Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Choices, choices, choices

No run today in order to get in a little rest. Didn't even bike into work or swim or play ball. Felt good to be lazy for a day. The big question now is what ultra to sign up for? I was going to do Angeles Crest, but I did not realize that it filled up or had a limit. It does. It did. Crap.

So I spent a good part of the evening trying to figure out what 100 miler to do next? And then what races can I fit in the schedule around it? I wanted to do something in September to give me enough time to do a summer training push, but could do something as early as August. Looked briefly at doing one of the "easier" 100's, like Lean Horse, which only has about 7000 feet of climbing, but I want to do races that keep my eligibility for Hardrock and extend it for a year or at least are of that quality. I also want enough time to feel strong for the race and properly train for it. I think my base is good, but I want to get stronger and faster and work more to make sure I don't have a repeat of my recent flameout at North Face.

So, I've narrowed it down to 3 choices: Headlands Hundred, Teton 100, or the Bear. Pros and cons of each:

Headlands Hundred Pros: Easy to get to, can do a training weekend on the trails, run on famous ultra trails like Dipsea and Miwok without the hassle of trying to sign up early enough to get in, beautiful views, good amount of climbing, generous cut offs

Headlands Hundred Cons: Not a hardrock qualifier, comes early for me (August 8) giving me about 2 weeks of training before I have to taper, not one of the "name" races, not in a location I haven't seen before, 50 miles of out and back, then 2 25 mile loops on the same trail (this can be a pro and a con - more on that some other time)

Teton 100 Pros: Hardrock qualifier, beautiful area with beautiful views, great start line and time (at ski resort - would be nice to roll out of bed and onto the start - and to duplicate that for the finish), area of the country I haven't seen much, reasonable amount of climbing (20,000 ft.), generous cutoffs, should be relatively cool, first week of September date still gives 6 weeks for hard training

Teton 100 Cons: 4 loops of a 3 clover leaf course, including one out and back leaf, a total of about 14 miles on a paved road (3.3 miles per loop), lots of cars allegedly on the dirt road portions, dusty, very cold at night, difficult to get to (15 hour car ride or flight plus 1 hour car ride, meaning flight home on 100 mile legs . . . ), race between 7 and 9 thousand feet so lots of altitude training which can be difficult in San Diego in summer

The Bear Pros: Hardrock qualifier, loved race in Wasatch last year, lots of great fall colors, should be cool, 100 miles point to point, haven't seen this part of country, can drive to it, is latest race I'm considering (last week of September) giving me a full 8 weeks of hard training before I have to taper, reasonable elevation gain (22,0000 compared to 27,000 for Wasatch), generous cut offs (35 hours for buckle, 36 to finish), driving means traditional post-race Vegas buffet visit (but see below!), could do Mt. Disappointment as good training gauge

The Bear Negatives: Done the drive before, conflicts with Chargers-Dolphins game (although the race starts on a Friday, so theoretically, I could get on a late Saturday/early Sunday flight and make the game), very cold at night, very hard climbs at end of the race, questions about organization and marking with higher chance of getting lost, probably lousy radio reception, so may not be able to listen to football, etc. during the race

So that's it. Looking it all over, I think it will probably be the Bear, especially if I can hook up a flight back for the Chargers game the next day. I'd have to skip the Vegas buffet, but I think I can find enough stuff at a tailgate to make up for it. It will be difficult walking to the stadium, etc., but maybe that will be half the fun. We'll see . . .

Oh, and all of this goes out the window if Scotty can somehow get me into Cascade Crest, which would be my first and easy choice over all of these

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