(All photos Marge Norrander)
I had the honor of pacing Erik the last 52 miles of the Bighorn 100 this weekend. Erik finished 6th place overall in a time of 22:18. Mike Wolfe took first place and also set a new course record of 18:43. The course had a little snow but lots of mud and plenty of loose rocks to make sure you kept your eyes on the trail in front of you, which was hard with all the amazing scenery the Bighorn course had to offer.
This was a tough 100 for Erik, a very large blister had developed on his left heel 4 miles into the race which made climbing very painfull and the wet and muddy sections only added insult to injury. He was also dealing with very sore knees and hips even at the halfway mark. We didn't talk much after the first couple of hours and I didn't try to push him to much just kept him moving through aid stations and helping him anywhere I could. I could tell Erik was fighting internal thoughts of doubt that all 100 mile racers go through at one time or another. You know the questions, why do these races, what's the point, these 100s hurt to dam much. Not to be to dramatic or overly sentimental but I think we will find the answers to those questions as time passes and we remember the great moments overwhelmed at the time by the pain and struggle. For me those moments during this race was stopping for a minute and turning off the lights and looking at the brilliant Wyoming night sky, or running a amazing single track trail along the fast moving Tongue river with a good friend feeling terrible but loving every second of it.