Oracle Rumble

 After the one day of trying to do as much course recon as possible, I was more than a little nervous about the race. There were some super fast women on ultra signup and most of them were local. They would have prepared much better and maybe even have gotten on the course a few times. Except for a few miles in the middle, it was all a huge mystery as to what the next 50 miles would bring. The biggest key would be trying to run those first trending downhill miles smart so I would have something left for all the hills in the middle and end.  The bus ride out to the start was long. Any time they have you loading the busses at 0530 for an 0730 start, you know it’s gonna be long! And it was - from Oracle State Park, all the way out Willow Springs road to Freeman Road. If you’ve done the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo mountain bike race, you know how long and bumpy Willow Springs can be! Now go even further and do it on a school bus. There was no napping at all on that drive. Instead I listened to

Bryce Canyon - the good, the bad and the ugly

Bryce Canyon was my first time doing a race with Vacation Races. Of course, since this was the first time the 100 was held since 2022, I wanted to do to that distance! An early season 100 would be good and a nice learning opportunity for a third attempt at Tabeguache later. But I was a little hesitant about doing that long a distance with a company I knew nothing about. Got all kinds of reassurance in the various FB groups, so went ahead and signed up. Besides, I couldn't beat the early bird price for the 100 either! Overall, it was a great event, well organized and a nice challenging course. I do feel a little disappointed that we didn't get to see the real 100 mile course, but not sure I'm disappointed enough to go back! I would however recommend the race, but with some caveats as always The Good...      The pre race communication was very clear and easy to understand. The race guide was set up so you could read it all but then just print out the information relevant to y

Unintended consequences

 Black Canyon 100k was just a few weekends ago and the big news with the race (other then the speedy times...) was the snow over night. It's Arizona - snow down near Phoenix isn't a common occurrence. Combined with rain prior to snow and the potential for icy roads, the call was made to delay the start from 7:00 to 9:00. And then it was pushed back another 30 minutes to allow for a late bus to get there. In the post race podcasts, the big story with the delay was the effect it had on the preparations of the pointy end of the field. The runners there trying to win golden tickets and would be finished well before sunset. Every podcast discussed the flexibility needed to adjust breakfast, warm ups and mental prep for the delay. And while that effected everyone, there was one thing that the commentators never even mentioned. It wasn't a factor for anyone they were talking about - and since most of the commentators either are or used to be pro runners - not something they would

Recon done late

 The hardest part about vacation races? Not being able to set foot on the course and so not really knowing what to prepare for and how to train. I’v been so busy with scouting Tabeguache and working on that FKT (attempt three coming later…) that I’ve forgotten how important it is to really study course maps and profiles. And to also use the resources at hand such as facebook to get more intel on the terrain and course. Going in blind with just a glance at the course profile served me well at the Colossal Cave 55k, so why would the Oracle Rumble 50 mile be any different? Well, a few miles to the north and on a much more remote passage of the AZT meant both harder terrain and a not as well used trail. One of those I could have prepared for - the other not so much. Looking north on the AZT from Tiger Mine Rd Preparing better would have meant doing more then just plugging the course GPX into both Garmin and Gaia and then only looking at Garmin’s elevation gain. According to Garmin, it was

Back to Bangs

 Third year in a row for the Bangs Canyon World Championship and the most un-Bangs weather I’ve seen. Sure, it was cold. But the sun was shining and the course was mostly dry with no mud to be seen. That meant all the speed demons came out to play and my chance of defending my title was slim to none. Nothing if not realistic! That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to give it my best shot and try to run hard and smart.  There were about five times as many people on the start line this year as compared last and maybe twice as many as 2022. The speedsters took off super fast, including two women I didn’t know, as well as Lexi and Michelle. I was hoping to keep the gap between myself and those two close. I know I’m nowhere nearly as fast as them for shorter distances, but maybe this would be long enough to tip the scales in my favor. After all, I don’t have the speed like I did when I was their age, but I’ve swapped it for endurance. Lexi’s done an 50 miler, but they both tend to favor the sub 50

I’m Back!!!

 I hope. I completely spaced on any writing last year for a number of reasons. Time got away from me and I just didn’t want to sit down and put proverbial pencil to proverbial paper aka turn my computer on and start typing! That will change. Now, that’s not to say it was a dull year. I had a lot of adventures, miles covered and trails explored. There were sunrises, sunsets. I just never said anything about them. I had a lot on my mind pondering different dreams and goals and how as we change our goals should change. Again, kept them quiet. I don’t know if people actually care about any of that, or the race reports I used to post. I know I’m still looking at people’s reports from events so hopefully others care about mine!  There’s a lot to catch up from 2023 and I will try to do my best. I’ll post things in chronological order - which might not be the order I write them! I’ll also try to make sure to get photos as appropriate in the posts to capture the essence of what I am trying to s

Nothing to be ashamed of

 I was fully committed on Tabeguache this year. All in, nothing else on the plate. Just train for and hopefully complete the entire trail from Montrose to Grand Junction. And yet... I still have 30 miles to cover and was once again unsuccessful in reaching the Lunch Loops terminus of the trail. I made it significantly further then back in 2022, but still was not able to put the full puzzle together again.  I made it 117 miles, deciding to pull the at the end of the Cactus Park Segment. And like last year, the questions swirl in my mind. What could I do differently? Where did I go wrong in the training that left me short of the goal. I don't have any good answers for that. I thought I was doing the heat training I needed to handle the sun along the Dominguez Trail and Cactus Park sections. I though I was making sure to work on the hiking as well as the running. There were definitely things that went wrong - from not getting enough sleep in the days leading up the attempt, to several