Thursday, June 23, 2011

San Juan Solstice 50 Mile - 2011

Brad's Race Report...   So how do you follow up a tough Kettle 100?........You head out to Lake City, Colorado and do a 50 mile mountain run, that’s how. With 4 days of hiking and hanging out at the Mocha Mouse and Packer Saloon, that’s right the “Packer” Saloon. Not named after the Green Bay Packers but filled with Green Bay stuff since the owners are from the LaCrosse area. We were ready to hit the mountains.

Because of high snow levels, dangerous stream, now river crossings and miles of post-holing the race organizers were forced to alter the course.  We weren’t going to go up as high in altitude but we were going to get to do a lot of climbing no the less.  The start in Lake City at 8670 ft. topping out at 12,193 ft. at the highest peak.

The race got underway; at 5 a.m. with about a mile of road through town we hit the Waterdog trail and started the 4 mile climb to Vickers Ranch. Let the heavy breathing begin. The climb went well, the race was still pretty clumped together so I went up with plenty of company.  Coming down from Vickers is where it get it gets interesting, so soon in the race. I followed the obvious trail but a little ways into it, it didn’t seem right. My suspicions were correct when I saw about 20 people coming down the trail towards me.  Turned back down the trail and got back on track. Luckily it wasn’t a lot of time lost.
Going the correct way we got into some nice single track for maybe a ½ hour trucking along and again I’m stopped because a group of people are standing there and coming back up the trail. AGAIN we missed a marker someplace. Back up the hill and to the spot that we missed. Again only a few minutes lost. Just had to regroup and not push it to make up lost time. I can see missing a marker if you’re following one or two people but when you’re behind 20 people, how can you do that. Oh well.

Because of the reroute we had to hit a long road section. Some Hwy, gravel road and jeep road. Funny how the flattest section of a mountain run can be the hardest. Even though it was road we still had some incredible views. Running along a raging river and then running around Lake San Cristobal with a view of the mountains in the background. Pretty sweet. A bit more road and then finally back to single track and the longest climb of the day to over 12,100 ft.

Not sure but I think it was a 6 mile climb to the peak.  Still moving along well I finally reached the peak, 12,193 ft. This for me was a huge boost. Coming from Wisconsin and being able to run above tree line was a huge rush. You couldn’t slap the smile off my face. Feeling good and actually catching people I reached the mile 33 aid station.
Seven miles to the next aid. Was watching my time and realizing that a PR was definitely possible I ran everything I could. What I figured to take 1 1/2  to 2 hours took me about a 1hr 10 minutes. In this section there was another climb. The cool part of this climb was when on the way up Dakota Jones and Scott Jurek was coming down hooting and hollering. A couple of high fives and I had a “this is so frickin cool” moment.  Reached mile 40 feeling great.

From here there was just one more aid station, mile 46 and Vickers Ranch again. The climb to Vickers last year hurt, a lot, but not this year. This climb was short and was still catching people, some flat and then the start down to Vickers aid station.
Got in and out of there in a hurry because my time was way ahead of last year. It was now a 4 mile down and into town to the finish. There are some really steep parts to this decent so I had to use some caution even though I was amped up to finish. Finally coming out to the trees I could see Lake City below, but still seemed so far away. Finally to the bottom and into town, it was time for that final push to the finish.

Reaching the park and feeling strong, Dakota Jones was the MC and announced my name and mentioned this was my 3rd finish and a mid-western to boot.  My finishing time of 12:22:57 was a bit better than my 13:33:09 of last year. UNBELIEVABLE!
If you EVER get a chance to get into the mountains, DO IT. It will be an experience you won’t soon forget. Lake City if one of the coolest, friendliest, cleanest places I’ve ever been to. I’m counting the days that I can go back.

Not to mention Julie also had a great race, knocking about 40 minutes off her time from last year, finishing in 13:10:31. Not bad for a couple of Skonies.

184 starters, 158 finishers
Brad 12:22:57 58th place
Julie 13:10:31 82nd place

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the strong finish! My money says this year's alt course was harder than the standard course.