Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18, 2012 - Bootlegger 50k Race

Bootlegger 50k - - Boulder City, Nevada (Just out side of Las Vegas).. After several weeks of getting back in the groove following my GC R2R2R, I was ready to race.  Honestly, I hadn't been feeling too healthy coming in, but I felt confident that I would be able to pull through fine.  There were a good number of solid runners scheduled to toe the line.. including Rob Krar (La Sportiva Mtn Cup Champ), Chad Riklefs (Ultra Running Legend), Chris Vargo (fresh off a solid Chicago Marathon), Brian Tinder, Eric Bohn.. etc. 

Per the website - - "The 50k course consists of two 15.43 mile loops with a total of 4386 feet of elevation gain/loss. The terrain breakdown is 28 miles of single track, 1.5 miles of dirt road, and about 0.5 miles of pavement. Much of the single track trail is technical, yet there are some fast and smooth sections."
My Description - - Technical, Sandy, Rocky, Rolling.. Challenging.

The Race:
Right before the 7am start, the weather was "crisp" and cool, but the sun was already glaring.  With each deep breath, you could smell the desert plants. - -  Time to roll. 

The race started right on time.  A large group barrelled down the first quarter mile.  A few minutes later we already started to spread out. The first mile is downhill and thus fast.  Chris Vargo & I came through around 5:20 pace.r... and began to open a slight gap on the field.

After the fast first mile, you begin the longest climb of the day.  Coming into the race, my plan was to keep the first lap steady.. then on the second lap I wanted to use this climb to create some distance from the field.

Keeping the climb very relaxed, Rob Krar closed the slight lead Chris & I had.  I could tell that everyone else felt our pace was too fast and was going to stay back and "feast" on us when we fell apart.

Topping out the climb, I decided to start pushing the pace consistently. Due to HUGE variations in terrain (rocks, sand, hills, turns, etc), it wasn't so much about pace as effort.  The "consistent push" had us clipping miles from 5:20 to 6:15pace. 

We whipped through each well stocked aid station.  I chose not to carry water or fuel, so I stopped for about 30sec at each aid station and did my best Kobayashi impression.  I am sure the volunteers thought I was a real lunatic, but I subscribe to the NASCAR theory of "pit stops".. extra time is wasted time.   

Rob, Chris, & I kept hammering our way through the mix of creosote & cactus.  I knew at about mile 10 when both Chris and Rob were still right with me that this was going to be a LONG day that would not be won by any early surges.  As such, I settled in and kept the pressure on. 

Before I knew it, we had completed lap 1.  Our time was right at 1hr 47min.  Course record pace was around 2hrs 3min. 

As Chris, Rob, & I set out for lap 2, I felt myself picking up the pace a bit heading towards the Long Climb.

Time out - - funny story at this point.. A 50 something year old lady was walking down a 2 lane path directly towards us.  Chris and I were hammering along pretty steady.. this lady wasn't moving an inch as we hopped off the trail to get around her.. she then yelled, "Get the fuck out of my way".  I kinda laughed.. mostly in disbelief.  Maybe she had a rough night at the tables???  

Back to the race,...  As we start climbing, I started putting out some solid effort.  In no time, I had about 1min lead.. and by the time I hit the top, I had close to 2min on both Chris & Rob.

To ensure that I didn't just "give back" the time, I put the pace on 6:20s.  If they were gonna catch me, they were going to have to earn it. 

Three miles later.. here comes Krar.  That guy is one tough S.O.B. 

When he catches me, I asked him where Chris went and he said he had fallen off pace... so now after over 2hrs of battling.. it was down to 2. 

At this point, my stomach went south.. and I pulled over 4 times over the next 1.5hrs to "relieve some pressure".  Not ideal, but I guess it happens.

Rob and I steadily hammered the next hour and we were quickly closing in on the finish.  I kept opening small leads, but lost them everytime I had to make a pit stop.  Finally, with about 4miles to go, I had quite a bit left in tank, so I decided to put in a hard surge.  

That surge pretty much secured the win.  I had about a 2min lead .. and 2miles left to run.. and I was feeling really solid. 

I cruised in the next few miles assuming I would finish around 3hrs 40min.  As I rounded the final turn, there is a 200meter stretch where you can see the finish.  My watch read somewhere around 3hr 39min (+ a few seconds).  - - I had a shot to break 3hrs 40min!!

At that point, I turned on the gas a little.. then a little more.. then before I knew it, I was in full blown Carl Lewis form zipping towards the finish.. When I crossed the line the timer read... 3hrs 39min 52sec.. it was worth the extra effort.

Post Race:
After the race, a good number of the 50k and 25k finishers hung out and enjoyed a beer (provided by the race), a burger (provided by the race), and race recaps - war stories -highlights (provided by the race).

I would highly recommend running this race.. it was well organized and tough, but had a great laid back vibe.