YABRR: WildCanyon Ultra 2017 Edition
After spending the start of the year tearing myself down physically and mentally (too many races), I went into the Wild Canyon Ultra with a solid plan to hit 16 hours. That was based on me having a good race.
Thanks to DDR I started out on the plus side, since even though we'd be getting in late our campsite was already signed for (thanks Scott). During the race I ran with Robin and we held to a plan to get through the technical section of the trail before dark, that meant very limited walking. Running with Robin is always a joy, and the miles went by quickly; we found ourselves out of the canyon well before dark, and hit the line side-by-side at 13:49 (first place for both of us).
After the race Shellene did her usual job of gathering me and my stuff back to camp. This time that included some of Jorge 's cooking and wind down time with the rest of the gang.
Nikki, Rick, Nancy, Ginny, and everyone else, thanks for helping run a perfect race.
I believe that Ultra Expeditions first really big race (I know that they organized one on the NETT last year, but logistically this was a big step up). If I didn't know that this was their first, I would not have guessed it at all. From well stocked/staffed aid stations, to a course that was incredibly well marked (I know some folks went off course, no idea how they did it though). During the race we ran into hikers that were also very thankful for a clearly marked path up the technical section. They really did think of everything, including having someone from the North Prong aid station checking on the Fern Cave station once it switched to unstaffed.
The course itself was very scenic (hoodoos, walls, canyon, bison), with rolling hills through most of it. There were a couple of road sections, and the majority of the trail was hardpack wide dirt roads (think DanMan without the trees). Not my favorite running surface, but the two sections that weren't more than made up for it.
The first section was rather technical (when they say "steep and rugged" they mean it), to me that section alone was worth the cost of the race (and again, a big "thanks" to whoever marked it out). Someone marked out the climb on Strava, the first pitch (or a word that rhymes with it) of the climb is 359' over 2/10ths of a mile (only 34% grade, felt much worse - especially on loop 4): https://www.strava.com/segments/14683392
The second section was the prairie dog loop. This was a nice stretch of single track that overlooked the canyon, and it came with a rambunctious cheering section every time through.
If you've never been to Caprock Canyon, and want a good reason to go (IE: "Hey, there's a race there"), you now have a great reason to go, you won't regret it (unless you get hit by a bison).