We are now four days out from the Bighorn trail races and I'm counting the hours until the fun begins. With insane snow levels in the Bighorn mountains (something like 350% of normal), the new courses have been laid out. As I had presumed, the 50K course remains relatively unchanged, with only the opening miles changed. I'm happy with that, though it eliminates a small climb which is compensated with what appears to be a slightly longer course. Since it's never been run, I can't say with certainty how long it will be, but I'm guessing it'll be roughly 33 miles. As KJ would say, "more kilometers, more fun."
Physically, each day is a new day, and I'm learning to deal with general fatigue. With my mileage really beginning to pick up, I need to focus on getting more sleep (easier now that I have finished up my last class of the spring and have some more time this summer). I also want to try to focus on eating better, not that I eat poorly, I actually eat quite well thanks to my wife who is an excellent cook. Still, I need to snack better, and be sure to take in calories directly post run. I'm generally pretty good about it, but I need to make more of an effort to make sure I don't miss it as I don't have the opportunity to just relax and take a week off.
As for the actual race this weekend, I'm cautiously optimistic. The course seems to play to my strength as a downhiller, and with the sloppy conditions, it *should* mean that the speedsters should not be able to really put leg turnover into the mix. That leaves the less talented, less mentally stable folks like myself who love the unpredictability of running downhill as fast as possible with unsure footing. The last race I really had a good amount of this (despite PDX's short mudslide) was Hellgate's opening bombers. I had a great time running with Karl during those descents and I plan to take the same "devil may care" attitude here. Competition wise, there are a few guys to catch my eye after running through the list, but you never really know. The 50K has generally been a pretty slow race, but last year's 2nd place finisher JD Warren will be back for another shot.
We'll be heading up Friday morning, Gunner in tow (he's racing the 50M), and staying at his grandparent's place (cabin if the road is clear, house if not). Really looking forward to spending some time with them as they are some of my favorite people in the world, Scandinavian hospitality! Won't have internet for a while while there, but I'll hope to send a picture or two from my phone from the Crazy Woman saloon. I've heard from some guy who finished the Rocky Mountain Slam that a trip to Dayton without a visit to the Crazy Woman is incomplete. Anyway, loose goal is top 3, just so I can retain my "elite" status...