A few photos: 1. Eric and post-race vittles 2. Almost home 3. Induction into the "Rusty Spur Club" 4. Eric's sweet-daddy cassette case-yes those little rectangular things with ribbon are all the 1990 Toyota will play.
1 trip to Portland, OR (and back)=blown-up hub+snow re-rout+crushed headphones x mud (trench foot)(a bit of puking) = Best 100 yet?
I finally arrived in Dayton after a week of hectic tapering. We had been to Portland and La Grande to attend Kiley and Grant's wedding and reception just the weekend before and our van decided to blow a hub in protest. So with a bit of last-minute scampering I loaded up the little truck, picked up Eric (50 mile runner) and headed north for Sheridan. Once we managed to get checked in, weighed, and settled at the campground I was able to enjoy a roaring river serenade from Jeff and Roch. The next morning the 11 a.m. start seemed like it wasn't ever going to arrive. I was amped to finally "get back on the 100-mile horse" after having a few frustrating performances last year. I knew it was going to be tough but was determined to stay in the hunt, take care of myself, and see how things shook out. Luckily the start in Tongue River Canyon was as cool as any I have experienced. We motored up the first big climb and after cruising the new "freeze-out" loop we hit the head of Dry Fork Canyon well ahead of previous record pace. I quickly picked up fresh bottles from Eric and headed out for Cow Camp and to get my first peek at Riley's Point which exited the Cow Camp Aid Station to the right instead of the typical left to Bear Camp. This part of the course is new to the 100 mile race due to the snow and by the time we had reached the top we had a nice group of five- Justin, Jeff, along with Jesse and Erich from Bozeman, navigating the gigantic snow patches and muddy, off-camber ruts that made footing a bit tricky as we headed back to the head of Dry Fork. Near the top I made a quick pit stop then started to hustle back to catch the pack. By the time I reached aid I was working a bit harder than I wanted to so I decided that just to stay back a bit and watch what was going on ahead of me. The little adjustments to the course we small out-and-backs which would allow me to keep an eye on everyone-there was still lots of time to race. I just tried to stay quick, stay on my eating schedule and looked forward to hitting footbridge, picking up my tunes and getting myself back in the race. I still felt great at footbridge I dropped one bottle, gave quick instructions on how to load up my Flash pack with NUUN so I could get in and out on the way back. I was able to see that I was about 10 minutes back from the lead pack of four. When I decided to put on my ipod I noticed that somehow one of my earbuds had been smashed to smithereens and there was a dent in mp3 player. As I headed for the short turn-around I was begging the Sheridan High Cross Country members for a pair of headphones-to no avail. Luckily for me Mike, who was crewing Justin came to the rescue and let me Justin's headphones. I quickly hooked up my tunes and headed for back to footbridge and Leaky Mountain hoping to start reeling in the lead pack. Just after the narrows I looked up to see Jeff speeding down the hill toward me-eyes already like saucers. I couldn't believe he was making a move already. He was running scared with 40 miles to go. 4 minutes later Justin and Jurek (pacing) sped past in full pursuit. They were moving well but I was confident that if I could make it to Leaky Mountain before dark I could catch Erich and Jesse and then maybe pick up some carnage from up front so I put my head down, turned up my music and ran as much as I could up to the aid. About 3/4 of a mile from the aid station I caught Erich and Jesse so I scampered up to the aid station got in and out, donned my headlamp for later and took off after the Jeff and Justin. My stomach was feeling great and I just continued to stay focused. When my mind would wander I would remind myself that a lot could happen and I still might catch them. The climb up "the haul" went quickly. Runners that we hiking down we kind enough to step off the trail and I quickly headed back for Riley's point. By this time the moon had come out and I was able to climb to the tree line with my lamp off. I kept reminding myself to keep my head in the game because they had about 15 and 20 minutes on me. I struggled a bit with the ruts and the snow in the dark even though the running was easier than earlier in the afternoon because the snow was packed from foot traffic and was frozen. I was sleepy and I just didn't seem to be getting any closer to Dry Fork but was looking forward to picking up Trevor my pacer because I knew he would keep me honest all the way to the finish-especially on the dreaded Tongue River Road into Dayton. He was ready to go despite my earlier than anticipated arrival time at Dry Fork. I tried to eat a little and then we headed for the barn. I just tried to concentrate on the trail and keeping up with my pacer. Just before Lower Sheep Creek my achey stomach finally rebelled. I puked 5-6 times and dropped off the hill and ran through the aid and headed up the the last climb on the course. I just wanted to ride the "post- puke adrenaline" as long as I could. We hammered the downhill to the road and I knew that I was going to be under my goal time of 20:30 but that neither Jeff or Justing was coming back. Trevor whipped me all the way to the finish. In my four years running here at Bighorn -this is the first I have ran every step on that @#$% road. With about 2 miles left I realized that if I held it together I might even break 20 hours! That gave me a little adrenaline boost and I gave what I had left into the finish. My final time was 19:54:07-a huge personal best for 100 miles. I was pleased with my effort, focus, and final time. I had one of my best 100's to date-it just happens that Justin and Jeff had better ones. Thanks guys for keeping it honest. I'll rest, recover, and try to figure out how to do it better next time. Solid work by the growing Star Valley Ultra Contingent-good job Scott, Eric, Kim and Corena. Complete results can be found here. Good to see you again Matt-nice run-cleaning up in the 50. And of course extra thanks to Andi and kids for putting up with this madness and to Patagonia, NUUN, Rudy Project, and Clif for helping it happen.