After the prerace meeting on Friday night I was confused about the course configuration, but the race director Ian was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me going over the course again. The course consisted of three sections, the first section being a traditional loop, the second section was a lollypop and the third section was an out and back. Feeling better about the course I organized my race stuff and decided that I would race in my Inov-8 Roclite 320’s.
|Sunrise On Greek Peak|
As we set out on the third section of the course Glen and I continued our time together and he joked about how other hundred mile racers have pacers for the second half but he had his for the first half. I warned him that if he was going to call me his pacer then I was going to nag him about eating and drinking. We were treated to a short gravel road section before turning onto a steep single track climb which lasted about two miles. It was rather slow going but we continued to stay in front of the runners we passed at the end of the second loop. As we started to get closer and closer to the end of the out and back we were eager to know how much of a lead the front runner had on us. Suddenly a female runner who looked fresh blew by us. I looked at her number to see if she was a relay runner and she was not. I was confused and asked her what distance she was running. She responded fifty and I got nervous that she looked so energized. She then divulged that she started late and that this was her first leg. I felt some relief but still did not like that she was in front. Before it could bother me too much the leader was heading towards me. Glen and I looked at our watches so we could calculate how much of a lead he had on us once we hit the turn around. A few minutes later the female flew by us and again we looked at our watches. As we hit the turn around the front runner had about twenty minutes on us and the female runner had about nine minutes. I felt like I could slowly reel her in on the way back. I still felt good and was running comfortably but my stomach was feeling empty. I was ready for a meal. At each aid station I received reports about how far behind I was and the good news was that I was closing the gap. I felt like I was hitting my stride and was running without care and then before I knew it I was flying through the air and headed for the ground. I hit the ground left shoulder first and rolled. After making sure I was ok Glen asked if that was number three and already back in stride I responded yes. About three miles from the finish I caught a glimpse of the female in front of me and was determined to catch her. I caught her and then chatted with her. Finally when we hit the gravel road we were within a mile from the finish. I looked at my watch and new I would have to pick up the pace to be under 8:30. I left Glen and kicked it in and finished with a few seconds to spare.
Although the Iroquois race isn’t well known yet it is an amazing course that has an impressive 38 miles of single track for the 50 mile course with and an elevation gain and loss of roughly 9,000 feet. The aid stations were well stocked and spaced and the race director and crew were incredible.