My first DQ! Albeit unintentional and I didn’t know until yesterday. I’m super bummed.
What happened? It appears that somewhere between ALT1 and ALT2 aid stations at Cool when you’re coming down hill on American Canyon Trail, you take a sharp right hand turn back onto Western States Trail. In year’s past, according to Craig Thornley, this other trail I continued on was completely blocked with ribbons and very apparent, but this year WAS NOT. Which explains how I missed the turn…I was hammering that downhill section and was feeling good in that section. I don’t know whether I was sipping my bottle, picking my nose…whatever it was…I missed it.
By missing that turn I cut off about 5-6 minutes (according the the RD), as it rejoins the course down lower. Which explains why I never knew I was off course. Not even a question.
I’m super bummed and can’t believe I have to swallow this DNF pill, as I had a perfect record in over 30 ultras. It sucks to say the least, as my time was a PR for 50k and still would have been with the added time. Nothing like taking time off work, away from my kids and family, spending hundreds of dollars all to come home and someone inform you that your name is coming off the official finisher list for a mix-up you had NO IDEA about. Freakin’ sucks so much I can’t believe it. I’m still kind of in shock.
I guess this is a lesson for all of us to ALWAYS, ALWAYS not only look for flags, but study the course description (which I think is weak…it’s a handwritten map for godsakes). I guess that should be noted on the description more clearly…just my opinion. And I hope the race management, which is great at organizing the race and putting on a great event, will take this debacle and mark the crap out of that intersection in the coming years so no one else had to deal with this.
I guess the one good thing that came out of this is Ian Torrence can rest assured that he still has the upper hand, ’cause I had about a mile less on my legs at the finish when I passed him…that’s were it came from, Ian…short cuts, man…