Monday, January 21, 2008

Calico 50K 2008 Race Report

Before race picture, (taken by Karen's camera)

Okay, I admit it!  I'm afraid of cold.  What can I say, I'm just a warm climate person.  So, when we decided to do Calico, I was mentally prepared for "frigid" conditions. I heard that last year, they had 11 degrees temperature and 20 miles per hour winds at the starting line. So, I wore two pairs of tights, gloves, with a poly long sleeve undershirt and our green ATB shirt on top. And, in my drop bag, I stashed thicker gloves, a beanie hat, arm warmers, a wind jacket, and more shirts. I thought, that ought to do it!

On race morning, I got up at 2:00 am, mostly because I couldn't sleep from the excitement; and left the house at 3:00 am for the one and a half hour drive to Calico. I stopped in Barstow to take a nap and got to the Calico Ghost Town by about 5:30 am. One of the advantages of being so crazy early is that I parked really close to the stairs leading up to the start/finish line. It was really cold, so after braving the elements to get my race packet, I retreated to the warm cocoon of my car until just before the start. 

When I finally emerged from the warmth of my car and appeared at the frigid starting area, most of my fellow ATBer's were already there. It was great to have 14 of us doing the race together. We took a group picture.  The race announcer counted down to zero, but the guy holding the starting gun wasn't paying attention. Hello, hello!!  Here's something new, I don't think I've ever had this happen before. But, being so conditioned by our civility, we actually waited for the gun and took off a few seconds after zero. 

The course went down hill immediately, I took off like a caged bird. I passed a whole bunch of people until I could see the leaders just up the road. With my new found speed, I was cruising along with ease. We were actually on asphalt for about a few miles before we went onto dirt. After the short down hill at the start, the course went gradually up hill for the next 15 miles or so. I kept a pretty good pace for the entire 15 miles. I knew I was up there with the 50k leaders because I passed Kyle Hoang (4th overall) right at the start, and when he finally passed me back just after the 1st aid station, I was able to followed him for a few miles. That was cool! 

From reading the course description and looking at the elevation profile, I though the course went gradually up hill and then back down in about the same way. Boy, was I wrong. I though I could just charge up the incline and then rest my up hill legs and let my down hill legs take over on the second half. But, there was a lot more up hill on the second half than I thought. 

I had to finally let Kyle pull away from me, he was just too fast. I was doing great until my lower calves cramped up slightly. I scaled back my speed and ran/walked the last three miles up to the highest point of the course. I was trying to rest the legs and hope that they would recover.

The wind really kicked up just before the summit, I was getting cold because I took off the long sleeve poly shirt and left it at an aid station. I put on the arm warmers I grabbed from my drop bag and kept them on for the remainder of the race. The double tights kept the wind out and was not too warm and uncomfortable. I thought that was a good call.

I was in survival mode on the second half and was worried that my legs won't last the entire race. I ran/walked most of the hills on the second half. People were passing me but I didn't mind. Finally, I saw the parking lot.  But the course went away from it and then looped back, ugh. Then, at the very end, the road went up a very steep incline. That was mean!  Then it gently descended to the finish line. Hallelujah.

I learned that there is no "easy" 50k. You have to respect every course. It would have helped tremendously if we pre-ran the course; but that was next to impossible. But, next year it would be better. 

I waited at the finish area for all the other 50k ATBer's to come in.  They rocked!  If you were at the race, you probably saw a large group wearing green shirts; that's us. Most of us PRed, some were doing their first 50K. The winds kept blowing harder and harder, until at one point it toppled one of the huge loud speakers. I kind of felt bad for the people still out on the course. 

I had a lot of fun, it was a great way to spend my weekend with my friends.

After race picture (from Karen's Camera)


Kylie said...

Congrats on a great day out there. I was also surprised by the second half of the course!

Thanks for helping me get out there and do my first (but not last) ultra!

Ted said...

Kylie, congrats to you for your first ultra. You are awesome!

Bernie said...


Caryn and I read your comments and really enjoyed them.

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