I headed down over the weekend to Reno, NV to run the Silver State 50/50. I was looking forward to running this, I had penciled it in as a training tune-up for Bighorn 100 coming up in June. I ran this race back in ’04 when it was the old course (before the fire) and was looking forward to testing my fitness after a 70-day running streak with no days off from March 1-May 9 and training hard through Way Too Cook 50k and Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k this spring.
Yassine, Ashley, Sean and I hit the road on Friday morning from Bend. After driving through the Oregon Outback, we crossed into California and stopped at a spot to get an easy run in to shake out our legs halfway to Reno. It was a fun run to cruise up a fire road and into some melting snow patches at 6000 feet. We even saw some bear tracks. Then, we bushwacked up a hillside and then down a drainage. for an easy 4.5 miles and a decent bit of elevation change. Then we jumped back in the car and cruised into Reno by about 5pm, went to pre-race check in, then crashed out. Ashely and I were running the 50 miler and Sean and Yassine were running the 50k.
After an early 4am wake up and some breakfast, Ashley and I headed over for our 6am start. Coming from Oregon we just don’t have any heat yet and I could tell it was going to be warm, as I was comfortable in my sleeveless jersey at 5:45am. At 6am sharp we were off and running and quickly up and into the exposed first sagebrush climb. A young University of Nevada Nordic skier named August Brautigam took the immediate lead and I settled into 2nd about 50 meters back as we started the 12 mile climb up Peavine Peak. As the sun came up it really started to warm up and by the time we hit a few miles below the summit, it was warm. August started to pull away in the middle of the climb, but I kept plugging away at a comfortable pace. About a mile or two below the summit, Joelle Vaught caught up to me and we ran together to the summit chatting a bit. We were able to reel in August and by the summit he was only about 20 meters in front of us. I got in and out and was only 40 meters back from August coming off the summit and into the descent off Peavine and within a 1/2 mile caught up to him. We ran together and chatted until just after the start of the Cal loop. I dropped back to take a gel and a salt tab and he gapped me a little. I felt comfortable and it was still early (mile 15) and I just wanted to cruise and not worry about “racing.” We ran the whole Cal loop in pretty much the same position. August about a 1-2 minutes up on me where I could just see him on long straights or open areas.
Soon we were back around the loop and crossed back into Nevada and hit the new singletrack section over to Ranch Creek and rejoined the 50k course. I closed the gap to 30 seconds on August in this section and headed down the steep singletrack section that heads steeply down to River Bend Aid near Boomtown Casino on I-80. I had been reeling in August on all the steeper, more technical sections and took this opportunity at about mile 32 to pass him and open up a small gap on the out and back section down to River Bend. I arrived into River Bend and got my gear swap out of my drop bag and started the long 6 mile climb back up Peavine Peak. I met August about a minute back and Joelle only another 8 minutes back. I felt good through this section and just kept up running a lot with short hike breaks on really steep sections.
I felt good up the climb and just kept plugging away and passing 50k runners and soon made it to the summit of Peavine at mile 38 in 5:52. I filled bottles and dropped off for the final descent to the finish. On the map it looks like the final 12 miles is all downhill, but it’s not. This last descent is fast and technical in spots with a half dozen 1/4 to 1/5 mile grunt ups that probably total 500 feet or so. So, you definitely have to work on the way back, as right when you get in the downhill rhythm you have to go uphill for a bit. I arrived into the aid at mile 44 and the guy informed me that I was close to the record. That got a little fire under me and I pushed hard the last 6. Once I got down almost the tunnel at the end near the park and looked at my watch, I knew Jasper’s record was just out of reach. I came across the line in 7:12:59 (86 seconds shy of the course record). So close! Oh well, that’s the way the chips fall sometimes. Can’t get caught up in the details when you have a good day just the same. Was totally stoked to run well and pull out a win.
On a Team Oregon note…Yassine ended up running 4:02 and smashing the course record in the 50k, with Sean cruising to 4th place in the 50k and Ashley got 2nd in the 50 miler. Giddyup!