I met Peter at his house to catch a ride. Fred Reimer had graciously offered to give Peter a ride and I took the offer for an open seat. We also picked up Kevin Shilling on the way. Fred immediately washed away any pre-race jitters with his wit and dry humor and had me laughing with in a few minutes. Kevin made me laugh even more with his I am just going for a long run demeanor, I had to chuckle to myself as he was digging around in his waist pack mumbling that he thought he had some chips or something stashed away that he might want to eat during the race. The ride passed quickly and before I knew it we were at the starting line.
The weather was cool, just about perfect running weather. I talked with a few people, and then it was time to get running. I lined up with Peter hoping I could keep him in my sights, but soon after the start he quickly pulled away and he disappeared into the darkness, I was smart enough to back off and I quickly settled in with a group of runners going my pace. I soon realized I was running behind Michael Stevens from Idaho who I had met a few weeks prior on a training run, I said a quick hello and we settled back into a steady run. No one was in the mood to chat so we just motored along and started the long climb up to the ridge. Michael set a study but slightly slow pace, which of course is perfect for a start of a 100-mile race like Wasatch, a few eager beavers passed but the rest of us just followed behind Michael. I finally pulled off to take a nature break and I soon found myself running alone so I turned the headphones and cruised up Chinscraper and along the ridge. There was a strong wind blowing from the north, a little cold but not to bad.
Everything was going great and then as I went to drink some water from my Nathan pack, nothing came out, I was out of water. I had already drank 50oz plus a 16 oz bottle of water, I didn’t panic because they usually have a water only station at around 10 miles and they did this year so it worked out, but I should have made a bigger mental note of how fast I was sucking water down. I caught up with Brian Hamos about the time we hit the radar domes and chatted with him for a while and then put the headphones back in for the long descent to Francis Peak AS. Everything went smoothly until some time after the long climb from the Session Lift Off AS. I really wanted to keep well hydrated in this section because a lot of people get in trouble because the running is fairly easy and you tend to push and you are exposed a lot to the wind and sun. So about three to four miles from Swallows Rock AS I ran out of water again. I had let the lady at the last aid station fill my Nathan pack and I opted not to fill my water bottle. Bad move, I had to back way off the pace and run with no water for the next 45 minutes. Too some people no water for 45 minutes is no big deal, but the way I sweat it is. Luckily the weather was fairly cool and by backing off the pace I managed not to do too much damaged, just felt a little silly making such a big mistake in a 100 mile race. For the rest of the race I filled my own hydration pack and made sure it was filled to the brim.
I ran into Big Mtn. aid station at 1:48 making a conscious effort to stay calm and get out of there quickly, last year I got caught up in the excitement and felt a little sick write after I left, so this year I said hello to a few friends, kissed the wife and was out of there in two minutes. The next section Big Mtn. to Lambs was boring and a little hot, I just tried to relax and get through it. I ended up at Lambs at 5:04, changed my shoes from Hardrocks to Streaks and headed out for the Lambs canyon road. I was really pumped for the next section because I knew I would be basically out of the sun for the rest of the race and I was ready for the coolness of Lambs Pass and I really like the climb up from the east side. It didn’t disappoint me, perfect early evening power hiking weather. As I neared the summit a runner passed me running literally full steam, I had passed him sometime after Alexander Basin AS, and he didn’t look well then, now he was running like he was in a 50k, go figure, I yelled at him that he was doing great and he soon disappeared over the summit. I hit Elbow Fork and ran most of the road up toward Millcreek AS. I talked to Rich McDonald as he was driving down from crewing Kevin and he said Kevin and Peter were running great with Kevin around 30 minutes ahead of Peter.
I hit one small problem when I hit Millcreek, no crew. My wife was not to be found. I had thoughts of just going on but luckily came to my senses. I had no more gu, power gels and only had arm warmers on for warmth. I just sat down not sure what I really could do but wait a while and see if she would show up. Luckily I asked a lady that was driving down if she could check the lower parking lot and see if my wife had arrived. She had! My wife felt so bad, but I quickly assured her no big deal, got my food and jacket and headed off. I only lost maybe 10-15 minutes. I could see my breath as I climbed. It was very cold as you crossed the lower streams but it was getting warmer as I gained vertical and there was no wind so it was easy to stay warm as long as you kept moving. It was complete darkness as I neared the halfway point to Dog Lake. Even though I had my headphones on I thought I heard a baby crying, and sure enough coming down the trail in complete darkness was a family with a newborn and they had no lights, obviously they had miss judged sunset. I felt bad for the baby and wanted to scream at the dad but managed to keep my mouth shut and just kept on climbing. I passed Desolation at 9:40pm and there seemed to be an abnormal amount of people that were probelms at the AS, I decided to get out of there quickly. I ran alone to Brighton arriving at 11:58pm.
My wife filled me up with supplies, I drank a bit of broth and headed out with my good friend George who would be my pacer for the last section. I was feeling tired but ready to tackle the last 25 miles. We followed Phil Lowry and his pacer up through Brighton. We passed two guys drinking Coronas on the beach at the summit that were cheering the racers as they passed. George and I ran the last 23 miles alone and it sometime seemed like we were in our on private race. We never really saw anyone accept two runners we passed just before the turn off to Pot Bottom. We were taking a little to long in the aid stations but I was ahead of my schedule so we took extra time at Pole Line and Pot Bottom. I figured it was a luxury I would take for being so far ahead of last years pace. I think most people would just call is lazy.
George and I set a fairly strong pace in the last seven miles and crossed the line at 27:12. It was really different finishing a little earlier than last year as only a few people were at the finish, so it felt like it was just George my wife and myself to celebrate at the finish. A very mellow finish to a overall very mellow race. Kevin and Peter as usual ran stellar races, Peter taking another big chunk of time of his PR. Kevin getting another sub 24 finish. Michael Stevens must have had a great race as he finished in 26:28. Jason Berry and Brian Hamos both finished their first Wasatch 100 with Brian’s being his first 100 mile race. Have to give the usual thanks to all the volunteers as they did another stellar job. A quick mention of the overall winner Geoff Roes, a 20:01 time, no pacer no crew, first time racing the course. I call that getting it done in style, truly amazing. Congratulations to everybody that finished he race. Hope to see you next year.