Frozen 50K

Race report by ultraunner Josh Tuttle, Team Silverdale RIOT 

The mountain looked small compared to running at Green Mountain when we did a drive by once we got down there. It turns out that the course set up used every inch of the hill to get the elevation and challenge in. It wasn't frozen but was a soggy mud bog instead. You could see that the summit ridge had minimal trees and was pretty exposed. The temp was 46 at the race start so it wasn't to cold. It was raining at the start and had been raining hard for a few days. It was a 4 loop race with 2 longer loops "around" the mountain and 2 over the summit. The 3rd loop took us over the summit too, just a different route so their wasn't much relief on the course. There was a lot of mud on the lower trail, it was 2-3 inches deep and covered all of the lower trail that was about a 2 mile part of each loop. After trudging through the mud, the climbs started on each loop. Total elevation gain was 6,299 so it was like running to the Green mountain summit 3 and a half times. The big bummer was the slow trudge through the mud in the spots that would have been nice to make up some time and float through. Greg had suggested a tyvek Portland marathon coat over my layers and it was a great call! The storm systems rolled in pretty quickly and the wind and rain got worse as the day went on, the temp dropped to 40 and the rain turned to freezing rain on the last 6 mile loop. The course crossed streams about 3 times per loop, and they doubled in size throughout the race from all the water run off. They started small and easy to cross on rocks on the first lap, but it was best to run through them once the water rose on laps 2-4 to rinse the mud off my shoes for a few steps. I felt good about my nutrition and hydration. I wasn't feeling good about my time as the race progressed but this race was going to be about how effectively I could get it done, not how quickly. 1/3 of the 50k field was DNF. My end result was a little more than an hour slower than I expected but a wicked challenge accepted and beaten. At the end of the day I was excited to have managed my way through the conditions, held a consistent pace on the back half of the race whether it was running or hiking, and was happy to complete the 50k distance. Greg was at the aid table that was by the start to make sure I and everybody else was all good before heading back out for each of 4 loops and his support was great! With our hotel host's suggestion, we found a place in town called Growler Guys with a great beer selection but no food after the race. Fortunately there was a 5 guys across the street for a delicious post race meal we could take over to blend with the good beer! I can proudly say I'm an ultra runner, crazy weather and conditions on the trails is a great day, and I might try a summer one some time 😂😝