Cascade Crest 100-mile Trail Race Report

Cascade Crest Buckle

I have the buckle, but I still have a lot to learn about running 100-miles.

Especially, and more specifically, the rough and rugged 100-mile trail races.

As ultrarunners, we seem to have serious selective memory, so I’m writing this report from a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet to ensure that I remember and report on everything that I wanted to during the time I plodded on through the Cascades …one foot after the other.

Cascade Crest is no joke.

If there are more difficult 100-mile trail races, then I found my “difficulty limit” for quite awhile. Ultrarunning Magazine lists Cascade Crest right up there with Massanutten, Hard Rock, …and of course, the Superior Sawtooth trail 100 which I completed last year as my first 100-mile race.

I’ve heard ultrarunners say the Superior Sawtooth 100-miler is harder than Cascade Crest, and finishing times seem to indicate this might be true, especially since it is a “slower” race, but I rarely found myself climbing at Superior like I was at Cascade.

Must be more of that “selective memory”.

Like a kid on Christmas Morning

I was very excited for Cascade Crest.

Being from Atlanta, I travelled a long way to get there. I showed up race morning with enough energy to power the small mountain town of Easton, Washington for a month. In fact, stepping out of the van was just about the time I met Jon Yoon, an enthusiastic ultra-list member and extremely supportive and nice guy. Jon would be volunteering and manning a few aid stations during the race, so he had plenty of good cautionary advice.

If you know me, you know how much I love meeting people in our sport. It’s one of my favorite parts of the race experience. For the first time I got to shake hands and chat up with other well-known, West Coast ultramarathon runners including Chris Martin, Kent Holder, Chihping Fu, Andy Kumeda, Catra Corbett, Jessica Deline, Hans Deiter-W …and more.

(sorry if I forgot some people but I have “ultra-brain” right now. I’ve been calling Pat Ackley, my host and crew member, the wrong name all morning. —“Hey Phil!”)

One of the neatest things was meeting Brian Morrison at Seattle Running Company, who folks may remember as the fastest runner at the 2006 Western States 100-mile trail race who collapsed 1/4 mile from the finish and thus ended up disqualified.

Think about that for a second – I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

10:00 a.m. is a nice race start

Video note: This is a 1:31 video of just the start of the Cascade Crest 100, but I think it’s key in demonstrating smart pacing. Chris Martin, the dude in the white and blue sleeveless shirt, starts the race in last place just walking – he finished over 2 hours ahead of me. Proper pacing ladies and gentlemen.

For one thing, starting at 10:00 a.m. makes it easy to get to Easton, and thus the race start, without having to get up at 3:00 o’clock in the morning. That’s nice. Plus, it pretty much ensures that even the fastest runners have to run through the entire night.

We started the race like most races start, and found ourselves headed down the gravel road, past local barns and grazing horses, towards the first serious section of the day, the climb to Goat Peak.

Warning: Cascasde Crest is an incredible race and I’m about to throw it down. Right here, right now, so if blow-by-blow bores you, you just might want to go visit a less enthusiastic web site. …Just givin’ ya the heads up.

“What did I get myself into?”

I asked myself that same thing over and over just a couple of miles into the climb to Goat Peak. Making runners start a race climbing a very long, very steep, rugged, and rocky mountain is, …well… as I was about to learn, very Cascade-Crest-like.

Of course, I studied the course a bit and knew the climb was coming, so I just settled into a very slow grind, sorta laughing to myself as gravel roads turned into technical single-track, turned into cambered rock, to even more steep technical trail, before finally giving us some much-appreciated relief.

Goat Peak is a long, tough climb – very tough – but, as we were soon to see, it was just one in a series of race challenges in store for all the runners over the next 24+ hours.

“I’m amazed at how fast everyone is going out!”

During the long descent after the first aid station, I was throwing that statement out to anyone who’d listen, secretly hoping they would validate my concerns and my decision to go out slower. After all, the race reputation is one of a much more difficult second half and I was trying to respect that enigmatic element of the event.

After coming down the other side of Goat Peak, dropping 1500 feet, we started climbing again (up 1500 feet) to the 15-mile aid station at Blowout Mountain. This was 100% old dusty gravel logging roads. I could taste all the dust gettin’ rustled up and whenever I’d bite down, my teeth would crunch the dirt I inhaled from the air.

That’s West Coast for ya.

But oddly, over just a mile or so, we found ourselves climbing into the clouds again on very steep, moist and damp single-track. Like the flip of a switch, the weather and climate just changed.

Being in the clouds is such a trip. You can literally see the clouds rushing by in front of you and feel the dampness on your skin – like a cold steam room. I got a big kick out that …at least until the night time when that same phenomenon created freezing cold temps, at high elevation, with no escape other than to just run through it, hoping for a descent to get you out of there.

Are ya listenin’ Kecheless Ridge?

A little more bobbin’ and weavin’, up and down, (mostly “up”) and we found ourselves running onto the drop-dead, stunningly gorgeous, PCT – the famous Pacific Crest Trail, the West Coast’s version of the Appalachian Trail.

The PCT might just be trail running heaven.

A little bit of running love

Ok, so the entire 100-miles is not brutal. The PCT section between miles 17 and 47 were absolutely incredible. Lots of varying terrain with old growth forest that looked like it was lifted from a masterpiece painting.

I ran the first part of the PCT in absolute heaven. I was fast and feeling it. I’d roll into those aid stations yelling at the top of my lungs, and getting the love back from all the volunteers and crews waiting for their runners.

I was so stoked by the beauty and runnability of the trail, and I was feeling fantastic and just had to let everyone know.

…but,

…as is typical,

…it can’t stay bright sunshine and fluffy kittens forever…

Cover your eyes ’cause here comes the D-word

Yup. Diarrhea.

My butt blew up; and for the first time in an ultramarathon, I found myself dealing with major ASSplosion over and over again, for more than 30 miles. I had to drop and squat over 20 times until I finally just quit counting out of disgust with the situation.

Sorry about the graphic detail, especially for those reading who do not run ultramarathons, but as ultra runners you know the serious race impacts of the D-word: lost time, dehydration, frustration, un-kind leaf irritation, and unavoidably, our friend, mr. chafe.

I have no idea what did it to me, but if I ever figure it out, I might just ban it from my life altogether. Period.

But, I’ll move on…

Video note: Here I explain, very succinctly, what needs to happen.

Darkness falls

I like running at night. It’s a forced excuse to slow down and it’s an easy way to identify runners ahead that you might have a chance of picking off, and runners behind, moving more quickly and making a move to pass.

It’s also comforting to see a headlamp ahead of you – then you know that you’re most likely going the right way on the right trail, …or BOTH of you are lost, but either way, you aren’t alone in the forest in the dark.

At mile 41, I picked up Betsy from Montana. We had run near each other at various points in the race, and both left the Meadow Mountain aid station at the same time with head lamps a’blarin’.

If I remember right, this was her first 100 mile race and the first time she had run in the woods in the dark. I don’t know if any of you readers have much experience running in the dark, but there’s a huge difference between “running in the street” dark, and “running in a mountain forest” dark.

“Mountain-forest-dark” is just plain BLACK dark.

Like “coal-air-dark”.

Like “what in the Hell was that?”-dark.

But Betsy was an absolute trooper, and in my opinion a far better runner than me. She mentioned that maybe we should stay together as a sort of companionship thing, and I was happy to accept. I let her lead and she’d just chat away while navigating technical slippery scree-rocks, and climbing very rugged terrain around Mirror Lake.

She didn’t seem to be phased one bit by the darkness in combination with the technical terrain and I was a little worried that I would not be able to keep up with her. In retrospect, I’m glad she charged it like that because we passed quite a few people together.

The new addition

One of the most unique elements of the Cascade Crest 100-miler is a very steep, bushwack descent, down to a 2.5 mile long tunnel that runs right through the center of a mountain. Supposedly it’s drippy and creepy and straight out of a woods-themed horror movie.

But, the tunnel was closed this year for construction, so the RD set out to find a suitable replacement.

The replacement consisted of a very long climb up and over Snolquamie Pass , a ski resort with a beautiful lodge and treacherous slopes. Let’s put it this way, I would have MUCH, MUCH rather skied down these slopes as opposed to running down them. Wow!

Apparently, lots of people were frustrated and my crew told me that people were showing up at Hyak (mile 53), all bloodied up and wounded and not-at-all happy about the chosen course change.

Me?

I didn’t really care. I had never seen the tunnel section anyway, and yea, I bitched and moaned coming down those steep, dangerous, and loose-rock declines, but I love that kind of stuff – especially once it’s over with – and running down a ski slope was pretty darn gnarly, so I was 100% cool with it.

Plus, with Betsy leading, I could let her find all the sketchy spots first and make sure to avoid them – such the gentleman huh?

“Hey, it’s a race – that gentleman stuff doesn’t apply.”

Hyak = halfway home

Video warning: Please excuse the excessive cussing at the end of this video clip …I was a little “fired up!” and excited to be halfway through the race.

Victor and Pat, my race crew, were a welcomed sight after all that madness through Mirror Lake and the Snolquamie Pass ski slopes.

They ushered me into a chair and Victor immediately started with all the “are you coherent?”-type questions:

“Are you eating?” – yea.

“How are your feet?” – great.

“How are you feeling?” – good.

“Are you sure?” – yup.

“What do you want to eat?” – grilled cheese.

I even got to have a few quick words with Charlie, the race director, letting him know how much fun I was having and how much I was enjoying the race.

I can’t remember if I shared my D-word problem with the gang, but I do remember getting some ginger candies from Victor and Pat, so maybe I did. I was afraid Vic’tah would make me stay at the aid station if I shared any discomfort at all.

Victor is kind of a hardass and he wants you to do well, probably as much or more than you do yourself, so I was cautious with what I’d tell him sometimes. At least until the later miles when I acted like a little, pitch-a-fit baby and he got more than a mouthful from me.

I would never wanna deal with me in a broken state, so three cheers for Vic’tah for hanging in there and not kicking my ass and leaving me on the trail.

At least I know I’m good for fifty???

I felt fantastic for someone who had just run 53 difficult mountain miles, and once Victor got me fixed up and Pat scored me some hot food from the aid station, 10 minutes had passed, and I was fired back up and ready to go again.

You’re allowed pacers at this point, but I didn’t feel like I needed it yet and Betsy had planned to have her Dad pace her from here anyway, so I just jumped in with them.

Dan, Betsy’s Dad, might simply be one of the coolest dads around and I really enjoyed the time I ran with the two of them.

But, once again, the good turned to bad.

The long, 100% uphill, 7-mile climb up to Kechless Ridge did me in. It started out ok, but it felt like it took forever. In reality, it only took two hours, but it felt like all night. Even worse, the D-word problem forced me stop over and over again.

Whenever I could find suitable leaves, which got harder and harder as the elevation got higher and higher, I’d pause for a humbling squat session. Then, once I got business taken care of, I’d have to sprint uphill to catch back up with my little two-person group.

By the time we hit the top of the climb, Kechless Ridge aid station, we were playing at close to 6000 feet with temps in the 30′s, and facing another 8-ish miles of the backside.

And that other side of that climb, the descent from Kechless Ridge aid station, was just as damn long – maybe longer.

where’s that course map, anyway?

I rolled into mile 68, the Kachess aid station, feeling like complete death, loopy, and badly needing some food and tender loving care – and I got it thanks to my awesome crew and the cheery, experienced aid station volunteers.

As nice as everyone was, I could tell from the way they talked to me and looked at me, that I had better get up and keep moving, or I could get stuck there for the night.

The trail from Hell

Don’t blame me, that’s what the trail is called, and for good reason!

I really don’t think it’s possible for there to have been a worse time for me to have to embark on this ridiculous section of trail – I was trashed. I wanted to go home.

The emotional meltdown was starting.

I told Vic’tah that I definitely needed a pacer now – which really just equates to some company – so he got dressed, grabbed a ton a gear and supplies like he always does, and obliged.

Describing this section of trail correctly will definitely test my creativity and literary semantic skills because no matter what I say, you’ll never truly understand how nasty this trail is until you step foot onto that beast.

Man.

It’s something else.

Really… it’s crazy-hard-nasty-tricky and mean.

The trail opens up with a half-buried skeleton at the base of a short, steep climb that doesn’t even really look like a trail head at all. It looks like a bear was just digging for ants up a steep embankment.

And, this is pretty much the case for about 1/2 mile of complete and total bushwacking that is 100% unrunnable – barely walkable – and in fact, it almost appeared as if it was “created” exclusively for some sort of masochistic ritual.

Somebody needs to come clean. {grin}

Once you make it over the plethora of huge blown-down trees, the thick bushes and thorns, and the steep camber that could easily send a woozy runner down the slope and into the abyss, you then, finally, start the official Trail from Hell – 5.5 miles of constant up-n-down, barely-a-trail type footing and heaping helpings of danger to round out the experience.

The progress is super slow which equates to a long, grueling grind, many times hand-over-hand, all while trying to prevent yourself from slipping off into the Kachess Lake – about 500 (?) feet below.

Ok, I’ll just say it – this section was very, very hard for me. Both physically and mentally. This was my wall, and poor ol’ Vic’tah got an earful from me for no other reason than the fact that he had ears and was there. I’m not happy nor proud of my mini temper tantrums, but it’s part of what happened out there and I can’t deny it.

He’d tell me to eat, and I’d tell him “no.”

He’d tell me drink, and I’d yell, “I hate that GU2O sh*t!”

I’d accused him of lying to me about the aid station distance.

I’d accuse him of lying about the time.

I’d accuse him of lying about knowing the trail.

Finally, he’d get fed up with my whining and yell back, so we pretty much sounded like an old married couple out there on that stretch of insanity.

Christian crumbles.

“Make sure he’s ready, it’s a long climb to NoName Ridge.”

Coming into the Mineral Creek aid station, and finally finishing the Trail from Hell, I really didn’t need to hear that comment above.

And sure enough, the next section would challenge me more than I could have ever imagined. It was on this stretch of climb that I started an even worse downward spiral.

The climb to NoName Ridge is 100% climbing, 7 miles, with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet, all on loose gravel.

I walked 99.9% of it.

Once, I was so fatigued that allowed myself to just collapse smack-down on the side of gravel mountain road, hoping for just a minute of rest, but NOPE! Vic’tah snatched me up off the ground, yelling at me to keep going while some other runners encouraged me to just get to the mile 81 aid station (NoName Ridge).

The sun came out and started to roast us down, but also made for some gorgeous views of the jagged Cascade Mountain Range. We were above the clouds in some spots and you could see this beautiful, fluffy cloud floor below that looked so comfortable I fantasized about running and diving over the edge of the mountain and sleeping for a month on the comfy clouds.

Pitiful, huh?

At mile 81, I laid down on an Army cot for 6 minutes.

It did nothing for me.

Nice to see Laura Houston. A familiar face.

Time to keep moving.

Finding ways to compensate for pain

Here it comes…

Some of the most difficult terrain in the entire 100-mile race was next – The Cardiac Needles and the climb to Thorpe Mountain …and in my case, the descent to French Cabin.

At this point, I had developed a knee issue that was preventing me from running downhill – while this sucked royally since downhills are where you can really make up time, the knee was fine climbing steep uphills. I’d simply have to switch the natural strategy and try to charge up the climbs and go easy on the downs …not a pretty scenario for 80+ miles in, but necessary none-the-less.

After some pleasant and beautiful sunny sections of rolling single-track, the first of five (5) Cardiac Needles appears. There is nothing you can do but put your head down, laugh at the ridiculousness of the grade, and march up the beeeeyatch as slowly and carefully as you can. One small stumble, slippage or lean in the wrong direction and you could be rolling backwards like an avalanche.

Afterwards, more nice trail with great views …and of course, more nasty Needles to climb.

Lots of drastic descents testing my thresholds for pain.

Lots of drastic ascents testing the conditioning of my heart.

Those Needles are laughable.

Really.

At least they are relatively short climbs. Long miles at this grade might just wreck a dude for life.

The Thorpe tease

Talk about a let down.

You feel like you’ve done something. “Nice, I hear voices, I made it here faster than I expected…”

Nope.

Instead, you get to wave to the aid station volunteers as you begin a steep ascent on a scree-like, technical trail at a ridiculous grade, for at least the distance of a couple of football fields, …grab a piece of unique paper that proves you went to the top, …and return down that steep, ridiculous grade to hand in the paper to the race volunteers and get your aid.

84 miles in. Tired and sleepy and trashed.

Downhills hurt the knees, forcing me to employ some silly-looking, fast-falling-walk that looks like I am throwing myself down the trail and my rag-doll legs are bobbin’ and weavin’ below me at an unsustainable, wobbly pace.

Like a mall-walker on acid.

Chafe is at raw-skin stage and the compression-like shorts are sticking to my exposed flesh. The blisters have become so big, I can move my foot inside the shoe and redistribute the fluid to different parts of the blister. Gnarly, huh?

Oh well, only 16 miles to go – just’a little more than a “half-marathon”… well, plus a road 5K, plus…

Cussing the trail

More steep Needle climbs, more ridges, more beautiful scenery…at this point I am in total, head-down, grind-it-out, don’t-talk mode where all I can think about is the finish.

The quintessential “death march” that everyone tries to avoid.

The tree-covered ridge running opens up to a drastic, sun-exposed, technical and dusty descent down a mountain to the French Cabins aid station. The descent just pissed me off because I felt like the trail gods knew that my knee hurt, and they just wanted to keep compounding the challenges. What’s the matter with those guys?

After taking it out on my pacer for most of the drop, we finally arrived.

88 miles in – 12 more to go.

Is this White River?

Whoa.

This 6-7 mile section was awesome. Next to the PCT sections, it was the most runnable; but besides that, the trail was gorgeous, old-growth-like blow-down with lots of rushing water and a cinematic, prehistoric feel.

I love trail like that. I appreciate the sport most during these times as opposed to marching up gravel jeep roads.

I was able to find some legs (and some kahones), and finally start to run again in bits and pieces.

Since it was rolling with a soft surface, I sucked it up and actually gained a lot of time over what would have happened had I walked it in totally. It felt good to run and for awhile there, I looked like I was coming back all the way.

But a nasty, 1.5 mile technical descent to the last aid station would hammer the knee to a point where I had to do the falling-walk thing again to endure the drastic grade into that last aid station.

Physically, arriving at the last aid station just switched my body off almost completely.

I knew I’d finish – time goals were gone a long time ago – so now, it was just getting there, and Vic’tah and I set off for the little town of Easton, Washington.

5.5 miles to go…

Pitiful

I was so pitiful.

Disappointed in yourself kind of pitiful.

Head bobbin, feet shufflin’ pitiful.

Vic’tah tried to get me to run. I’d shuffle 25 yards, and just shut-down.

“I can’t do it, man”, “I’m done.”

I was looking forward to finally getting to the long, straight road into Easton. I thought for sure I’d be able to kick it in and finish strong.

Nope.

The road ate up my hips (?) and I found myself just hobbling. Bad knee, terrible blisters, painful chafe (frontside and backside) and now, a little hip action to keep things fun.

A broken man.

Standing and staring at 29:44

Christian finishes the 2009 Cascade Crest 100-mile trail race

I ran the last 100 yards in the most pain I’ve ever felt running ultras.

I heard Charlie call my name and say, “and coming all the way from Georgia…”, and I knew it was finally over.

I finished.

And even though I was sweating my time the whole race, I came in well under 30 under hours, taking over 9 hours off my first 100-mile race, and with a beat and battered body that had to power-hike a majority of the last 27 miles.

What a race!

What a beast of a course!

What an experience all the way around!

What a helpful crew, phenomenal pacer and great group of runners!

Everything that I experienced over that 100-mile adventure, that 29 hours, all came rushing into my brain at once and I almost passed out…

…right there, under the finish line banner.

I just sorta’ stood there. Wobbly. Looking at the clock.

A couple of others grabbed me, put me in a chair, plunked my feet in some cold water, covered me with a blanket and fed me some soup and fluids for a good hour.

And, there I sat, watching other runners come in, some needing medical attention, but most with giant grins on their faces and a thick ol’ belt buckle held tightly in their dirty hands.

I slept with my belt buckle that night.

—————————————————————————–

The learning chapter

So, what did I learn in this one?

Here’s the advice I would give anyone who is considering this race:

  1. Go easy on the very first climb to Goat Peak. You’ll hear this a lot but if you’re like me it might take some reinforcement. Here’s your reinforcement. It’s hard and it never ends where you think it ends.
  2. Early in the race, the best spot to make up time, or put a little in the bank, is during the early PCT sections. Once you enter the PCT, the trail is rolling and gorgeous and fast for about 15 miles.
  3. Expect many challenges. You get your money’s worth – Cascade Crest throws a little of everything at you over the 100-mile race course including:
    • Very long climbs & descents
    • Very steep climbs & descents
    • Bush-wacking
    • Just enough road to hurt
    • Gravel jeep road
    • Lots o’ rocks
    • Sketchy obstacles (the log over a stream towards the end of Trail from Hell could have killed me if I would have slipped)
    • Hot sections
    • Cold sections
    • Scree running
  4. The second half of the race is really, truly harder than the front half. Take heed or ignore – but it is.
  5. Run with a long-sleeved, windbreaker type jacket, tied around your waist. You never know when you’ll need it at higher elevations, and at night, it makes all the difference in the world.
  6. It gets dark early, and light late in those mountain woods. Bring extra batteries for your headlamp.
  7. In my opinion, you can run this race with two bottles. I was glad I chose not to wear, and did not have to lug, a hydration backpack.
  8. Take a least some time to absorb the scenery. The PNW is incredible and the Cascades take it up a notch.

Thanks Charlie.

Thank you volunteers.

Thank you Vic’tah and Patrick and Betsy and Jon Yoon …and anyone else that touched me through this experience.

That’s the thing about 100s – it’s hard to do without others – and it’s an “experience” much more than a race.

September 19, I go for 101 miles.

Full speed ahead.

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Comments

I only just dropped by your race report and got all absorbed by the way you write about this great experience. As a single-time-100mi-finisher, I can really relate. And now I am sitting in front of this screen of mine, living my own ultra-adventures through your words. thanks for the hard stuff, too. Makes your report all the more authentic. Good look in all your endeavors!

Your report made me and my husband laugh! We were there and it was an incredible race! I was a crew/pacer from Kachess Lake to the end.

congrats Christian! I was a volunteer at Mineral Creek aid station (mile 73), and I remember you coming through. You looked beat, but you had a good attitude at the time. Keep up the good work, and the good writing! See you maybe next year? Try the PCT50 ultra next July. It’s run entirely on the pacific crest trail. very beautiful!

I finally got the playa dust out of my eyes and read your report. Wow! I had no idea when you came in to No Name what was going on. Just saw you on that cot! So glad you were able to get through it and put this thing to bed! Congratulations – great read – every detail!!

Yo Christian! Well done. I finally got around to reading your RR – excellent as always…though you’re scaring me a bit going into next year when I’ll tackle my first mountain 100 (place TBD). Love the mental and physical fortitude…it’s what its all about.

Best of luck next weekend.

Mike

Great report. Your adventures are contagious and enjoyable.

I loved this report and felt intervals of elation and exhaustion from just reading it. ‘Got lots of chuckles and belly laughs too. Thanks for offering this read and ‘big ups’ for the victory!

Hey man, just stumbled across your site. I’ll be at Hinson Lake on the 19th and did it last year. Email me at bwelbo (my yahoo address) if you want to connect and I can give you as much info about the event as possible to help.

Brett

Awesomely done! Neat report, man, I miss CC. It is gorgeous son of a b%&*. Great job.

@Jack – Wow! that sounds just like my Superior Sawtooth experience …and yeah, it changes you.

Thanks for sharing.

All I can say is, ‘Wow.’ Thanks for putting us there with you. It was a great read. And I have something for you, a video that I think you and your readers might relate to and appreciate — ahamoment.com/pg/moments/view/7216 — about one man’s “aha moment” experienced during a 104 mile race and how it changed his perspective on life.

Big congrats,
jack@ahamoment.com

Another stunning performance and an awesome race report. DWD!

Awesome. Sorry you didn’t get bright sunshine and fuzzy kittens all the way, but the adversity makes for better reading. :) The videos are excellent. As is the advice. Just another great report.

Great job Christian, way to hump it and take 9+ hours off your PR!

Incredible adventure! Literally felt like I was with you the entire way. Congrats and wear the buckle proudly, Mountain Man.

Well done. I was there too and you described the joy and misery just perfectly. Unfortunately, the dark, scree running and cut-offs forced my to finish at mineral creek. I was happy with that as I have run the last 27 miles during training and knew I couldn’t make that 7 mile climb to No Name in an hour. I’ll be back at Cascade someday.
Jenny

Dude:

This was an awesome read. What an incredible run and congrats on the finish. I’m only up to 50 mi so far yet strangly this only made me want to go for 100 some day.

Awesome report. It was fun seeing you at the start and finish, and now I know how your day went, and more about how the course is laid out. I’m saving up viewing the videos for tonight when I have more time, but expect to enjoy them just as much as your report.

When I saw you at the Lake Kachess AS I would have bet that you were going to drop at Mineral Creek. You seemed very tired and as the old Western States saying goes “Your eyes seemed to be disconnected from your soul”. Congratulations on your finish! I’m sure you will treasure your buckle as I do mine.

Regards,
Eric

Great race report! Great job!!

Christian,

I second Nancy’s comment. The videos are great.

Awesome job earning your belt buckle. It’s a very nice one too

Wow! Great job, and congrats on the buckle, you earned it. I loved the race report, almost makes me think about trying something longer than a 50k. Finally, I say the heck with 101, go for 102!

That was a great race report, and I don’t read many.

Too many are: “….and then I saw the finish and tears of joy and emotion flooded me”….blah blah blah. (What cynic I have become ;-) ….. ).

Even if I didn’t have CC100 on my radar for next year that would have been worth the read. Well Done!

Congrats again. That’s an awesome PR. You have improved so much in the last year. I think I’ll have to do a mountain 100 next.

Dude, really loved the videos! Victor and Pat seem like great Dudes. No
worries about the “Bitch” comment Dude, *hit happens (oh thaat’s the D-word
you were referring to?).

Seriously though; you are one tough Dude, be proud of your buckle; well
deserved.

great race. i’m stealing “mall walker on acid.”

Christian,
Thanks for such an epic tale of your CCC100 adventure.
Gotta love the chafe. and the D-word… man you went through a ton.
Very proud of you man and am looking forward to our New Year’s Eve challenge… with that being said… gotta go train so that I can even have a chance against The Great Christian Griffith…
Best to you Sept. 19th! I will be rooting for ya to hit 101!
Once again, well freakin done my friend…
-Rick-

You’re a BEAST dude! Congrats man. Some day I will do one and your ass will be pacing me for some of it!

Very nice, Christian. Great read.
Sounds like Charlie gave you your money’s worth. :)

Subject: “53 miles, bitch!”

I watched your race video.

That was my favorite line. It will probably be the line I repeat when I’m delirious and need a laugh during my first 100.

“GREAT report Christian! Thanks for allowing us to re-live your experience with you.”

Congrats on your first Mountain 100! Welcome to the club. A totally different beast huh? Cascade Crest is definitely on my “to do” list. I’m giving Hardrock a rest for a while… Your advice at the end is spot on for any mountain 100 as the key ingredients are patience, planning and preparation. Be patient, covering mileage in the mountains is never “fast.” Plan for any kind of contingency, i.e. weather, being slow and needing a light early than expected (always carry an emergency backup), etc… Prepare yourself, be in as good of shape as you can going in knowing that the going may be slow. Anyhow I can totally sympathize with your “D” issue. You were fortunate to make it in, I had some serious “D” issues at Old Dominion one year and lost something like 9-10 lbs in ~12 hours and 75 miles in!!! I was shivering under a wool blanket in 90 degree weather! I was toast. Kudos to you for sticking it out! For me I think it was the greasy pizza I consumed the night before the race?? Bad choice. I also can relate to your knee issue. I had bad tendinitis on both knees and achillies going into Wasatch 100 (of similar difficulty as Cascade I hear) I too had to basically walk most of the downhills; thank goodness I’m a strong climber because ironically that was where I made up my time! I know the common refrain is to go easy on the climbs and hammer the downs, but I’m here to stay that that isn’t necessarily true. Play to your strengths. As a good hill climber I found it more natural to hammer the climbs and kind of “coast” the downhills… totally contrary to all the advice I’ve ever been given about how to approach Hardrock… Anyhow to kick/beat yourself up about any time goals you might not have met. You did a spectacular job at one of the toughest mountain 100′s in the country, you my friend have some great laurels to rest on for a while! ;)

Congrats Christian on your race The thing I really like about ultras is running in different parts of the country with different groups of people….
Oh, and if you really want a tough course you need to email laz soon to get the info for entering a truely tough race! ;-)
John

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