This race was definitely a spur of the moment decision. In fact, we didn't tell anyone we were coming. Believe it or not the Bair Gutsman was not only my first trail race but my first race ever 30 YEARS AGO! I know, hard to believe but I did the Bair Gutsman in 1980 when I was 10 years old and then again a year later. So we drove the 8 hours on Friday morning, ran the race Saturday morning, then drove back yesterday. Whirl wind trip but fun to see family and friends.
Shane Martin and I post race
Here's how the race shook out:
About 250 people lined up at the church on mountain road in Fruit Heights. It's about a mile and 1/2 on the road (uphill) before the single track started. This allows for runners to spread out and avoid congestion, for the most part. Right from the start I knew I would be battling with a bunch of local high school runners to get to the trail first... As much as I tried to get out in front we went through the first mile in 6:20 (uphill) and I was forced to get behind 12 of them at the start of the very narrow single track.
Even before the race started I knew I would have to beat all of them up the 4700 ft climb by at least a minute in order to have any chance of winning. Because once you hit the top, it's another 6 mile decent on smooth dirt road (high school runners have more leg speed than a 40 y.o.) to the finish.
Sure enough about 20 minutes into the climb, the guys in front started to walk/hike which made it real slow 12 places back. So I took advantage of two small stream crossings; as they tried to tip toe across, I plowed through the water, leap frogging all them but one. 35 minutes into the climb I was all alone with one other guy, Jared Ward. Turns out, Jared Ward runs track for BYU in the 5 and 10,000 meters and has cranked out a sub 30 10K. I didn't know it at the time but I could not get rid of him on the steepest of climbs. I was running everything and as soon as I gapped him, he would sprint back up to me in no time at all. By the top (4690 elevation gain - 6 myles), I had 15 seconds on him and at least 2 minutes on the eventual 3rd place guy. I hit the top in 1.17:03.
Now for the hard part, just letting the legs spin as fast as they can. This part of the race shares the same road (Francis Peak) as the Wasatch 100 all the way down to the green shed. It drops ~2000 ft in 6 myles, so not too steep. Even though I had been doing speed work I knew I needed more than 15 seconds to beat a college or high school aged kid. Sure enough Jared passed me just after the first mile on the decent. I gave everything I had to stay with him but my legs would not carry me any faster. My time for the final 6 myles was 34:18 (5:43 pace) and Jared still beat me by 50 seconds, 1.50:27. Both of us, however, crushed the previous CR by 9 minutes. ....or maybe not. Results are hard to come by online so this CR was just word of mouth.
Top 10 - look at all this youth! Good to see on the trail.