Sunday, June 20, 2010

#46 Bighorn Mountain 50 KM, Wyoming

At 8:17 AM  the Bighorn Mountain 50 km race began.  It was daunting be out in the mountains with a portable village set up for the Dry Fork Aid Station.  The Dry Fork will be visited by the 100 mile race twice, the 50 mile race once, and the 50 km as a start and again as an aid station.
The day was cloudy and a nice 41 degrees at the start and only got better as the day went on.
At the start we were at 7,100 feet elevation and within three miles were at 8800'.  Lot's of snow at the higher elevation, but the views were spectacular.  Of course from the top we plummeted down the mountain to around 6,400' to the Kern's Cow Camp Aide Station at 9 miles.  This is the common point for all the races heading to the finish.
From here we headed back to the Dry Fork A.S. (14 miles) on a different trail.  From the Dry Fork we ran upward for several miles, then down to the Upper Sheep Creek at mile 19 (7420').   Note the wildflowers were in abundance.  Now the next A.S. is at 5,025' and 24 miles.  One would think this will be a great down mountain run, NOT.  We ran fairly level for a mile until arriving at the "HAUL".  The HAUL was a straight up the mountain for a good 1/2 mile.  I was crawling and gasping for oxygen with my heart rate a pounding and my head a thumpin.  I had to stop half way and sit and rest.  A fellow runner came by and told me it was all down hill once I got to the top....Right.
He was correct and we plunged down to Lower Sheep Creek A.S.
From here we continued to drop elevation all the way to the finish line:  Tongue River Trail Head 26.2 mile - 5025'), Home Stretch (29 miles - 4250'), and the exhilarating finish at Scott Park in Dayton (31 miles - 4150').
I consider this a very tough course, however the beauty of the course has to be one of the greatest I have run.
Of the trail races I consider as the toughest, Mountain Masochist Trail 100, VA; this one would be a little tougher and I would think the 100 version of the race would be a challenge.
It was a great feeling finishing this race in 7:54:38 for 90th of 160 overall and 3rd/7 for 60-60 age group.  Again, 1 short of an award.
If you love trail running this is a must.

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