Mt. Werner 50K Report
Saturday was the first annual Mt. Werner Classic 50K trail race at Steamboat Springs. After my first two ultras, I have been working on my fueling and getting down the entire "racing" thing. Although my time was a bit longer then at the North Fork 50K, I believe my overall performance was better.
The course is a really tough course (harder then the Sage Burner or North Fork), with basically 4 sections: the long 8.5 mile climb up Mt. Werner to the top of the mountain, a beautiful rolling 8 mile section that stays at about 10,000', the return along the same 8 mile section, and then the long 8 mile downhill all the way back down to the base of the mountain. The day started cool, but quickly got hot, with temps. reaching past 90 on the mountain. I went out at my own pace, which was just behind the lead pack of 10 or so, and kept that pace for most of the climb and out to Long Lake. I was in 11th place by the time I got back to the top of the mountain, but lost 4 spots on the long downhill. I've been working on running faster on downhills, and did better, but as I descended down the 4,000' the temps quickly rose and I developed a mild version of heat stroke, which slowed me down. I was passed by two guys about 2 miles out of the finish, which was disappointing, but by then the heat stroke had me running at a much slower pace. I finished 15th, with a time of 5:56. After the race, I had issues keeping anything down for about an hour, but once I got in the small creek/man-made stream at the base of the resort, I quickly recovered.
The course is really beautiful, with sections of lush aspen forest, open alpine meadows, and thick pine groves. The aid stations were well stocked, and the volunteers were great. Overall a really fun race. The heat stroke surprised me, but with temps in the 90s and no shade or clouds on the lower part of the course, I guess it was to be expected. I did much better on my fueling, but could still have used about 400 extra calories. Still, for my 3rd ultra (and 5th race ever), I am pleased with my placement and performance. I know I can continue to improve, and will keep working on ironing out all of the kinks. There is still a lot to learn about "racing" compared to just a long day in the mountains.