The Black Mountain Monster

Bear at Black Mountain race
photo: Black Mountain locals came out to watch

Timed events remind me of summer camp as a kid.

You show up, find your cabin, your bunk, your counselor, and then you sorta eye-ball a bunch of other kids during various activities deciding who you wanna hang with, and who you wanna avoid.

…and which girl you will be kissing behind the auditorium at the end-of-the-week dance.

Or, maybe that was just me.

One Motley Crew

The Man Van

The “man van” as the GUTS posse affectionately called it, was chock full o’ weirdos.

Here’s the cast of characters ridin’ dirty wid me:

I have to take a moment to mention Mikey Melton was there, too. If you are an ultrarunner, you most likely know Mikey, and understand the element he brings to the game. E’rebody needs a little Melton from time to time to keep themselves honest. Same with Bill Keane.

Lastly, add in a ton of old GUTS friends like Psyche, Charles, Amanda, Kim Pike, Janice, Laura …and new friends like Tatyana, Steve, Sarah, Aaron, Bruce, Michelle…and on and on and on, and yup, just like camp.

“Christian, this is kind of fluff that makes your reports so long, dude”

Ok, I get it – unless you know us, none of this matters and is just noise until I actually have something interesting to write, so I digress and move on to the Black Mountain Monster course.

“…It’s a fast course and mostly flat with a few rolling hills.”

Like Hell, Mr. RD – That course is hilly.

But it’s niiiiice.

The race was a fixed time event. 12 or 24 hours, whichever race you choose.

I knew where my fitness was, and I wanted to run the majority, so I chose the 12. Had I done the 24, I would have just spent an entire night in the woods, death-marching around in circles in that pitiful way that makes those watching the sport wonder why.

When I do it, I wonder why, too.

The Course

What an interesting course.

A 3.1 mile loop, primarily on trails, and very diverse. Each little micro-section was never longer than .25 miles, and the course ran like a mountain bike trail with lots of sharp turns and quick cuts. The uniqueness of each little section made the loop feel shorter than I believe it would have had we just looped one section of trail in some forest somewhere.

wide-open fields

tight single-track

fast jeep road

uneven, day-laborer trail

plenty of climbing

plenty of descending

high grass

some roots

cool little bridges

…and the black feather on one of the trail sections that I named “Pocahontas”

17 times I looped that 5K course.

17 times I greeted that feather.

The Race

Man, since I’m tardy with this report, I’ve already read a bunch of others and they are all so deep and heavy with regards to conquering major personal challenges and slapping personal bests all over the place.

Not me.

I went into this 12-hour race with one real goal of 50 miles, and one dream goal of 60.

I got 52.5 miles.

As usual, I went out a too fast. My happy ass just a’toolin’ around with a backwards ball cap and broken sunglasses (don’t ask), with not a care in the world.

After the first hour, and two laps, I was convinced I could keep that up all day.

Then came the 40 minute loops.

Then came walking the hills …along with a heaping helping of dwindling confidence.

Then came run/walk in the open sun-beatdown sections.

Then came the timed-event-rationalizations that we all know so well, like, “well, I could just call it a day at 50K”, with further rationalization as, “it’s still an ‘ultra’ and a good training run.”

But I didn’t.

I kept on. I knew better.

The Strategy

I never really had any problems.

What? Am I Supposed to Describe Each Loop?

Shockingly, I have nothing profound to say about the race.

I talked to a lot of people as I circled that 5K loop a full 17 times. I laughed a lot, listened to some personal stories, told some personal stories, and generally enjoyed four great hours of confident running, four hours of so-so running, and four hours of man-this-is-getting-tough running.

There were a lot of people who encouraged me each and every lap, from GUTS members to blog readers, and I really can’t explain how good that feels. It makes going back out for that 7th, 10th, 17th, lap easier and creates a drive inside that makes you want to live up to the support.

Thanks peeps.

Lastly, three buddies, Weezy, Sully and Big Cat V.2, were all chasing personal distance “bests” in the 24-hour race, and I went out with all three of them – first, Big Cat v.2, then Weezy and Sully – for their final 3.1 mile loops that would topple them over their individual goal distance(s).

That, and cutting up into the wee hours of the morning, in that sort of silly, kid-like delerium state of burnt 50-mile brain and humor, were probably my favorite parts of the race.

Everything went well with the running.

Everyone around me for two days was funny.

Everyone was cool the entire time.

Fejez ran 115 miles in 24 hours. {sick}

Great results.

Lots of laughs.

Honestly, I don’t always like races so low-key and relaxed, but I dug it this time.


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Long and short of it….I get verbose with my reports as well…. and have made the readers digest versions for the shiny thing short attention span friends… the ‘i woke, I ran, I stopped, the end’ versions. :-)

See ya in Nica.


I was laughing. I loved the report. Liked the talk, liked the swager, I’m sitting here reading what your out there doin.


Another great report, like a cool breeze dancing across a cornfield on a summer day! You have a way…

Great job running and even better job having fun with good friends. That is what it’s all about.


Don’t write a short report because you think you write too much. Say what you got to say. We enjoy the long reports. I usually print them out and save them for home. Hell. I’m the one always badgering you about writing the damn book! (by the way good report….should have been longer.)

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