Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peterson Ridge Rumble

This past weekend I headed east, over the mountains to the Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 mile trail race in the great little town of Sisters, Oregon.

I had planned to just sleep in the back of my truck at the start area, as I couldn't leave Portland until close to six Saturday night, and setting up camp or getting a room seemed like more trouble than it was worth.  But when Yassine called and said there was room to crash in Dan Olmstead's suite down the hall from him at the Best Western, and that recent running bud Nick Triolo and his friend Nathan Blair were crashing there as well...well I couldn't pass that up.

I got into town, found the room, caught up with those guys, watched some gripping TV, and got to bed by about 10:30 with an alarm set for 6.  Perfect.  I slept OK, waking up about 3:30 needing to eat, but felt really rested when it came time to get ready.  A little breakfast and getting things together and we were off.  Being around everybody, even if only for a little bit, really made the pre-race routine much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Check-in went smooth, the weather was looking to be just perfect--cool and cloudy--and before long everyone was crossing the parking lot to the start area.  RD Sean Meissner said a few things and we took off.

Ready to Rumble!
(photo Erica Wagner)
40 miles would be only my third run of at least this distance, so I wasn't sure how to attack it.  My race plan was pretty simple.  Go out fast then find a good pace, take a gel every twenty minutes, stop at an aid station only for refills, and hang on as long as possible...

After a few very fast dirt road miles we finally hit a stretch of single track in a group of four (Dan Olmstead, Jace Ives, Nick Triolo, and myself), with Yassine a minute or two in front.  We ran together for a while, trading places, and kind of feeling things out.  The pace was fast (6:30s), but seemed reasonable.  I was taking my gels like clockwork, and I felt pretty good, but after a few miles, Dan and Jace pushed to catch Yassine and Nick had dropped back a bit, and for the first time I was running by myself.

At the 11.7 mile aid station I was suprised to see the guys in the lead just leaving as I was coming up to it.  I managed to keep them within a minute for about another 4-5 miles through a little lollypop/out and back section of the course, but they slowly pulled ahead and were gone.  I got a little mixed-up course-wise leaving an aid station in kind of a busy part of the course where there are a bunch of 20-milers coming at you the other direction, but I figured it out and kept rolling.

By around mile 20 I was starting to feel a bit off.  Not nauseous, not crampy, not even really bonky, just like I didn't have the top gear I had been able to go to for the first part of the race.  The pace was catching up to me.  I didn't want to slow down, because I knew Nick wasn't far behind, so I kept sucking down the Gu and sucking it up.  However, by the time we hit the long, straight, flat dirt road before the only real climb on the course (a grinder of a road to the 30 mile AS) I couldn't keep Nick from passing me.  I let him go and another guy too, and just hoped I could gather myself on the climb ahead and maybe get to him before the finish.

The climb was tough.  Nick slowly crept out of sight (nice running Nick!), and by the top he was nowhere to be seen.  I knew the final 10 miles had a lot of downhill, so I just kept eating and drinking and hoping my legs would come back.  

The last part of the race seemed to go by fast.  The trail back down the hill is scenic and I find it a lot of fun.  It wasn't long before I was back at the middle school and making my way around the track.  I hit the finish line in just under 5 hours--4:58:44--and a sub 7:30 overall pace.  My fastest ultra by far.  In fact, I hit a marathon PR by a couple minutes, and a 50k split more than 20 minutes faster than my PR at that distance.  

Dan Olmstead won in an amazing 4:26:26 (must be the prunes...), holding off Yassine by less than a minute.  Nick finished a solid 4th in 4:48:49, and Nathan broke his 6 hour goal easily in 5:51.  

Great races guys!  I had a blast!

Heading to Turkey with the family at the end of the week for the rest of April.  I hope to get a few good runs in while I'm there.  Then back at it for Mac Forest on May 14.


1 comment:

  1. Great run Joe! You're a strong runner and I see plenty more solid performances in your future. Wishing you and the family an adventurous, relaxing vacation in's awesome! Talk soon :-)