I had stayed in Sheridan post Bighorn until Thursday night and arrived in time to get some sleep and make it to the packet pickup around 10am. I got to meet co-rd Chris Stores and Debbie Phillips the wife of co-rd Ryan Phillips here. I got some of my questions about the course answered by Chris and was charmed by Debbie's contagious smile. Ryan and Chris conducted the race briefing at 4pm and a pasta feed started not too long after the briefing. Everything was well organized and I felt good about keeping on course and knowing what to expect out on the course. Saw lots of friends including Beth Simpson and Larry Hall, Olga V and Larry King, Mike Smith, Dennis Drey, Patrick from Bighorn, Alan Holz and probably more that I don't remember. The big concern for the race seemed to be the heat.
My biggest concern was my feet. I had a terrible time with blisters at Bighorn and I still had two decent sized holes in my heels, one of which was still very tender. The ball of my left foot was also still tender. I came up with a taping strategy and hoped for the best. Starting the race I was really worried as I could feel several different areas of .... discomfort.
The start and finish of the race is at a newly resurfaced track called Woodle field right in Sturgis. It's a great place to stage the race from with a plenty of parking, a concession stand type building, and plenty of room for post race festivities. Here's some pics from the start:
|Dennis Drey and Mike Smith. 100 mile afficianados discussing the finer points of running insane distances.|
|Larry Hall's head and the start/finish line.|
|Co-RD Chris giving some last minute instructions.|
One very cool thing that they did at the start was to invite Billy Good Voice Elk, a local member of the Lakota tribe, to say some words and send us off with a traditional Native American song/prayer. Thank you for you kind and inspirational words!
|Billy Good Voice Elk|
|The first 300 yards of the race. 100 mile, 50 mile and 100k runners all started together.|
Some pics from the "first half":
|A very early climb. Once again I find myself near the back of the pack.|
|Dennis Drey showing the efficient stride that has brought him around the Hardrock course 8 times.|
|One of the hills that seemed much longer and harder on Sunday.|
|Sweet. Many of the hills returning to town in the last 15 miles have steep ups and cruiser downs.|
|I believe this aid station was either Alkali Creek or Elk Creek.|
|One of the 100's of carsonite signs that we followed.|
|Allan Holz and a blaze. The course follows the Centennial Trail (a NRT) which is number 89, hence the "Cruising the 89" from the race website.|
|A scenic highpoint.|
The second half of the course from Dalton Lakes to the turnaround in Silver City is very different from the first. Here too there were sections of sweet single track but the character of this section is defined by double track that is more or less torn up by ATVs. I didn't get too many pictures of this section probably because the trails weren't so pretty. I did capture some of the character of the trail here but there were miles long sections of trail that were WAY worse than any of these pics show.
|I believe this shot is on a long climb up out of Dalton Lakes where the "open to motor vehicles" section starts.|
|There was lots of this kind of stuff.|
Once again, cudos to race management and all the volunteers out on the course. The event was well organized, well executed and everything was done necessary to get us to the finish. There was food and beer at the finish line. Yay! Many people had already left when I got in at just under 31 hours but there was still plenty of tacos and some beer. Thanks to Ryan, Debbie, Chris and everyone else who helped out last weekend.
Liz had a great time doing the Great New York 100 mile finishing just over 24 hours. I'll post a report if she writes one.
Race count: Liz (18) Scott (13)