2010 Bear Chase Trail 50k Race Report
The Bear Chase Trail Race is a Denver metro area trail race located at Bear Creek Lake State Park. Runners may choose between a 10k, half marathon, 50K and 50 mile distances mostly on rolling single-track in the park and between two golf courses. This was the first year of the race directed by Dave Manthey of Runners Edge of the Rockies.
Dave did an excellent job in organizing the race including the promotion, logistics, and execution.
The 50k consisted of two repeated 20k loops and a single 10k loop with 2,050/4,100 ft of elevation gain/change. After taking a short bus ride from the nearby Bandimere Speedway the 50k and 50mile race began partially in the dark at 6:30 a.m. yet headlamps are not needed except getting setup before the race. The first 3 miles are a single-track out-and-back along both sides of Bear Creek It then turns back Southwest through a some open areas and a few paved sections before turning back the 4.5 mile aid station.
After the 4.5 mile aid station we had a slight downhill to mile 5.5 before the steepest climb of the race which was a tall hill next to the Homestead Golf Course. The hill climbed roughly 300-400 ft with switchbacks to the top in a half mile. After reaching the top is had a long descent rounding the hill till it reached the low point of the race where there were three consecutive creek crossings. The creek was about foot deep river stones in the bottom and a slow current. After the last crossing, runners followed a quarter mile cement walking path that finished at the 7.8 mile aid station.
The next 2 miles was a rolling yet gradual uphill single track along Morrison Road to the 10.1 mile aid station. The remaining miles past the aid station included one final climb an out-and-back to final descent to the finish transition area. This last 5 mile section was the most exposed section of the race yet it had great views and was mainly single-track.
The 50k repeated this loop one more time and the 10k loop was the same except one shortcut at mile 3 and it then circled Bear Creek Lake dam to the finish instead of climbing the big hill. 50 mile runners will repeat the long loop 4 times and half marathoners once.
Personally, I wish I could have done better in the race yet I found that 3 weeks is still not enough recovery time after running 100 miler (Wasatch 100). I began running a comfortable pace with the race leaders; however, around mile 6, I began to feel some fatigue. As I began the 2nd lap, the fatigue continued to elevate so I had to slow my pace to comfortable level to ensure a finish. The slower pace paid off by allowing a strong finish on the 10k loop which included a sprint to the finish against another runner who did not want to be passed. In the end I won the sprint finish and had my personal victory.
As a final observation, I would highly recommend the Bear Chase to anyone who wants to get their first experience with either a trail race or their first ultra. Since my camera broke in my last race, checkout the course photos on the race website: http://www.bearchaserace.com/