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2009 Hardrock 100

7/4: walking up 2 flight of stairs to room. out of breath, panting, hard. argh.
7/5: trail marking w Olga @ Virginius. 4WD Drive to Gov Basin from Ouray (part of course) takes 50 minutes?!? Once on the pass, turns out to be fun though. No problems w/ breathing here. Good? Getting worried about trail finding though. Why are there like a dozen people here who tried Barkley before? Are they all crazy?
7/6: checking out Grant Swamp Pass. Still ok. Very pretty.
7/7: checking out Porcupine-Cararact w/ Julian. Legs feel sore and tired. Panting a lot. Worse than yesterday, shouldn’t I get used to this?
7/8-9: sore. tired. lots of panting up the stairs. Very close to panic.
7/10-11: get up 3:30am
0m: everyone is running. Why?
2.3m: first stream crossing. No more dry feet for the next ~40 hrs
3m: Jamil, Kirk Apt overtake me. Wendell falls back, won’t see him again (Wendell considers Hardrock too easy and thus never acclimates to make it a little bit of a challenge …).
7m: first 3840 feet of climbing done, life is good. Run down with celebrity Diane
16.3m: another 3100 feet of climbing accomplished. This ain’t so bad. Coming to Pole Creek. Curious marmots wonder what this crazy huge family is doing out here. 2 magnificent elk. Field disperses, and I don’t see anyone ahead/behind me for a while.
25m: Olga said at race start she’d overtake me at mile 25. Not if I can help it. I keep wondering when she’ll show up.
28.7m: Sherman! A marathon done, with ~9000ft of climb! Not bad, but barely a quarter done – in over 8 hours! I feel tired. This aid station has to be the best equipped one I’ve ever seen. Little “flower” arrangements with gels & goodies on each table, my bag is unpacked and sorted on the table, someone taking my food orders from a long menu! Why leave here? I feel rushed, don’t eat enough, change socks.
30m: on road going up to catch the trail to Handies Peak. I don’t feel terribly strong now. Raining.
34m: Fredx finally overtakes me, with his usual ease. Those legs! He gives me some bogus “yeah you’re on 36 hour pace”. I noticed I didn’t eat enough early on. I am paying, slowing down. More people overtaking me.
36m: The climb to Handies gets steeper and steeper. I can barely move, legs are empty, stopping and panting every few steps now. I start to feel sick – no headache though. Blake Wood+Billy Simpson overtake me, both will finish hours ahead of me.
36.8m: I’m the highest I’ve ever been, first time >14k. The views would be amazing if I didn’t feel so crappy. Blake taking pictures. How often do you meet a legend on a 14k summit? Surreal.
39m: there is another damn climb? I sit down, try to eat, have to wretch. Blake long gone, as are many others. Just get to Grouse, where Chuck is waiting. Snail pace, even downhills are slow.
42.1m: Grouse Gulch. only 14500ft of climb so far, still 20000 to go, and >50m. I feel bad – done. Pondering quitting, but I am far too much ahead of the cutoff. In a regular hundred feeling like this, I’d have 10 miles with 1000 ft of climb to go. I try to remember similar exhaustion so early. Nope.
47.2m: Engineer Pass. It just got dark. The road was easy enough, time passes quickly with good company, we overtook one runner (Chuck calls it trailkill?).
48m: I hear a yelp! Chuck stepped into a hole on a steep grassy cross country downhill. He overbends his knee, says something’s torn. I have a bandage, we apply it. Ouray will be then end for him, miles ahead, he can’t drop earlier. Julian overtakes us, I don’t recognize him.
51m: Every step sounds like walking on broken china plates. Easy runnable downhill? I’m walking. Bear Creek trail scares the hell out of me. The river rushes very far below us, yet closeby. If the darkness makes this easier, I’ll wear diapers during the day. Even walking, I catch one foot behind my other, stumble, almost fall into the dark. Idiot!
56.6m: Ouray. I catch up with Julian, who is taking time with a good refuel. His pacer stops here as well. We leave together, I only feel so-so. Still can’t eat enough. Chuck reassures me I’m on good pace, some number starting with a 3. I don’t even know if I can make it. He does some funky math, but really I know how fast I went in the beginning, and how much I slowed down. It just doesn’t seem to add up …
59m: I don’t remember any of this! The road just goes on and on and on. I feel sick. Julian goes on, I stop to eat, try to get back some energy. We’re not even at the part yet that I remember from driving up here. What?
64.5m: Governor Basin. Must. Eat. Julian leaves ahead of me. Every aid station now has a few exhausted ghosts wrapped in blankets sleeping or just vegetating.
67m: Daylight. Virginius snowfields are frozen, much harder/scarier to climb than before. Tent stakes help! The last pitch has a traverse or a straight rope up. Rope looks cooler, I take it. My god this is hard.
67.7m: Got to be the craziest aid station ever @ 13000ft. The pass has only a few square feet of space. I get a hot chocolate.
71.6m: Catch up with Roger Wrublik (or he catches up with me)? Good times. Steep downhill, but easy footing. He warns me of Oscar’s Pass. Hot. Long. Doesn’t look like anything on the elevation map?
76m: Oscar’s pass ascent. It’s hot. It’s steep! It’s long!! Julian and I are walking together. Not talking much.
77m: We’re not at the damn top yet? What? False summit. I want to scream.
78m: We have to sit down. This is bullshit. Where’s the top? We’re totally spent. Hours of almost complete exhaustion, I am nearing a state of angry despair.
79.2m: Oscars Pass. This was the hardest climb so far, even exceeding Handies. We go down a road – or so they call it. It’s a joke. I wouldn’t drive a jeep up something this steep and ridiculous if my life depended on it.
80m: The snow field across the road is thankfully not very wide. Otherwise I’d soil myself. The drop-off looks deadly, the snow is slippery and hard. Wendell said this scares him the most. Now I know why.
82.4m: Chapman. We hook up with Mark Heaphy, a ten-times veteran and super-nice guy. I look forward to Grant Swamp, the scramble, the lake view. Another runner later will see it and decide to quit. It looks frightening. But it’s doable. I think.
85.3m: The climb was tough, now the final pitch to Grant Swamp Pass. Runners do switchbacks. Mark does, too – he’s smart. I’m not – I want to prove a point and do just one, then go straight up. Takes a lot of energy. Don’t look down. I make it. On the other side, after depositing my rock at the memorial, I start descending the initial pitch my butt. I’ve lost my downhill confidence? Damn.
88m: On the Kamm Traverse. Julian and I did good downhill time. We think 41hrs is possible. KT is scary as I remember it, but thankfully, soon enough, it opens on a wider ledge. Someone at the aid station says he’ll try to go sub 40. Nah.
89.6m: Julian is much stronger on the uphills. I am struggling. No energy. I tell him to go. He will be 30 minutes ahead of me at the finish.
93m: My throat feels like I drank hot acid. I spit up crap. I gasp and wheeze. I am spent. I can barely move. Finally the ridge – downhill from here. Dan Curley moves up behind me, says he wants to break 40. Seems possible now … I overtake him back, stronger on the downhill. We run together, fast (not really, it just feels fast), start overtaking people. He has no flashlight, I give him my headlamp, I have a good handheld. It’s still light and will be until mile 97.
94.9m: Putnam aid station. They say it’s 6 miles (should be 5.7?). 1h45m to go sub 40. No problem? Mark (who we overtook) says it’s very hard. He finished 10 times. Hmmm. Hurry. I only grab a cup of coke, and go. No food. Bad choice.
96m: I run as hard as I can. The trail gets technical, opens up on a traverse of a very steep scree field high up. I’m scared. I walk very fast, run parts of it. In my mind: “you’re the biggest idiot to risk your life to try to get under 40”. I have no good answer for myself. I just keep pushing. I smack my foot against a rock, toenails will be gone. So what?
98.3m: We’re finally at the crossing. Damn this thing is wide. John DeWalt has a bad fall later on here. The current is very strong, but not terribly high this year – just thigh deep. Still it wants to sweep you from your feet angrily. After crossing the freeway, another climb up to Nute Chute seems to go forever. I am spent like I’ve never been spent before. I feel faint, strangely ill. My heartbeat feels funny. We get onto the flat part and Dan says “We have to hurry. We should run”. I want to just lie down, but I run, slowly. It takes forever. Another scree field we traverse. Scary. I thought this was over?
99.7m: The road to the shrine goes on and on. Dan gets worried about the time. We have 9 minutes left. I think he wants to run. If I run, I will die. I feel like fainting. All that keeps me going is that we’re close. But I know when I finish I won’t feel good for a long time. I’m not looking forward to it.
100.5m: 5 minutes to spare below 40hrs. Dan and I run in together – neither of us would have had the determination to go for sub-40 alone. Still, all I can think about is that if I don’t eat and drink I’ll end up in a hospital.

Julian, amazingly strong at the end, finished half an hour before me. Fredx has a great run, coming in at 37:30ish.

This year the course conditions were among the best ever in this race.

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