Holy Schleet Batman!
First- hats off to Jared and Ryan and the countless volunteers who make this race possible. What a great course and overall race. The start/finish is perfect!
Okay here we go. I ran the Pokey 50 last year as a member of a 3 person relay. I was lucky enough to draw the 3rd section- which is listed as the toughest leg. This year I ran the 1st section which is considered the “medium toughest” section- the 2nd leg being the easiest. I got in late the night before the race and slept under a pop up canopy with Buffalo Run RD –Jim Skaggs. IT was a sleepless night for me with the wind whipping the canopy walls all night long.
When morning broke I got up and assessed what I was going to wear. The weather was calmer and the clouds were grey but overall the start was pretty nice. I opted for some short shorts, short sleeve race shirt, visor and light windbreaker. From the start we took off down the road and my pace felt relaxed but I couldn’t get a handle on my breathing- it felt forced and labored. I wanted to push myself seeing I was only going 16 miles and knew this would be a great run to prep me for Squaw Peak. I was going to take off my wind shell but soon as I reached for the zipper, I felt a few drops of rain. I thought what the hell and took it off anyway and tied it on my waist. A few more miles into the gradual climb I came around a point and the wind hit me right it the face. WOW! Immediately I reached for my shell and threw it back on. Good thing to because the rain started to pick up. By this time I was running some absolutely stunning single track. I didn’t mind the rain and the mud wasn’t too bad yet. As we started a little decent to the first aid station, the trail got really slick. I got into a line of about 8 or 9 runners and no one could stay up. People were slipping, falling and using the grass and trees close by as emergency turn out lanes. One guy started flailing about and before I could stop he punched my right in the mouth. As uncomfortable as it felt it was kind of funny.
When we hit the first aid station I decided not even to slow down. Once off the service road it turned into some nicer slippery single track. Good thing I didn’t know what I was about to encounter or I may have stopped at the first aid station and stayed. As I looked u ahead I saw “the climb”. There was no trail only a few markers spread going up the mountain. This climb was a real b$#&%! Not only was it pretty steep and no trail but the wind starting picking up - few times it knocked me sideways a bit. The next 60 minutes may have been the longest of my life. I was in short shorts, visor and windbreaker carrying a water bottle which for me sounds about right but I had no idea there would be 40-50 mph winds coupled with sleet the size of BB’s. I let out some primal screams a few times due to the cold and pain I felt when those damn BB’s hit me. My ears were frozen my fingers looked like sausage links and well my skull was frozen- yes Skull. My hair was frozen and I was cold but I have never felt a frozen skull- it hurt like hell! Once on top I took a deep sigh of relief and followed a few people ahead of me only to find out they were lost in the white out. Not good! There were about 10-12 of us wandering around and I was scoping out who may be the first person we would eat. After about 20-30 minutes we found the trail and it took me a good mile to mile and a half to really start to feel like I was running and by that time it was a muddy slip-n-slide. On the decent I went down pretty hard on my stomach (superman style) and got up covered in mud. A few cuts but I was okay. There was a small creek crossing the trail so I decided to lay in it to clean up. It worked and it wasn’t nearly as cold as the top of the mountain. Once we hit a little firmer trail I took off. I felt pretty strong heading into City Creek and my time was 3:40. I figured the time on the mountain cost me at least 30 minutes so I was pretty pleased with the time.
When I got back to Mink Creek I was pretty bummed to see my canopy had blown over and my stuff was soaked- sleeping bag, clothes, bag- everything! DAMN! Right then I remembered I had an extra bag of clothes in the car. Sweet! Once I got cleaned up (thanks Matt and Brandy) I helped around mink Creek and was told the race was cancelled. The weather was just too bad. They absolutely made the right choice! My 2nd leg runner Greg- crushed it! He topped his time from last year by 2 hours!!!! Incredible! Great job Greg! Next year I get #2- right? Unfortunately Matt (3rd leg) was unable to run and this would have been his first experience into trail running. Keep running Matt! Good friend Scott Jaime was leading the race by 5-10 minutes heading into the last leg- I think there would have been a new CR. Great job Jaime!
To top off an already dismal day, when I called home to check in I found out my mom was about to go in for surgery. While I was gone she fell and broke her hip. I got right home and didn’t get to spend too much time talking to people but hopefully I will see you all around this year. Next up Squaw Peak 50!