In addition to Jed Smith, there are a few key races I will be doing this year that I am really looking forward to.
– Gorge Waterfall 100k: This race is close to Portland, in the Columbia Gorge area near Cascade Locks. I have been hiking in the area before and so I know that it is beautiful. The course has a ton of waterfalls on it as well; you can see them in this video by the Ginger Runner (go to about 2 min. to see the course). It is an out and back with about 12,000 ft. of elevation. I am looking forward to it, as I am traveling up there with some friends and we have rented an airbnb in the Hawthorne district of Portland and we will stay for a couple of days in addition to the race. I am really hoping it does not rain though!
– Lake Sonoma 50M: This race is one of those that always brings the big names. It is an out and back with about 10,500 ft of elevation gain. It is also a Montrail Ultra Cup race, meaning that the top two men and women qualify for an entry into Western States. Last year the top men were Zach Miller, Rob Krar and Sage Canaday. This year there are some good local boys such as Alex Varner and Dylan Bowman. These men will finish in about 6 hours, whereas I will be hanging out about 4 hours behind them. However, it will be fun to be part of such an important race. (This is a good video of the 2014 race by Billy Yang).
– Tahoe Rim Trail 100M: Yes, I did it; I signed up for a hundred mile race. Am I nervous? You betcha. I know I can finish, unless something goes horribly wrong, but I would like to do well. I know it is my first hundred, so my goal should really just be to FINISH. However, I would like to finish well under the 35 hour cut off time if possible. This will be a great race; I have done the 50M before, and the 100M is two 50 mile loops starting at about 7,000 ft. with a max elevation of about 9,500 ft. and a total gain of about 20,000 ft. There will be literally dozens of people there who I know, which I feel will be good motivation to keep moving. This race will be like a huge all night party with all of my friends.
In addition to these, there will be smaller, local races thrown in the mix, as well as times when I will be crewing and pacing friends for their big events. All in all, it is shaping up to be a great racing season and I cannot wait to kick it off!
Do you have any big races on the calendar this year? Will you travel for them or do you normally stay closer to home? If you are not a runner, what big plans do you have for weekend trips this summer?