to be able to enjoy the view rather than immediately turning around like I did last year. This was a great group of guys to be running with- relaxed, nice guys who appreciated what we had done and wanted to enjoy ourselves at the top. We knew there was still plenty of time for the race. Splits were 11:10, 11:02, 15:19 (inc. 2 minutes at the top). Time to summit was about 2:42, which is about 9 minutes faster than last year despite not pushing the pace. Feeling good.
I thought we would split up on the downhill but didn't quite yet. However, Corbin and Ty got stuck at the bottom of a steep ice hill that took several minutes to claw up, so the other 3 of us went easy for a mile to let them catch up. Karl twisted his ankle pretty badly during this stretch, but kept on trucking. We ran down the ridge back to Aid 2 (which had now morphed into Aid 3), which gives a nice chance to see the people behind and cheer them on. Times to Aid 3 were 11:01, 8:08, 8:04.
At this point, we climb a few miles on some jeep trail before jumping onto the North Syncline and its amazing views of Logan canyon. I stuck some snow under my hat and was very glad for the slow trickle of water down my back. About 2 miles past Aid 3, I finally decided that my only chance at top 3 was to put some distance on the group, so I threw down the hammer. I was also worried cause I made 4-number 2 pit stops in the last 10 miles last year and was feeling a bit of rumblings today, but managed to avoid any stops. I pushed very hard on the singletrack and we dropped Karl, but Ty, Corbin, and Cody hung within 30 to 60 seconds of me. I felt great during this stretch (mile 17-20) and really enjoyed it. I only wish I could stop to revel in the amazing canyon overlooks. At about mile 20 I hit a bit of a rough patch and Ty closed to within about 15 seconds of me, but I pushed the downhills and maintained the lead. This stretch is very rolling with some great downhill singletrack, but also multiple 200-500 foot climbs. Ugh, just enough to really sap your legs. But, I pushed very, very hard, dodged around and ticked off some horse riders, and managed to have about 30 seconds on Ty when we reached Aid 4 (previously known as Aid 1) at the top of Dry Canyon. Splits were 11:22, 7:47, 6:33 (wow), 8:27, 11:42, 8:12. But Ty loomed and Corbin (he of 14:15 5k speed) could never be counted out. And Cody was running extremely strong, as well.
I filled my bottle halfway full at the aid and tore down the trail, not wanting to give up any ground to Ty and company. I did a lot better than normal on the technical downhill- last year I averaged 6:50's down the canyon, this year 3 of my last 4 miles were 6:00 or 6:01, with stretches of sub-5:30. Despite this, Ty gained on me and closed to within 5 seconds with 2 miles to go. If he had blown by me, I don't know if I could have matched him. But, I focused on speed and stretching my stride and held him off despite ever increasing screams of protest from my legs and back. The downhill never seemed to end. When we reached the mouth of the canyon, I was about 15 seconds up on him and actually believed for the first time that I might pull this out. The last mile has 3 very steep and painfull uphills on Deer Fence trail, a few downs, then the last half miles is down a steep paved road and finally flat. I didn't want Ty catching me, so I ran hard on the uphills. Apparently, he decided to walk them, but I wasn't letting up. Finally reached the road, which was just misery. The last 1/4 mile is on flat pavement that seemed to make the finish line grow further away with each step. With a push up one last grassy hill, I finished in 4:26:29- 25 minutes faster than my course record time last year! Ty and Corbin finished within 2 minutes, and I was very happy to see Cody break 4:30. He ran out of his mind despite some pancake-sized blisters on his heels. I think about 8 guys or so broke the old course record.
The finish area was great- lots of food and nice people, and it was very fun to cheer for all the finishers. Everyone did awesome, including FRB-ers Twinkie, Ultrajim, and Maurine. A few of us soaked in the freezing Logan River for about 10 minutes, which was glorious for the legs. I had only one big blister under a big toe that popped, but Cody has some nasty heel blisters. Marci and the kids stayed all 4 hours till the awards, and my girls loved playing and walking around looking at everyone, while I enjoyed chatting with and getting to know everyone a bit better. Trail racers are all so nice.
Overall, this is a great, great race. Bruce does a nice job with course selection, marking, and very well-stocked aid stations. I highly recommend this race to everyone.
I'm obviously pleased yet surprised with my time. 25 minutes faster than last year is stunning to me- I would say ~5 minutes faster due to less snow, but the rest was just luck, I guess. This is the first race this year where I was really happy with how I did. Now time to help the legs recover and ramp up the mileage for a while before some more trail races and maybe TOU marathon, with an ultimate goal of Rocky Raccoon 100 and Bear 100 next year.
Sorry for the long post, to anyone who actually reads this (nobody, maybe?). Just some good memories of a fun race that I want to remember for myself.