Last year’s Wilson Creek race featured a mudslide of a course, with a pace that rivaled my Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile PR. I anticipated better course conditions this year, with lots of snow and essentially not a single day of weather going above freezing in the last month. I carpooled to the race start with Tony Bunt, and we arrived with plenty of time to get ready (no line for the bathrooms yet!). Upon my realization that it was too cold for my trombone slide to move, I had to keep my horn in front of a propane space heater until seconds before I needed to play. I put my horn away, and we were all off. It was below zero.
Within the 1st mile, I contemplated DNF. My lack of warm socks cooled my feet down enough that I anticipated frostbite on my feet, which made me wary to continue on. I told myself I would trudge on for a few more miles and hope the warmth of my body would reach my toes, which did happen. I chatted with friends, enjoyed the beauty of the Owyhee range, and rocked out to John Adam’s “My Father Knew Charles Ives.” As we climbed Wilson Peak, the only thing you could pick out from the dark, dense layer of inversion was the surrounding mountain tops, which was a rather incredible panorama of mountain magnificence.
The remainder of the race is a blur to me, from a slip-sliding descent down Pigeon Road back to the Start/Finish Line to the endless struggle of competition that envelopes me during the last 10 miles of any race. Reynolds Creek Canyon was as splendid as always. I pushed through the aid stations in a flash, only pausing to drink a glass of water here, a handful of M&Ms there. Hard sprint to the finish, and it was over before I knew it. 6:17, 12th, OA, 2nd AG, and a solid 49 minute improvement over last year.
Pickled Feet Ultrarunning does a fine job with its events. I will continue to test my endurance, whether that be over a long run, or an uncomfortable climate. I can now say I’ve raced in conditions spanning 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which I’m quite proud of. Next up, a marathon PR at the National Guard Marathon in Lincoln, NE the first weekend of May.