Way back in December, I decided to do a 50K in April in Fruita, Colorado, and make it a destination race with a little adventure tossed in. Instead of flying or driving, I'd ride the rails less traveled - I'd take the train. (Read here and here if you want more info on the adventure.) Somewhere along the Training Way leading up to Fruita, I thought, "Hey Slang, how about a lead-up event?" "Sure," I replied. "We can do this." So, I signed up for the Lake Chabot 50K in mid-February. I figured a 50K 8 weeks out would be a decent gauge of fitness and capability to do the race in Fruita.
Unfortunately, Chabot wasn't great, and when the opportunity (read: peer pressure) to do another a mere 6 days later, I went for it in an attempt at redemption of mind and body. Salmon Falls went better than I expected, though I still had the cramping bugaboo that is my personal albatross. But looking at the times for the races, they averaged out to 6:00 - and interesting balance and a decent finishing time for me. It was then that the idea struck. Somewhat influenced by the person who more than any other hooked me on trail running, Tom "It's all downhill to the top!" Wion, who had completed twelve 50Ks in twelve months in 2017, I thought, "Hmm. Maybe I can do a streak of some kind as well..." Enter The Quest.
Number three went really well: Ruck A Chuck. Despite having more vert than either of the other two, I did well: 5:50, and best of all, not a leg cramp to be had. I was now stoked. Fruita was three weeks out and I thought I had it dialed in.
Well, I wouldn't call it dialed in, as I completed it with serious cramp issues, but still respectably in 6:08. I did a quick set of calculations: four races with an average elevation gain of 4503' and an average finish time of 5:59. Huh. I wondered if I could do two more and not exceed the 6:00 hour limit? Better yet, can I do two more such that the first to the last race was within a twelve week time span -- because numbers are fun? My stupid mind said, "This is going to be fun!" My body replied, "Dude, seriously?"
But before continuing on to items five and six, some photos from Chabot (first pair) Salmon Falls (second pair) & Ruck (last pair).
A short hop north after work and I checked in Friday night at the Diamond View. Such a hidden gem: A super pleasant host, a comfortable bed...quiet, what more can you ask? Oh, yes a heterochromia iridum kitty, that decided I was his (her?) bestie, and thought my lap was the place to be.
Continuing race prep the night before, I wanted to do it as right as possible, and I purposely limited myself to a single low-ABV beer with a splendid burger dinner at the Pioneer Cafe (the outlet for Lassen Ale Works). Night was a toss-turner wearing the splints, but that's normal. Race morning: wake, eat (bagels and peanut butter!), poop, pack up and head to the start, located conveniently only about 5 minutes away.
When I arrived, and before I even had a chance to exit the car, my right calf fully spasmed. Well, dang. Things looked bleak indeed for anything more than a thirty-one mile death march. Me being me, I was committed to starting, and start I did.
The first half went relatively smoothly. I ran mindfully not to flex the calves - keeping them neutral to extended, but keeping moving at a reasonable pace. I hit the start again (the course is roughly two different loops) at 2:30 elapsed. Wow! I may get my six! Lulz.
The second half is a completely different beast. Most of the climbing occurs here, and the trails are far more technical. As for the baby cows? Yeah, they said hi. Repeatedly. Often. Alternatingly, even. I did finish, and my time was slower than I hoped for at the halfway point, but was faster than I feared at the start. Let's call it a compromise.