YABRR: Tahoe Rim Trail 100 2017 Edition
Updated: Dec 18, 2018
This one is all thanks to Robin, who mentioned it, and as always Shellene, who put up with driving me back afterwards.
This past weekend I ran the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs 100 (TRTER-100). The official moto of the race is: “A Glimpse of Heaven, A Taste of Hell”. I would have to say that that moto is incorrect, at least for 2017 it should have been “A Portrait of Heaven, A Buffet of Hell"
A Portrait of Heaven: The trail was in great shape with almost no snow on it (RD stated 95% dirt). There were some very runable sections, time spent on ridgelines and tree-lined single track. The weather was Texas friendly, even though I carried cold weather gear, I raced in t-shirt and shorts, even when walking through the night. Not a drop of rain.
During the race, there is plenty of times where the views were impressive, but nothing equaled the sunset from the trail during the race. As we crested one of the peaks (I think it was Herlan), we were treated to the sunset over both Lake Tahoe and the Washoe Valley. The small group I was with just stopped and took in the view for a couple of minutes in silence (I hope someone posts photos of it, but even if they do, it won’t equal real life).
A Buffet of Hell: The RD stated 95% dirt, but when you’re looking at 100 miles, that translates to 5 miles of snowfields. For the most part the snowfields were easy to move on, but I did see one runner doing a buttslide down a section. It was interesting seeing snowboarders at one of the aid stations, and I did see someone heading in with an ice-axe, probably to practice self-arrests. Of course, since it was warm, the snow fields were melting, so some of that 95% dirt became cold mud.
The course itself was a 50 mile 3-leaf clover (starting on one of the leafs), with some good climbs and descents. There was one area on each of the two other leafs that stuck out.
Red House loop: The descent here was long and fast (~1,000’ drop over 2ish miles). I actually ended up running at 70% HR to keep up with my legs. Once I started my fat-boy-on-a-downhill run, I was looking for a runaway truck ramp. There were a few swampy places on this loop, but the trail crew did a good job creating paths where you could try and keep your feet dry. It didn’t matter though, there were two fast, deep and cold creek crossings (normally stream crossings, but the snowmelt had them flowing) that were well over my gaiters – so everyone got wet. Of course, since it was a loop, you
have to climb back to the top.
Diamond Peak loop: The four mile (~2,000’ drop) descent here is on a nicely banked mountain bike track, which wouldn’t have been bad – except for the three riders who didn’t seem to care that there was a race going on. It really was a case of “Express elevator to Hell, going down!” Again, it’s a case of what goes down must go up, but in this case the climb was less than 2 miles – loose sand. On my second lap I was tired/fried enough that I would sometimes slip down after a step.
Those two decent and climbs were both long and steep enough to do a good job of frying my legs on the first loop, and like a good buffet, each item was sampled twice.
Since I had toasted my legs on the first loop, I spent most of the second loop walk/trotting (especially since I managed to overlook a loose left shoe – nicely blistered). Spent some time with a few other runners also moving slow, as well as some time solo.
All in all, a great race, even with the two day drive back (which included driving through the storms in Arizona.)