Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Speedgoat 50K, "The Toughest 50K in the U.S."

I registered for the Speedgoat (Toughest 50K in the U.S. according to race director and ultra running stud, Karl Meltzer) back in March or something, thinking I'd have plenty of time to get my milage up and actually prepare for the race.  Last year was a bit of a disaster, with the result being me on the ground on my driveway in full body cramps calling my wife for assistance into the house.  This year, a full work schedule and a huge snow year conspired to prevent a lot of sport specific training.  

We have managed a few good runs (Trans Zion, Ragnar as an ultra, and a couple in the 20 mile range with JD, Layne, Tanner and the Samurai), but the rest (a couple/week) have been of the 30-45 minute range as convenience dictates after work.  Thus, it was to my great surprise that today's race went about as smoothly as I could have hoped.  


The race was full with 250 participants.  The weather was forecasted to be warm but overcast skies and the threat of rain kept temps in a reasonable range. 

Start: 6:30AM

First Climb to Hidden Peak: 1:48.  I ran this section mostly with Chris C and Chuck K.  We kept it conversational and tried not to get ahead of ourselves.  The snow section above the Little Cloud lift was completely manageable with kicked steps and softish snow.  A fixed rope was in place for those unaccustomed to snow travel.  

Descent into Mineral Basin:  I lost a lot of time here as CC ran away from me.  The goal was to "manage" the down hill in an effort to save the legs.  Not sure that was worth it.  

Climb out of Mineral/Descent into Mary Ellen: From the aid station, I could see the leaders climbing back up Mineral in the wrong direction.  They missed the fairly well marked turn and lost 15+ minutes.  The descent into Mary Ellen Gulch was rocky and steep but better than the wrong turn we all took last year. 

Turn around (Pacific Mine aid station): I was still feeling pretty good at this point.  I drank some broth, ate a popsicle and was back out on the trail.  Last year, I sat down on a lawn chair and couldn't be persuaded to get up for quite some time.  

Climb back to Mineral Basin: This is a LONG rocky uphill section that most people fast hike.  There were very few runnable sections.  Near the top, the sun poked out and I managed the heat by packing snow in my shirt.  

Climb out of Mineral and to the tunnel:  For some reason, Karl put a 500+ ft "booter" up a 40 degree grass slope.  This made me feel more at home even though there wasn't any snow.  

Descent from the tunnel and climb back up to Hidden Peak: Steep down, steep up.  I made the decision to leave my pack at Hidden Peak the first time through and only had two gels for the whole race (on top of the aid station provisions).  Could have used an extra on this final climb.  

Descent from Hidden Peak to finish line: CC, Jason from OR, and I left about the same time.  Pretty soon it became apparent that I was going to bring up the rear of this trio.  A stitch kept the pace at bay but the legs were willing.  

My time was 6:35 and change, which was 45+ minutes faster than last year and good enough for 7th place today.  

Big ski days and a few long runs saved the day.  Next year with more specific training...??

Full results here.

And here's a hand drawn topo from the race website which very accurately shows the steepness of the ascents and descents.

I'll post more pics/links as they become available. 


~31 miles
10-11K(?) vertical climb
Pre race McSkillet burrito from Micky D's
12 electrolyte tabs
3 Liters EFS drink
Orange slices
Potato Chips
Shots of Coke, Red Bull, Sprite, and ginger ale
3 gels
PBJ sandwich bites
1 popsicle
And a few gulps of water from an irresistible stream.


  1. Awesome result Andy. You killed it!

  2. Nice work Andy!