Friday, March 11, 2011

From Leadville to the Wasatch 100

As I mentioned in the last post, I no longer have any charts I created for Leadville so I will skip to Wasatch.  Prior to the race, I had never run any of the actual course for the Wasatch 100 and it is a point to point race.  Leadville is an out and back course so even if you have never run the course, you will see it all on the way out and know what to expect during the final 50 miles.  I also went to the Leadville training camp at the end of June, in 2009 where we ran all but the first and last 13 miles.  For me, knowing what is coming up always helps.

I ran the Katcina Mosa in the Wasatch Mountains in 2008.  The run starts in Springville,  just south of Provo, Utah and less than 50 miles south of Salt Lake City International Airport.  I knew what running in the Wasatch Mountains would be like.  While skiing in 2009 we stopped at the Lamb's Canyon exit of I80 on the way to Park City and checked out where the aid station at mile 53 would be located and looked up Lamb's Canyon.  (That tells you a lot!)  I also took the high traverse off lift 9990 at the Canyon's Ski Resort, over to the ridge line where I could look down at Desolation Lake, location of another aid station at mile 67.  From the ridge I could see the climb up from the lake to the ridge where I stood.  Of course everything was under a deep blanket of snow.  A few days later we went to Alta skied there a couple of days.  We skied back to the far east end of the resort where you could look north and see the high point of the run at Point Supreme at mile 78, just a few hundred yards away.  To the east, we were looking down into the valley heading to the finish.  That view will inspire you and scare you to death.

I knew I had to do a lot of planning.  I will post all the charts and maps I created in the months leading up to The Wasatch 100.  I used them to figure out what would need to go in each of the 6 drop bags as well as  what I would need to start the race with.  I pack all my drop bags at home before leaving for races then box them up and ship them UPS.  I have been shipping with UPS for 25 years and have never had one item lost, so I feel pretty good shipping my equipment with them.  For some reason I just don't trust the airlines!!  When we ski, we always pack our ski boots and a days ski clothing in our carry-on luggage.  The boots are critical.  We both have ski boots that were fitted to us by the Boot Doctor in Telluride, CO.  They are the best.  They also have a store in Taos, NM.  The carry-on is a little heavy but that is fine.  If I could fit all the stuff in a carry-on bag I would but there is just too much stuff.  I think the security people might not understand all those bottles full for strange powders (Hammer Perpetuem and Pacific Health's Endurox.)

Wasatch has 17 aid stations, six of which allow drop bags.  First, I had to come up with estimated times that I would reach each of the 17 AS.  Next, based on these times, I calculate the time it will take me to get from one AS to the next.  For example, after leaving the Francis Peak Aid Station at mile18.76, the next drop bag was at Big Mountain at mile 39.4.  There are three aid stations between the two.  I put everything I expect to need at Bountiful B AS, for example, in one Zip Lock baggie and label it accordingly.  When I reach Bountiful B, I just pull out the BB baggie and stash or throw away what is left from the previous segment.  I do find this a little cumbersome, especially when you are trying to hurry.  I intend to simplify the system and just have a larger baggie with everything in it.

I hoped to finish Wasatch in 34 hours.  The cutoff is 36.  I have recreated the method I used to show how I estimated my split times.  I picked out two runners from the 2010 race, # 10 and runner # 16 because they make a good example.  I copied the times right off the results page onto an excel spreadsheet.  Then calculated the time it took them to get from one aid station to the next.  (That is the last column on the right.)  Then I simply averaged the times in the bottom block.  If I was planning on running a 32 hour race, these would be perfect.

Results from the 2010 Race

Runner #10 Finish time: 32:07 Time
Location Distance Altitude Time-In hours:minutes
East Mountain Wilderness Pk  0 mi. 4880 feet

Francis Peak 18.76 mi. 7500 feet 09:52:00 AM 04:52
Bountiful B 23.95 mi. 8160 feet 11:20:00 AM 01:28
Sessions Lift Off 28.23 mi. 8320 feet 12:19:00 PM 00:59
Swallow Rocks 31.94 mi. 8320 feet 02:08:00 PM 01:49
Big Mountain 39.4 mi. 7420 feet 03:12:00 PM 01:04
Alexander Ridge 47.44 mi. 6160 feet 05:26:00 PM 02:14
Lambs Canyon 53.13 mi. 6100 feet 06:53:00 PM 01:27
Millcreek 61.68 mi. 7660 feet 09:53:00 PM 03:00
Desolation Lake 66.93 mi. 9170 feet 12:04:00 AM 02:11
Scotts Pass 70.79 mi. 9910 feet 01:29:00 AM 01:25
Brighton Lodge 75.61 mi. 8790 feet 02:54:00 AM 01:25
Ant Knolls 80.27 mi. 9000 feet 05:22:00 AM 02:28
Poll Line Pass 83.39 mi. 8925 feet 06:50:00 AM 01:28
Rock Springs 87.39 mi. 9445 feet 08:37:00 AM 01:47
Pot Bottom 93.13 mi. 7380 feet 10:51:00 AM 02:14
The Homestead 100 mi. 5720 feet 01:07:00 PM 02:16

32:07:00 Total Time

Runner #16 Finish time:32.49

Location Distance Altitude Time-In

East Mountain Wilderness Pk 0 mi. 4880 feet

Francis Peak 18.76 mi. 7500 feet 09:57:00 AM 04:57
Bountiful B 23.95 mi. 8160 feet 11:26:00 AM 01:29
Sessions Lift Off 28.23 mi. 8320 feet 12:24:00 PM 00:58
Swallow Rocks 31.94 mi. 8320 feet 02:12:00 PM 01:48
Big Mountain 39.4 mi. 7420 feet 03:14:00 PM 01:02
Alexander Ridge 47.44 mi. 6160 feet 05:35:00 PM 02:21
Lambs Canyon 53.13 mi. 6100 feet 07:03:00 PM 01:28
Millcreek 61.68 mi. 7660 feet 10:18:00 PM 03:15
Desolation Lake 66.93 mi. 9170 feet 12:24:00 AM 02:06
Scotts Pass 70.79 mi. 9910 feet 01:49:00 AM 01:25
Brighton Lodge 75.61 mi. 8790 feet 03:23:00 AM 01:34
Ant Knolls 80.27 mi. 9000 feet 05:36:00 AM 02:13
Poll Line Pass 83.39 mi. 8925 feet 06:49:00 AM 01:13
Rock Springs 87.39 mi. 9445 feet 09:27:00 AM 02:38
Pot Bottom 93.13 mi. 7380 feet 11:34:00 AM 02:07
The Homestead 100 mi. 5720 feet 01:49:00 PM 02:15

32:48:00 Total Time

Calculating the average #10 #16
32:30 Pace+/-
East Mountain Wilderness Pk

Francis Peak 04:52 04:57 09:49 04:54
Bountiful B 01:28 01:29 02:57 01:28
Sessions Lift Off 00:59 00:58 01:57 00:58
Swallow Rocks 01:49 01:48 03:37 01:48
Big Mountain 01:04 01:02 02:06 01:03
Alexander Ridge 02:14 02:21 04:35 02:17
Lambs Canyon 01:27 01:28 02:55 01:27
Millcreek 03:00 03:15 06:15 03:07
Desolation Lake 02:11 02:06 04:17 02:08
Scotts Pass 01:25 01:25 02:50 01:25
Brighton Lodge 01:25 01:34 02:59 01:29
Ant Knolls 02:28 02:13 04:41 02:20
Poll Line Pass 01:28 01:13 02:41 01:20
Rock Springs 01:47 02:38 04:25 02:12
Pot Bottom 02:14 02:07 04:21 02:10
The Homestead 02:16 02:15 04:31 02:15

32:07:00 32:48:00 64:55:00 32:27:30

I would probably have added a couple of more runners, but these two had such close times all the way through the race that would not have been necessary.  The only major difference was the time between Pole Line Pass and Rock Springs runner #16 was almost one hour slower.  He probably stopped to rest.  This section was really hard for me with a steep, short climb at about mile 85.  Rock Springs is also where I dropped our.

Wasatch provides the following pacing chart for -24, -30 and -36 hour pace

   -24 hour
- 30 hour 
-36 hour
Francis Peak18.76 8:30am 9:00am10:00am12:00 NoonYes
Big Mountain39.40 1:00pm 2:30pm 4:00pm 7:00pmYes
Lamb's53.13 4:00pm 7:00pm10:00pm 12:00 MidnightYes
Millcreek (Upper Big Water)61.68 6:00pm10:00pm 2:00am 4:00amYes
Brighton75.6110:30pm 3:00am 7:30am10:00amYes
Pole Line83.39 0:30am 6:00am11:00am 1:00pmYes
Pot Bottom93.13 3:30am 9:30am; 3:00pm 4:00pmNo
The Homestead100 5:00am11:00am 5:00pm 5:00pmYes

The cutoff times are unrealistic.  If it has taken a runner 32 hours to get to mile 83.3, there is no way he/she is going to make the next 16.6 miles in 4 hours.  Running at the cutoff pace would also mean running the final 7 miles in one hour.  I think the reason for the is the cutoffs being this way is that after Brighton, the aid stations are difficult to reach and a long way from the finish.  Pot Bottom is close to the finish.  It is much easier to pick up runners there.  Of course, the easiest thing is to just let the runners that can finish even if they are over the time limit.
I used this same system for 35  and 34 hours.  I did not bother with 32 hours.  I should have stopped the planning right there because that is really all you need to know to be able to run the race.  I was very concerned about water, since I was going to be using a backpack and could not easily monitor how much was left, I decided to calculate how much water I would need between each aid station.  I downloaded the profile of each section of the race and calculated the time it would take me to get from one AS to the next taking into account climbs and descents.  That is, If it is 5 miles to aid station "X" but you climb 3,000 feet to reaching it, obviously it will take much longer than if AS "X" is a 1,000 ft descent.   I created 10 charts using the elevation profile of each section.  I will pick up here in the next post.

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