Photo Credit: Scott Rokis Photography
In its inaugral year, Castle Peak 100k proved to be an unforgettable race that I surely hope will become a long-lasting annual event in the Truckee area. This course offerred both the challenges and professionalism of prominent ultra-marathon races with rocky, technical terrain, a well-marked course, and a strong support crew throughout. Starting near Stampede Resevoir just before dawn, I felt confident in my body and mind.
We began the race at a moderate pace; I tried to stay calm and not start out too hot. When we entered the forest, I was running comfortably in 8th place. I maintained that position until the sun rose when my buddy, Juan De Olivia, caught up with me. We shared some miles, crossed Proser creek, and ascended the Animal together before he left me in the dust.
I was doing a solid job staying on top of hydration and nutrition throughout the day. Around mile 38, I hit a tough spot where I had a real hard time getting my legs to turn over. At this point, two other runners caught up with me, and I was able to get my legs to respond again. We stuck together until the Van Norden aid station where I hung out for a little while as they continued onto through the Palisades.
Leaving Van Norden, I was now in 12th place and feeling surprisingly good. The only issues I was having at this point in the race was a gnarly heel blister and some intense chaffing. As I started my ascent of the Palisades, I was accompanied by my buddy J.P., who was a safety volunteer for this section of the race. I was happy to see him and talk to him which helped keep my mind off the climb at hand. The Palisades were a major highlight of the race–an almost 2 mile section of extremely technical, highly exposed, rocky terrain, filled with roped traverses, rocky crags, and safety volunteers.
After making it through the Palisades and to the top of Mount Lincoln, I was finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as that was the last major climb of the race… Or at least it should have been. As I began my descent of Lincoln, I took a wrong turn and went down a service road that took me to the bottom of the ski lifts. At the bottom, the road forked and there were no trail markers to be seen. Realizing I made a big mistake and feeling totally defeated at the same time, I turned around and walked the entire way back up to the top where I had went off course. After 4 miles and roughly 1500 feet of elevation gain, I was back on course.
Before beginning the final descent, we hit the top of Mt. Juddah where there were photographers taking photos of the race. On the way down, I finally arrived at the last aid station where the volunteers were happy to see me. They were expecting me to have arrived much earlier based on the live tracking that was being used during the race. I stayed there for a minute and pounded a few Cokes and ate some solid food before heading out. The last of the miles was difficult, but I was sure to save a little energy to sprint out the last 400m. I crossed the line at 14 hours 43 minutes, after 65.8 miles and 13,000ft of elevation gain.