Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Escarpment to Lyons Ridge (Miles 3.5 to 10.5)...185 days to go!

I promised I'd provide a course tour that mirrored the donations I've received to the Wounded Warrior Project, but thanks to the generosity of so many of you, I'm about 20 miles behind! That's right--we've raised $2,350 toward my $10,000 goal in a little over two weeks. I can't thank you enough...but given how much farther I have to go to reach my goal, I also welcome your donations to the link posted above or along the right side of the blog! Today's post will feature the second stage of the Western States 100 race.

They don't match up, but the image on the right shows the eastern half of this stage, while the image on the left shows the western half.

This second stage, from Escarpment to Lyons Ridge, is the second longest stage of the day, at seven miles. Only the fourth stage, from Miles 16.0 to 23.8, is longer.

We'll climb about six hundred feet from the first aid station at Escarpment to an elevation exceeding 8700 feet. This is the highest elevation we'll reach all day. At the peak, a look to the west will reveal the next thirty miles of the course ahead of us.

Make no mistake, however...this seven mile section involves the first serious bout of downhill running, a chance to destroy the quads just two hours into the race. Just like the Boston Marathon, it's the uphills that get the publicity...but the downhills that do a runner in in the end.

This stage is a ridge-running section, full of single track dirt paths through expanses of tree-less land. Because we're in the highlands, we'll probably have to combat sections of snow, despite it being June 25th. As you can see in the video below, some years are worse than others! 2010 was so snowy that runners were diverted off the normal course about 1 1/2 miles from the Lyons Ridge aid station for the next 15 miles to avoid the deepest snow. This detour led runners to a flatter, faster course, and no doubt contributed to the record-shattering performances of the race leaders.

Dropping a net 1700 feet over 6 1/2 miles from the peak of Escarpment, the Lyons Ridge aid station sits at approximately 7,000 feet of elevation. The leaders will arrive at this, the second aid station, about 1 hour 35 minutes into the race. They'll have run 10 1/2 miles. Those chasing silver belt buckles will arrive 35 minutes later, at 7:10 a.m. A 30 hour runner should arive by 7:40 a.m. The Lyons Ridge aid station doesn't close until 10 a.m., but those arriving at aid station close will already have missed the closing of the next aid station at Mile 16. Runners departing Lyons Ridge have 89.7 miles until the finish line!

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