Today I was supposed to be riding 508 miles across Death valley in the second part of the Death Valley Cup, a race called the Furnace Creek 508. I decided to drop from the trip about a month ago and it was definitely the right call. With the UTMB training leading me right up to September I hadn't had a chance to do any serious riding and wasn't going to be able to until just a few weeks before the race. To turn up in LA with little to no training would have been insulting to the race and frankly pretty stupid. Frank is there however and starts riding in just a few hours time. He's done a handful of 200+ miles plus a 300 miler in training so I reckon he's got himself in good enough shape to get through it and he has certainly got it where it counts, in the head.
This last couple of weeks Ive been winding down a bit towards the 100 next weekend. Im pretty excited about it although my preparations have been derailed by three nights of heavy boozing in Portugal and a subsequent illness. To be honest Im not in great shape but I have put the necessary groundwork in to get through a 100 with three mara/ 50km weekends in a row and a good amount of weekly training on top. I guess Im not as motivated to turn in the volume of training for a local low key race like this, in regards to say Western States or Leadville which is wrong. If I did apply myself fully I think I could do pretty well.... There is no way I would have hit the bar for 72 hours straight within 2 weeks of Badwater or a Desert.
Expectations? Firstly to finish, Secondly to break 24 hours. Caesars Camp has 15200ft of gain and the same descent. That puts it right in the middle of the range of 100s out there at the moment, with Rocky Racoon/ umstead forming the 'easiest' courses with 5000 - 8000ft of gain and UTMB/ Hardrock forming the upper end at 30000 - 33000ft of gain. I ran the Old Dominion 100 in a time of 24:58 which had 14000ft of gain so I am hoping that I can equal or better that time at CC. 24 hours is a reasonable target I think but if things go slightly off of plan I know I will find myself struggling to break 26.
I have Webbo coming down to join me in the small hours as we're allowed pacers through 60 miles onwards. Its going to be weird running 10 laps of 10 miles but I think that might help me. Mentally it will be tough but Im used to doing laps after the Relay 100km (20 x 5km) last year and Rocky Raccoon (5 x 20 miles). I will be behind to start with, people will put a lot of time into me in the first 6 - 10 hours but Im pretty sure if I can at least stay in touch I can do pretty well here on a good day.
Tapering continues this week with a couple of 8ish milers this weekend and then 4 - 8 miles per day until Thursday when Ill stop for good.
Killian Jornet set the record for the quickest ascent/ descent of Kilimanjaro this week. He made it the 47 miles from base camp to the summit and back in a time of 7 hours 14 minutes. 5:23 to the top and 1:41 back down. Thats an hour and 41 minutes to run 23.5 miles. With Geoff Roes and Anton Krupicka this kid is on a totally different level.