Wasatch 100

Wasatch 100

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ryan Martin’s 2011 Run Through Time Marathon Salida Colorado

If you are looking for an early season marathon or training race to prep for the summer ultra running season this is a great destination. It takes place in mid-March in Salida Colorado. The course has 6 miles of trail, 8 miles of Jeep road, 11 miles of dirt/gravel, and only 1.5 miles of pavement. As for elevation change is has a 4,950 ft assent and 4,950 ft descent

(The following 4 pictures are of the start area)

(some elite runners below including Nick Clark and Geoff Roes)
The race begins at the old rail track across the Arkansas River near downtown Salida. After a sharp up clime in the first half mile and the quick pavement section the race has a long steady 2000 ft climb up the dirt/gravel road into the foothills above the city to the highpoint at the 10.4 mile aid station and then returns down the same road to mile 13.6. This three mile section if fun for a runner spectator (myself) to watch some the some of the greatest ultra runners in the country fly past on their downhill.
(This about mile 4 on the long dirt/gravel road)

(Views of the Collegiate Peaks)
(Video of Geoff Roes doing the race as a training run)

(The beginning of a steep climb to the 10.4 mile turn around)
(near the top of the climb looking back at the above picture)
(View from the top)
(Video from the top)

After a quick bottle fill at the 13.6 mile aid station the course turns to jeep road that winds up and down numerous hills until it begins a more aggressive down hill with great views of the Collegiate Peaks and the town of Salida.
(Between mile 15 & 18 on the jeep road)
At mile 20.1 aid station, the course switched to the new single track trail that had some great technical sections for the first three miles and one steep climb.
(next two videos and pictures are of the new single track sections mile 21-24)

The last four miles of the single track was mainly a gradual descent to the track and only 1/3 mile to the finish. In the end I was the last sub 5 hour finisher at 4:57:52 in 63rd place.

This was my 5th trip for this race (one year I did the half), and I would highly recommend it to anyone for a great training race, wonderful views, well organized , and it nice to see some of the best ultra runners in the country. When you are done with the race, be sure to enjoy a craft beer and a wood fired pizza at Amica’s.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ryan Martin’s 2011 Mt. Cheaha 50K Race Report

The Mt. Cheaha 50K trail race, which is part of the Montrail Cup, is located near Oxford AL, which is between Birmingham and Atlanta. We arrived in Birmingham on Friday, and after exploring the city, we drove to the race check in. To ensure a good race we had our ritual pizza and a beer which helped us have a good night sleep.

The next morning we were off by 4:50am to Starbucks and then to the finish line for a bus ride (on a caged sheriff bus) to the start. We had perfect weather with sun, temps in the mid 40s, and no wind. Most of the race would be on the Pinhoti trail which is an Appalachian Trail connector from Alabama.

The beginning was great with the trail being covered in pine needles and rolling hills with the company of lots of racers. I was especially happy with my pace on this first part since I made past the first aid (Chandler Springs 3.34 miles) before a train crossed the path and delayed some other runners.

Following the second aid station we had a switch backing climb to a point with some great views of the surrounding hills/mountains. Before we hit the third aid station we were on a fast moving road for about a mile (see video at the bottom of the report).

The next section of the trail was the most challenging and different from western trails. Much of the forest is covered with leafy trees that had fallen on the trail and made it difficult to determine the true trail condition. Underneath the leaves in the next two sections were rocks that were obstructed by the leaves and I had no desire to twist my ankle by trying to go too fast.

For scenery the sections between the Hubbard Creek aid station (mile 18.37), and departing the Lake Chinnabee aid station (mile 21.97) were my favorites. The first part was running along a stream followed by several rolling hills until the descent where we crossed the Chinnabee creek. After a quick out and back, we ran a above the Chinnabee creek overlooking some great summer swimming holes. After a few miles, we reach the Skyway Motorway which was a road that lasted for several miles until we reached the Lake Cheaha aid station (mile 27.9).

After a bottle fill and trash drop it was the last leg of the race to the top of Mt. Cheaha. The first mile was the most challenging with a very steep climb with some scrambling to the top. At the top of the climb, we still had about 1 to 2 miles of running before the finish. In the last stretch, we had some pavement running as we past the summit of Mt. Cheaha before a final section in the woods to the finish. My time was 6:39:24

Personally, I started with an aggressive pace since I had not done a long run since the North Face 50k in December but I had start slowing down about mile 15. This still worked since my goal was to push hard to determine my current conditioning.
In conclusion, The trails were clean, scenery great, well organized, and nice people. I would highly recommend this race.
Below are four videos at various point through the race: