21 September 2014

LVTC Forest Challenge

This weekend, I ran the LVTC Forest Challenge which is an 11 miler/10K/5K put on by the Las Vegas Track Club.  I opted for the 11 mile race.

The race was inexpensive.  As a non-club member, I paid a whopping $30 as the entry fee with club members getting a $5 discount.

Packet pickup was held at Red Rock Running Company on Friday afternoon.  At the pickup, I got a simple bib and a race tech shirt.  That is a better shirt than I have received at a few much more expensive races.

On Saturday morning, I made the drive up Lee Canyon Road to the parking lot at the Lower Bristlecone Trail.  Paying attention to the pre-race notes, I got there early before the parking lot filled up.  The only pre-race headache was that the neighboring camping area was closed for renovations so the only rest room available was one porta potty next to the camping area.

A few minutes before 8 AM, we were called to the start line for a quick race overview.  The race started on the trail about 25 meters from the parking lot and was an out and back course.  All distances started together.  Once we got the quick directions, an air horn was sounded and we were off.

The first 3.1 miles of the trail were a climb up a rocky fireroad and had a starting elevation of 8,484 ft.  It was a tough slow climb.  Along the way, there were two aid stations with water and Gatorade. One was at the 5K turnaround and the other was at the 3-Mile mark.  After the fire road ended, the course turned into single track and climbed a short steep elevation that took us to our peak altitude of 9,454 ft.

After topping out at the max elevation, the single track began to quickly descend to the turnaround. Going down the single track section was a nice run that took us over some rocky outcroppings and had a steep slope on one side of the trail and a steep drop on the other.  It took us through bristlecone pines and included one small section that had been touched by the forest fire that hit the mountain last year.

The single track entered a section of aspens and continued its descent.  This section was gorgeous due to the fall foliage on the aspens but rocks and roots were a definite hazard and I remembered my wife's words to take it easy and avoid injury with St George two weeks away.  Eventually I came out of the trees and ran through a final open downhill section to the turnaround which was at 8,669 ft and had another aid station with drinks.

After the turn around, climbing back up the singe track was tough.  My legs felt great but I just felt like I couldn't get enough air into my lungs.  However, once I reached the top and started down the last little bit of single track to the fire road, it was game on as I let gravity take over and pushed the pace faster and faster as I barreled down the mountain to the finish.  I crossed the finish line in 2:04:57 which was good for 25 out of 45 finishers and second in the 35-39 age group.

At the finish line, there was a nice spread of snack food and coolers full of water and Gatorade.  I snacked on some food and downed some drinks as I waited on the awards.  Awards were simple but nice and gave me a good idea for our triathlon club races.

Overall, it was a well organized event put on by a local organization on a low budget.  I may need to keep an eye open for their future events.

Next up - Twilight Half Marathon on 9/27

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