PHOTO: Yeah, nice waterfalls. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama
I decided to combo Chuckanut 50k and Gorge Waterfalls 50k, since they’re back to back weekends—coining it the “Chuck-n-Gorge Double.” Coming off Chuckanut, I wasn’t sure how my legs would do going into Gorge Wateralls eight days later, but since I have San Diego 100 coming up beginning of June, I thought it a good idea to get some back to back training in and hammer my legs a bit.
With my wife and kids visiting family in Washington, I drove up to the gorge on Saturday evening and crashed in my car the night before Ainsworth State Park, just east of the race start off I-84. It was pretty darn warm the night before (48 and overcast).
On race morning, James (the RD) got a flat tire and was late getting set up for check-in. So, we got started about a 1/2 hour late. Which gave it a little longer to warm up. I didn’t mind. 30 more minutes of recovery from Chuckanut, right?
This course is beautiful. Even though James had to reroute some and make it a bit shorter this year due to snow and other issues out of his control. The normal course is 7000+ feet of climbing, but the revised course this year was a bit short, maybe 29 miles and 5000+ feet of climbing. So, times overall were much faster.
However, the aesthetics of this course is spectacular. Running by so many waterfalls, quite impressive. I believe it’s the highest concentration of waterfall in the United States. It does not disappoint.
The course is fairly technical and you have to be focused and engaged while on the trail. One of my favorite aspects of trail running anyway so the miles just flew by. Surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good and when we hit the road section, I was able to clip off 6:30s.
I had no serious expectations for this one, just get it under the belt for training. And, the last climb ended up being a bit of a struggle for me and I was forced to hike most of it. I bonked a little. I needed to eat more calories coming off a 50k the weakend before. I was tapped out sooner than normal and my Chuckanut legs felt the final 5 or 6 miles. Luckily the last few miles are mostly downhill and I could just let gravity do the work. I ended up 3:55 in 10th overall, 1st masters. The Chuck-n-Gorge Double is highly recommended.
GEAR: Patagonia Forerunner Long Sleeve Jersey, Patagonia Merino Wool gloves, Patagonia Nine Trails short, Old Skool Patagonia hat (circa 2004), Ultraspire Isomeric Pocket handheld, Rudy Project Rx Noyz Frames glasses, RecoFit Calf Compression.