1) Safety-As I ran the miles of pavement and dirt roads replacing the beautiful singletrack from Rock Springs to Pot Bottom, I couldn't help but think of how dangerous this section could be during the day. Imagine a nice fall day, with hundreds of people driving the Cascade Springs road, and hundreds of runners and their pacers trying to share that road. Imagine a hot fall day, 85 miles into the experience of a lifetime, plodding along in the heat with NO shade or cover of any kind.
2) Simplicity-The Wasatch 100 website states: "Due to issues related to crossing private land the Wasatch 100 will no longer be able to finish at the Homestead in Midway." I understand that the private land issues are in Lime Canyon, which is located after the Pot Bottom Aid Station, during the last 4-5 miles of the course. So why did the course change all the way up at Rock Springs? Why not keep it the same to Pot Bottom, then go right (down canyon) on the Wasatch State Park road, and join the new finish to Soldier Hollow? I have limited map reading abilities, but it only took me a few minutes to see what seemed to be a much simpler solution. Are there other issues at stake? The two I can think of off the top of my head deal with the Rock Springs Aid Station and the Dive and the Plunge. If there ARE other issues, it would be nice to gain clarification on what they are.
3)Reputation- Wasatch has the reputation as being one of the toughest 100 mile races out there. A good part of it stems from the brutal toughness of the last 25 and last 15 miles of the race. While the race will still be one of the toughest out there, the new route definitely tames it, and I feel diminishes some of the aura surrounding the Wasatch 100.
Now, this is my own opinion. I know there are a lot of other opinions out there, and there are plenty of people who may think I am being nit-picky, ungrateful to the efforts of the race-committee, a "snob", and so-on and so-forth. Others will say "Who cares, what's the big deal? There are other hard races with lots of dirt roads, pavement etc,." Many of you will never have run Wasatch. Others will have run multiple versions of it. There are many opinions out there, and I welcome hearing them all.
I am grateful to the Race Committee and John Grobben for their tireless work in creating and maintaining one of the coolest yearly events that I know of. I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to participate in something like this that has completely changed and helped define my life since my first running in 2005. Regardless of the finish, I look forward to Chinscraper, Alexander Ridge, Bare Ass Pass, Red Lovers Ridge, Catherine Pass and everything in between. I am just confused and a little concerned as to why this incredible section from Rock Springs to Pot Bottom has to change.
I would love to hear any and all opinions. This has the potential to ruffle some feathers, so please keep the dialogue civil, and don't make anonymous comments, if anyone cares to respond.
Here's a map with the new route, and the route keeping things the same until Pot Bottom.
DOWNLOAD THE KML
New Route- Red.
Possible connector from Pot Bottom to to New Route- Blue and/or Orange