The seventeenth stage of the Western States 100 continues the descent to the American River, from the Ford's Bar aid station to the Rucky Chucky Near station at Mile 78.
This stretch of the course is beautiful, and it's fast. Unlike prior downhill stretches, this section is runnable. The American River runs to runners' left, and for many of us, the sun will be setting or will already have faded away for the day as we jockey for position down to the river crossing.
There isn't a lot of room in a few stretches to make passes, which led to the hilarious warning given to slower runners by the runner I paced last year as we approached: BEEP BEEP BEEP.
The leaders will hit the river around 5:15 PM. 24 hour runners will arrive over five hours later, at 10:40 PM, with 30 hour pacers showing up just before dawn at 4:00 AM. The aid station closes at 5:00 AM. Over 22 miles lie ahead to the finish line.