Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chimera 100K washout

I signed up for the first Chimera 100K thinking that it would be a nice little run in sunny Orange County CA. Away from the cold and snow of Utah. Big surprise!
I kept watching the weather the week before and it was always calling for scattered showers Saturday with heavier showers Saturday night. Well, I'd be done by then so no big deal. I can handle a few showers.

I showed up at the start and it was raining, not hard but steady. The wind was there as well. Hmmm, this didn't bode well for the day since the weather was supposed to get worse.

The RD delayed that start by 30 minutes so that it would be light when we went out on the first section. Good thing as the first section was a nine mile loop on a trail. This would have been a great section to run in good weather. Instead it was a muddy mess. When I got back off that loop, I pitched my glasses into my car. They were worse than useless and I could see just fine without them.

The next section began the uphill grind to the top of Santiago Peak. Nothing but uphill 4 x 4 road. I felt really good on this section. All of the uphill training I've done seems to have helped and I was able to motor up the grade, passing all sorts of people. The way the road twisted and turned meant that at one point there could be a slight breeze and a light rain and 100 yards around the corner you could get hit with 30-40 mph winds and driving rain. It was amazing.

As the day wore on, the rain picked up. There were a couple of times when we could hear rocks coming loose on the road cut banks and we'd have to dodge them as they washed down on to the road. Made for a little more excitement.

I ended up running about 15 miles with Kevin Lawlor of Salt Lake City. He's run my race here in Utah and it was nice to have a familiar face to run with.

When we got to the Trabuco aid station, the wind was really strong. To the point that the aid station was eventually destroyed. Thank goodness we made it thru before that happened.

We kept going and at around mile 27 an SUV drove up along side to let us know that the race was being called and to stop at the next aid station. At the next aid station we were told that we could either wait until the station was broken down and go down with the vehicles or run another 8 miles to the gate at the bottom of Silverado Canyon where cars would take us back to the start/finish area. A bunch of us elected to do that and down the mountainside we went. During the run down the canyon the clouds lifted some and we could see where we would have been running had the race gone on. It's a section of trail right along a ridge and looks awesome.
Ended up waiting about 30 minutes for cars to come pick us up then make the hour plus drive back to Bluejay Campground.

Once back at Bluejay all of us could get warm, drink beer, have some hot soup and just enjoy talking about the day. What a day it was! I've never run a race in those kind of conditions. Like one of the runners said as we were waiting, "anyone can run when it's sunny". I had a great time, just awesome. A lot of my having a good time was that I was dressed for the occasion. My winter tights, a couple of long sleeve t's, gloves, a beanie, and a cheap plastic rain poncho kept me very warm the entire day even though I was soaking wet the entire time. I also felt really good. No stomach issues, I was eating enough, staying hydrated, and my attitude was great.

I ended up with a total of 36 miles over about 8 hours. Had I been able to keep going I was definitely on track for a 14 or sub 14 hour finish. I figure that I was in the top 10-15 when the race was called. Who knows, with the weather attrition could have really played a factor in the finishes. Steve is planning on putting on the race again next fall and I'll be there. Hopefully the weather will be a little nicer.

Here are some pictures taken during the race by Jakob Herman, one of the runners. They give just a little idea of what we went thru that day. http://jakob.smugmug.com/gallery/10629054_nethK#739239996_bDj8m


  1. Jim,

    Nice report, it was a helluva day. Hard to expalin how nasty it really was. What a blast though! Sounds like you were in great shape and would have finished strong! Me, I was kinda gald it was over :) See you at the Buffalo Run in March.


  2. Great report. I have seen some pics and wow, what a day for you all. Great to hear you felt good. See ya Saturday!

  3. Sounds like a ... unique experience. From the sound of it, you're in good shape, so do you have any big races coming up?

    Again, nice report, epic conditions, solid running...