I woke up at 6:00am and headed up Traverse Ridge to Suncrest. This was my first race of the year and I had no clue what to expect, from me or the course. I had see the elevation profile but that can only tell you so much. I warmed up for 1.5 miles and headed to the start. I saw about 6 guys (SLC Company and Wasatch Running) that I have seen at other races that I knew were decent and a lot of people that looked like and claimed to be hardcore trail racers. I wasn't too worried though because I figured I could hold my own on trails. I have run one other trail race, but this was 75% on rough single track (Jon Allen style, the stuff you can get maimed on), so a bit rougher than my last one. The other 25% was dirt road and some pavement.
The race started and several guys took off. Within a half mile I was up with the lead pack right before the single track started. There was one guy a little in front but everyone said he was in the 5k that had started at the same time so I didn't worry about him. I took the lead on the single track and held it the entire race. The only problem was the 5k guy was really a half guy and I didn't know it until mile 12. He also got lost and cut the course by at least a mile so I never even saw him until the finish.
The course was the most brutal course I have ever ran, the flattest part of the run was 6% grade or so it seemed! Here are my splits and the best I remember the pain.
Mile 1- 6:16 Started out down then started to climb on single track
Mile 2- 7:34 Single track climbing
Mile 3- 7:25 Single track still climbing, I liked this part of the race.
Mile 4- 6:59 Hit some pavement and then a crazy downhill switch back single track. I jacked my ankle good here, but luckily I rolled it in. I felt it the rest of the run though. The guy behind me almost catches me because he missed a turn and cut about .2 miles. Started a nasty climb up the road to where we started the race. Some of it was paved.
Mile 5- 7:03 Climbed and then dropped until we hit dirt again
Mile 6- 7:08 Nasty hill at the first where I wanted to walk, and then starts to drop.
Mile 7- 5:38 Finishes the 1000 foot decent down a trail I thought for sure some would die on or maybe someone already has died on.
Mile 8- 8:13 All pavement climbing back up what we just lost in elevation. Fast part of the race over. The rest would all be uphill with a 1700 foot gain in elevation until the last half mile of the race.
Mile 9- 7:54 Ran through a neighborhood that was the flattest part of the entire race and then hit single track again.
Mile 10- 10:48 This mile was brutal, I think I could have walked the entire mile faster than I ran. I don't even want to look at elevation grain for this. Praying to finish the race by now!
Mile 11- 7:24 Hit the third and final water stop after the single track and realized I still have company. Up and down this mile but .8 was up. Time to put people away though.
Mile 12- 7:38 Rough mile 90% uphill, but I hate company in a race like this, so if I puked I puked!
Mile13- 5:49 Oh my goodness there is more downhill afterall if I don't fall on my face in the last .4 miles!
13.1 flat 30 seconds Done! 1:36:25. Not a bad way to start out the racing season, my slowest half ever by 15 minutes! No it was great for the course. If someone could average 7:00 pace for the whole race that would be an excellent run.
I think I was the only one that liked this course, it was crazy hard! The way it was set up we ran uphill for 85% of the race. The downhill came in segments so steep that it would take 3 miles to make it back up. The course was pretty much two loops around the whole ridge. We dropped off both sides too. There is really no where to go but back up if you go down because you are already pretty much on top at the start, well not quite.
The race was pretty well done and I'm sure it will be better next year. They just need to mark the pavement sections better and tell their volunteers where to send people, I could have gotten lost several times. And I know the third place guy would have more if he didn't have me in sight most of the race. The first place guy definitely got lost at least once. The trails were marked really well though. I ended up with a 20 dollar gift card to Wasatch Running and some other good free stuff for my efforts. I have never run anything quite like it, definitely a good one to try, I wouldn't want to train on it too much though because I know I would end up maimed. Very rough terrain!