- Jun 24, 2011
- Western States…Here we Come!
The last weekend in June is always a big one in the ultra running world, as the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Trail Run begins Saturday morning at 5am sharp from the base of Squaw Valley. The “Super Bowl” of ultra running follows a 100-mile route over rugged Sierra Nevada footpaths, and generally features over 18,000 feet of cumulative climbing (The course can change slightly in heavy snowfall years) as the race makes its way down to the foothills town of Auburn, CA.
This is an exciting year for us here in Team Clif Bar land as we have an unprecedented number of TCB athletes starting the race. The Clif and Shot-powered Montrail team brings 2010 winner Geoff Roes, Ellie Greenwood, Joelle Vaught, Amy Sproston, Erik Skaden and a host of others, all of whom will most definitely be looking for podium finishes. TCB running legend Dave Mackey and local wunderkind Eric Johnson will also be in the hunt for top spots.
One thing is sure: The runner who wins the overall will need to slog through 25 miles of snow without exhausting himself, since you could probably still ski Squaw top-to-bottom if you picked the right line. It’s deep.
So, yesterday afternoon, I had the good fortune of throwing my podmate Ricardo into the truck and driving up to Squaw, where the Montrail boys, Jimmy and Jesse were hosting a feast for their team and their support crews. It was a great excuse to make a quick trip to the mountains, for sure, but the event also provided us with a unique opportunity to say hello to the athletes and wish them luck in person, and make sure they had the food they needed for the race. Plus, it’s always fun to travel with Ricardo because he makes me laugh and dresses stylishly. Anyway…It was super-fun to see how friendly and laid-back the ultra scene is, even on the eve of one of the sport’s biggest events. In fact, the Montrail guys even invited Kilian Jornet, Solomon’s amazingly talented young runner who also happens to be the guy who presents the biggest challenge to a Roes repeat. That just doesn’t happen in other sports.
As the night wore on, the kitchen in the Montrail house became a who’s who of ultra running talent. And it was a weird feeling to know that within the next 40 hours, most of the people in the room were going to run 100 miles, and most likely the overall winner was within earshot.
As we fired up the truck to make the drive back down to the Bay Area, Ricardo and I both had the same thought: “I’m glad I’m not running that thing!”
Best of luck to all the folks running at Western States this weekend!
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