Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 Grand Canyon R2R2R

Ok, this was a granddaddy run. The third time I've done a rim to rim to rim in the Grand Canyon. Took 18 hours. Slower than I had hoped and certainly not my fastest time, but you know, it was still a good time. Went with a couple of fellow ultrarunners, Brian Beckstead and Tara Tulley. Neither had done this run before although Brian has done a couple of single crossings. Started about 4am. Three hours to the river. We just took our time, took pictures etc. Took a break at the Phantom Ranch, then headed out for the north rim. The run up Kaibab canyon is an awesome one. Right next to the creek for about 8 miles. Took a short break at Cottonwood campground, then started out again. The trail turns up into a side canyon at the caretaker house and a couple miles after that is Roaring Springs. This is indeed an awesome sight. Water gushing out of the side of the cliff, and not just a little bit. The trail here really starts to climb up towards the north rim. Steeper and not as runnable. When we were about 3 miles from the top, we encoutered snow, and lots of it. There was 4'-5' of it at the north rim trailhead. Pretty much the last mile was done on snow.

Got to the north rim at about 1:15, so about 8:45 for a time. I left the north rim at 1:30 with the goal of running as much of the downhill to the Phantom Ranch (13.6 miles away) as I could. Took me 4 hours to go those miles. Once you get to the caretaker house the trail becomes a cruiser. Just the right angle for good effortless downhill running. Passed lots of backpackers on the way down, and even a couple of other runners.

Got to the rach about 5:30 and left with Brian at 6pm. The goal was back up to the south rim in 4 hours or less. This is a little more than 9 miles with 4800'+ of gain. We were tired so making it in that time was going to be tough. We got to Indian Garden in 2 hours pretty easily. That's about half way up. Once you leave Indian Garden, the trail gets steeper and we get more tired. Still, we managed to do the last 4.5 miles in 2 hours, arriving at the south rim right at 10pm. Tara got up to the top a couple hours later.

We had a great time. I definitely recommend this run for any ultrarunner. We saw a bunch of R2R2R runners on our trek, including quite a few from the SLC area that I know. Everyone was having a good time.

The weather was perfect for it for me. About 30 at the start and in the low 80's down at the Phantom Ranch. Felt like the low 60's at the north rim. It was defintely cool by the time we got back to the top, probably in the low 40's.

Fun, fun, fun and ready to do it again.

I posted pictures at my Facebook account for those of you who are Facebook friends.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 Antelope Island Buffalo Run

Well, another Buffalo Run is in the books and a good time was had by all, I think. 583 people signed up this year. The second year that my little race is the largest trail running event in the state of Utah. I might crack the top ten nationwide with the size of the 50K entry list. A little over 100 signed up for the 50 mile, about 210 for the 50K and 270+ signed up for the 25K. many of these people were running their first trail run, their first ultra, there first time on the island even though they've lived in Utah all their lives. Many firsts today.

25K Runners Starting Out

As usual, my volunteers were fantastic. Britta is my new volunteer coordinator and she did a fantastic job of organizing about 50-60 volunteers. Everyone was where they were supposed to be and did their jobs to perfection. I had many, many runners tell me of how helpful and friendly the volunteers were. Just what I like to hear. Many of my volunteers have been coming back every year for all five years now and it's nice to have experienced people manning the aid stations. Julie, Larry Sr., Larry Jr., Meghan, Jeremy, all back for their fourth or fifth year. Awesome!
This year there were about 24 people that were out for their fifth Buffalo Run. Not bad considering that five years ago less than 150 showed up for the first Buffalo Run.
Every year I have the runners bring a can of veggies and I supply the bison stew meat. My lovely wife then makes buffalo stew out of it. Every year it turns out great and with the exception of last year, all of it disappears. 40 gallons worth. We had enough left over cans that we were able to take about 100 cans to the Ogden Rescue Mission. They were very happy to get the cans along with much of the leftover aid station fare.
This year's weather once again cooperated. I must be living right in spite of my best efforts. After a small storm Friday on the island (it was really nasty up against the mountains) that dropped a little rain, snow and some wind, the day dawned partly cloudy and temps around 30. With the temps warming up to around 50 by midday, and the trails in fantastic shape, course records were set to fall. And fall they did. Five of the six course records went down on race day. The 50 mile saw last year's men's record drop by another 12 minutes to 6:31. The women's 50 mile course record dropped by 24 minutes. The men's and women's 50K records dropped by around a minute and the men's 25K record also dropped by around a minute. Fast day indeed.

First Time Trail Runners and Local Veterinarians Matt and Sharon Klar Ready for the 25K

On a disappointing note, I got my first message about cheating. Seems someone observed another person turning around at Elephant head rather than doing the back Split Rock loop, saved themselves about 5.5 miles. Another four people were observed not going down to White Rock and instead just heading back out for their second loop of the 50K, thus cutting about two miles off their run. Not sure how I'm going to handle this but I'm not happy. If I find out who it is, I'm tempted to tell them to just not bother signing up for my race again. If you don't feel like running the entire route, then drop down in distance or man-up and DNF. Don't cheat, that just pisses me off, demoralizes those that see you do it, and cheats yourself.
Had many people tell me this was the best year yet, but there were some minor glitches. There is always room for improvement and I'm always aiming for the perfect race. Maybe some day that'll happen.