2011 Bighorn 100

I finally managed to get my photos from the Bighorn 100 sorted out and uploaded here. I had a great time out at the race crewing and pacing Victoria.

Bighorn is still one of my all time favorite events. The scenery on the trail is incredible and the race organization and support is fantastic. This year with record snow levels in the Bighorn mountains, the original course had to be re-routed but the race organizers did an excellent job pulling together a final runnable route just days before the race. The modified route included an extra out and back spur from Dry Fork, started in Dayton instead of up the road near the Tongue river trailhead, and turned around 2 stations below Porcupine at the Spring Marsh aid station. This made crew access a bit trickier with accessible points only at Dry Fork and Footbridge. But they managed to preserve the majority of the original 100 mile route and still managed to offer the same outstanding aid station support.

Victoria had medical approval to have a pacer for the full 100 miles of the race and after her second pacer dropped out with an injury, I was going to have to pace her for 75 miles from the second Dry Fork stop through to the finish. We figured she would be safe enough running with Kristel and other friends for the first 24.5 miles until she met me at Dry Fork.

In hind sight, I probably should have rested more for such a long stretch of pacing. But there just didn’t seem to be any time between the start of the race in Dayton, driving up to Dry Fork, meeting and helping other runners coming into and out of Dry Fork. The morning and afternoon flew by and I spent the day caught up in the commotion at the aid station. This really caught up with me later in the evening. And as a word of warning, if anyone decides to pace Victoria, make sure you show up well rested and bring your A game. She set the pace the entire time I ran with her and just kept moving relentlessly. She powered up the wall to Bear Camp in the dark like it was nothing. And even when she got tired, she still kept up a determined hiking pace. Unfortunately I turned out to be the worst pacer ever. After warning Victoria about the hazards of stopping and sitting at comfortable aid stations, I was the first to say hell yes to a nice chair by the fire at Spring Marsh. Somewhere in the dark between Bear Camp and Cow Camp, I got really drowsy and started getting tunnel vision in the beam of my headlamp. Reflective trail markers on the trees started to melt and drip down the tree trunks. I dropped back behind Victoria several times and finally told her I needed to take a minute to just stop and close my eyes to refocus again. Asking Victoria to stop when she was still trucking along over 65 miles into her run when I had only gone about 40 miles qualifies me as the absolute worst pacer ever.

We managed to make it through the night and arrived at Cow Camp for a brief breakfast break. On the way back to Dry Fork, we crossed paths with the 50 mile runners. The re-routed 50 mile course started at Dry Fork and went out and back to Footbridge. On the normal race route, the different race distances usually merge together at the mid to back of the pack closer to the finish. This year it was really nice to see the full 50 mile field. They were only about 2 miles into their race and the front runners were flying. It was great to see the rest of our Fort Collins friends charge by us and it helped give both Victoria and I an energy boost to push the final miles in to the Dry Fork aid station.

On the way to the Twin Buttes aid station at the end of the spur from Dry Fork, Victoria started to get really dizzy with bad tunnel vision and spots. She was able to walk the last tenth of a mile into the aid station and stopped for an extended break to warm up, drink some fluids, and try to recover. Unfortunately she wasn’t snapping out of it and with her condition, it wasn’t safe to push through this. So she made the smart decision to drop. It’s really too bad that it ended this way since she was doing so well right up to the end. But she made it home safe and healthy and is already coming around to start considering another 100 miler.

And despite getting my but kicked on the overnight out on the trail, I really had a great time. We had a huge group of friends out there from Fort Collins and Boulder with a lot of firsts and PR’s in all events. This is definitely an event that I’d like to make an annual tradition.

Here’s a link to Alex’s 50 mile report. After resting up at the park, I jogged up the road and ran the last mile in with him.

Here are a few photos from the weekend:

 

 

 

  • Slush

    June 27th, 2011

    Woret Pacer Ever is a proper title bequethed from me to you, and as such is supposed to be capitalized. You can put the initials after your name like PhD or OBE.

    It was awesome to see you and Victoria on the trail, but next time I will refrain from giving you the high-five, goodness knows where those hands have been. Best of luck at Hardrock tho I’ll probably see you before you take off for that bit o’ fun. I’m totally amped up to see how you do in the San Juans.

    -Slush

  • Pete

    June 27th, 2011

    It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after handling any 100 miler or their pacer:-)

  • Kristel

    June 29th, 2011

    You can pace me any day. Bighorn was a blast. Next year will be even more fun!!!
    Kristel

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