Thursday, January 19, 2012

Update: January WS Weekend

-Coming into Dusty Corners like it's 2010

This weekend, Katie and I headed up to Auburn to enjoy the endless autumn and take advantage of the snowless state of the Western States Trail that she’ll be competing on in June. Over the years I’ve gotten to read about, crew, pace, and watch documentaries on the race. Initially Dean Karnazes painted a very physically grueling picture (which in all fairness is accurate for the masses), but then I made the switch from being more of a trail runner to more of a mountain runner (at least in the American sense) and started opening up my eyes to more challenging races like Hardrock. I fell into the “it’s only 18k of gain” thought process of it being a little less dramatically difficult than the Dean K description made it out to be.

However, after watching Unbreakable and running a large amount of the course this weekend, I see the difficulty and allure of the course with a bit more perspective. First off, it’s very, very authentic in the sense that this is a very historic trail designed for horses to transport supplies to mining camps. Through and through, it's a classic for trail runners, and celebrates the audacity of Gordy to pioneer an unthinkable sport.


The trail is never too technical, steep, or flat, but rather rolling and floating around canyon walls, and over the tops of ridges. The 15:07 course record puts it in perspective as being a very fast course, but not without its challenges. The heat, the rocky sections, the not quite short/not quite long climbs, and the drawn out downhills demand a little more out of a trail runner, and favor the mountain runner. However the cruiser sections on gentle singletrack and the fireroads favor the quick footed trail runner and give an opportunity to really let lose and make up some time. In that sense, the race is blend of challenges that all must be met with quick reactions and sure footed speed. It's no suprise that someone like Geoff Roes has the course record, and I assume it will stay that way for awhile until someone with his special skill set comes along.

So, if the opportunity presents itself one day, I’ll most certainly line up in Squaw with a big smile on my face, but in the meantime, I’m still quite happy with my charge to get ready to race along the Colorado sky in July with the best in the US for 100 miles. There's benefits to tackling tougher trails, and this weekend I found that should I ever find myself in the race, I'm more than ready for it with my AC experience.

Monday Jan 9
3 mi AM in MT00’s
3 mi good PM

5mi, 900ft, Crystal Cove
PM: sick with flu

12 mi, 2200ft, 1:55 Night at Crystal Cove

2mi, 1000ft, :22 AM treadmill work
10mi, 1900ft, 1:50 park, tired, no light, exhausted hunger hang over from flu

5mi, 1000ft, :48, quick treadmill at 6%

38mi, 11,000ft, 8:10, Foresthill to Last Chance and back with Katie and Suzanna. Drove through the night from LA, slept for an hour, ran easy, but climbed a few hills on my own a bit faster. Finished really hungry and feasted. I was a bit suprised by my watch reading 11,000ft of gain, but apparently it's somewhere in those canyons if you run over them twice.

22mi, 4,300, 4:25, Drove towards Robinson Flat, got stopped by icy roads, ran in 3 mi, did Robinson to Duncan Canyon and back, explored towards Miller’s Defeat a bit.

100 miles, 22,300ft

The week was a little short on the climbing, but the flu on Tuesday put a damper on things. Overall, I'm happy with how quick I’ve gotten back to 100 mile weeks and had minimal damage to show for it. Another few good weeks, then a step back to race Ray Miller 50 miler, and we'll see what the training thus far has earned me fitness wise.

-El Dorado Canyon had me craving los dorritos on the way back

Unicorn tracks from Saturday near Last Chance

Escaping Duncan/Destruction Canyon

Greatest chillwave project ever: Toro y Moi

Toro y Moi - Blessa


Chris Price said...

Wow, you've been putting in some legit training. You're going to do great at Ray Miller... I better start getting after it so that I'm not embarrassed toooo badly out there.

Hope to run with ya soon.

Dominic Grossman said...

Yeah, I like my chances there, but who knows, anything could happen with money on the line. How much prize money? We don't know, but we know that it's probably at least enough for a decent IPA and a solid meal at Neptune's or Wolf Creek afterwards, so anything could happen with that weighing on the competitors minds. We just might even see a CR!

Chris Price said...

You're not running Old Goats???