Way Too Cool was great! I was a bit bummed that I was unable to join the post-race festivities at the G'Town Hotel but the race itself was great and provided the expected pre-season fitness test.
I started out, as usual, way too fast and paid for it later. After a few miles I settled into a nice pace with good friends Craig Thornley and Jeff Riley and we cruised into the Highway 49 crossing at :53. I felt good and we kept it steady to ALT 1. Running that section of trail always makes me think of WS three months hence and it was nice to run along with friends chatting and watching the miles drift by. It was also good to run fast on dirt rather than snow and packed ice!
We hit ALT in 2 hours and it seemed a tad slow. Not sure why but it was. It seemed like the pace was frantic up front and we were content to simply dawdle along. Craig took the lead here as we began the ALT loop and I thought an hour might be a good time. We ended up doing it in 1:01 but that was fine. The downhill legs were solid but my climbing felt crappy. Obviously, I have work to do!
After ALT 2 I took the lead and we had a long train of people for this last 10 mile section. I love this part because there are people going both ways and it's fun saying hi to people and enjoying a day on the WS trail. I was feeling pretty tired after crossing the bridge at Brown's Bar so I just walked up the road toward the climb up Goat Hill. Craig and I chatted about our age and the pace of the race and then settled into a power hike up Goat. It was here that Graham Cooper passed us and got my juices flowing again. After topping out I tried to keep in in range but to no avail. Graham had, once again, paced it perfectly, and he finished four minutes ahead of me.
My time of 4:31 was good enough for 54th place. A couple post-race beers with Craig, Graham and Erik topped off a wonderful day.
What the race revealed for me (aside from the need to do some serious climbing in the next few months) was the impact of the growth trail running on some of the sport's great events. It seems that faster and faster runners are gravitating toward the ultra distances and that is creating tremendous competition in the sport. It seems most obvious in the 50K and 50 Mile races but I imagine it is only a matter of time until we see more of these speedsters moving up to the 100's. From my vantage point it's good for the sport but, man, it sure makes me feel old.
I'll write again in a few days with my report from the Grand Canyon.