I've included here three e-mails that I wrote to previous pacers - two to Joy in 1997 and one to Bryan in 1999. The one to Bryan also contains my notes on the last 20 miles of the trail.
Joy I hear from Evan that you are interested in pacing me in the Western States run. There are a number of possibilities. I am allowed a Pacer from Foresthill, the 62 mile point, to the finish. The title "Pacer" is somewhat misleading, it's really a safety issue. The trails are remote and if someone were to get lost it could take sometime to find them. After running that far the body just shuts down when you stop and at night, without adequate clothing, you can become hypothermic very quickly. Plus there are Mountain Lions about. A "Trail Companion" would be a more appropriate name. Evan was planning to take over at the Highway 49 crossing and run the last 7 miles with me. I will probably run the California Loop section, Forest- hill to the river crossing, alone. Hopefully most of this will be in daylight. That leaves Rucky Chucky (the river crossing) to Highway 49, a distance of 15.5 miles. One place to meet up with me would be right before the crossing at mile 78. An advantage of this is that you would get to wade the American River, a high point in the race (it would have been up to your waist last year). On the other hand, if you don't want to get wet, you could meet me on the far side. In previous years this would have been difficult but the winter floods have caused a sand bar to form so it should be possible now. A third possibility is to meet at Green Gate. This is another mile or so into the race but, more significantly, avoids the steep climb from the river. The terrain goes as follows. For the river crossing there is a wire rope stretched across between two jeeps jammed up against rocks on either side. Several volunteers, in waders, hold the rope up as you cross, so that if you need to hang on for support you won't drag it under water. Last year I did not change into dry shoes or socks on the far side but I might this time. The water actually squelches out fairly quickly. There is then a steep climb, 300ft?, to Green Gate. I will walk most of this. From there to Highway 49 we travel mostly runnable trail. I just ran it in daylight and, taking it cautiously because of a foot injury, it took 2.5 hrs. A 24 hour pace allows 3.5 hours and my best time on race day might be 3hrs 17min. Total climb, from Green Gate is 1,200 ft, most of which occurs in the last mile. If you wanted to see what it's like, Evan, you, and I could run it before race day. It would also be a good idea to take a night run together to practice running with a flash light. This section of trail, although straightforward, is key for me. It was here that I slipped from a 24 hour pace last year. It's easy to lose focus or think that you are running faster than you are, when on narrow trails in the dark. Having someone to keep track of the time and keep me going will be a big help. I have a copy of the race program for you. I'll mail it. There is also a Western States web page (of course). It's at "http://www.ultracch.com/html/west_states_100.htm", and has maps, pictures, trail descriptions, etc. I will drive to Squaw on Wednesday night, probably with Evan if a summer job allows it. On Thursday there will be a very good presentation of the medical aspects of participating in this kind of event. Also they will have information on crewing, etc. Cathy will probably drive up Thursday evening. If you drive up with me on Wednesday you'll also have a chance to rub shoulders with the big guys. Several members of the Womens US 100k team are running: Ann Trason, Chrissy Duryea, Suzi Lister, for instance. I can also introduce you to women that have done the Hawaii Ironman and Eco Challenge. Miles 24hr Best Squaw Valley 0.0 5.00 Escarpment 3.7 5:55 5:52 am Lyon Ridge 11.0 7:00 6:53 Red Star Ridge 16.5 8:30 8:17 Duncan Canyon 24.2 10:00 9:42 Robinson Flat 30.2 11:30 11:07 Deep Canyon 35.8 12:30 12:03 pm Dusty Corners 40.1 1:20 12:50 Last Chance 43.3 2:00 1:28 Devil's Thumb 47.8 3:30 2:52 Deadwood 49.6 3:52E 3:13 3:30 El Dorado Creek 52.9 4:25 3:44 Michigan Bluff 55.7 5:30 4:45 Volcano Canyon 57.7 6:00 5:13 Bath Road 60.6 6:45 5:56 Foresthill Sch 62.0 7:00 6:10 Dardanelles 65.7 7:50 6:57 Peachstone 70.7 8:50 7:53 Ford's Bar 73.0 9:25 8:26 Sandy Bottom 75.8 10:15 9:13 Rucky Chucky 78.0 11:00 9:55 Crossing Far S 78.1 11:10 10:04 Green Gate 79.8 11:40 10:33 Auburn Lake Tra 85.2 1:00 11:48 Brown's Ravine 89.9 2:20 1:03 am Highway 49 93.5 3:10 1:50 Pointed Rocks 94.4 No Hands Bridge 96.8 4:10 2:47 Robie Point 98.9 4:40 3:15 Placer High Sch 100.2 5:00 3:34
Joy The numbers that I sent you were the quoted 24hr numbers and my best case expectations for last year. I was attempting to beat 24hrs and was on a 24hr pace until one section of the Auburn Lakes Trail, ie the last 20 miles. I was about 15minutes behind at 49 crossing and, as I new I did not have the ability to make it up, took the last 7miles with Evan slowly and finished with a time of 24:52. The 24hr times are an average of actual results for people that finish in about 24hrs. The general tendency is to go out too fast and the numbers reflect that. I am again shooting for 24hrs. There is nothing like running the race to find out what it's all about. This year I will start slow - probably on the 24hr schedule. Hopefully I'll be slightly ahead of this by Robinson flat, the 30mile point. I intend to make up time between here and Foresthill, mostly by picking up the pace on the downhills. I would like to be a minimum of 30min up on the 24 hr pace at Rucky Chucky (the river). If I execute the plan well to that point and still have energy left, we could run the next section faster and make up even more time. If I have no legs left, then we will have a 30min pad to use up and can take it easy. The best case numbers were my most optimistic times for last year. I doubt that I will beat these this year. I have my time in and out of each aid station from last year. We can look back over them and see how I did. I think I was about 10min ahead of a 24hr pace at the river but had burned too much energy making up a 15min deficit at Foresthill. As far as training is concerned you build endurance by long slow runs and speed by running fast in short bursts with slow jogging in between to recover. To be able to hold up in distance events, you need to be able to convert stored fat into energy. Long slow runs teach the body how to do that. When you run slowly all the fuel used is burned completely to carbon dioxide and water. As you speed up your heart rate also increases until you reach a point where you don't have enough oxygen available to burn fuel completely. This is called your aerobic threshold - the point where some fuel begins to be consumed anaerobically. The extra energy is derived from sugars burned incompletely to latic acid. This is an inefficient way of producing energy and, when latic acid builds up in muscles, they begin to function poorly. You can move this threshold up with endurance training - long runs with your heart rate close to the aerobic threshold. In most people this threshold is roughly 70% of their maximum heart rate, with max. hr equal to your age subtracted from 220. My maximum hr has been measured at 166 and my aerobic threshold used to be 123. It's difficult to increase maximum heart rate but the aerobic threshold will improve with training. There isn't much time to make improvements before your triathlon but you might try getting in one or two runs of several hours. Remember it's time on your feet, not speed, that counts, preferably with your hr close to it's aerobic threshold. Roger
Brian Pat tells me that you are interested in pacing me at Western States this year. First let me say that although most runners have pacers, you don't need one and I was planning on running alone this year. So, if being up all night just to run 20 miles with someone who is probably running slower than you can walk and is also miserable company, dosen't sound like fun, stay in bed. On the other hand you might really get off on it, so here's the deal: The most useful part to have company is the last 6 or so miles, from Highway 49 crossing to the finish. It doesn't sound like much but it takes almost 2 hours and has a a good climb at the end. Second to this is the Auburn Lakes Trail section which, depending on where you start, begins at about mile 80 and goes to mile 93 (Hwy 49). So you could pace me from the River crossing to the finish with the option of bailing at Highway 49 if you're fed up, or pick me up at Highway 49 and run me in to the finish. I have attached an e-mail I sent to Joy, Evan's girlfriend at the time, two years ago. Things haven't changed much since then. I may be in better shape now but there is a ton of snow in the high country which will add a big time penalty. No need to let me know in a hurry. The race is a week Saturday, June 26th.
Bryan I received your e-mail. Thanks. In the absence of a plan let me make some suggestions. Let's run together from the far side of the river crossing to the finish. That's about 22 miles. If I'm on a 24 hour schedule I should be at this point by 11 pm. Last year it was shortly after 10 that I arrived there so the earliest I could possibly make it, assuming a perfect run, would be around 9:30. Probably the best thing for you to do is try and link up with Pat and Cathy sometime during the afternoon - I'll guess at their schedule below and we can phone you one evening during the week to fine tune it. But if all else fails here are the directions to get to the far side of the river: Leave Auburn on Highway 49 and head for Cool, supposedly 5.3 miles. At Cool turn left on 193 and drive 6.1 miles to Sliger Mine Road (Lance's place will be on the right side of the road here). Turn left onto Sliger Mine Road and go 3.8 miles then find a place to park. Depending on how close to the dirt section you manage to get, it's 1.2 miles downhill to the Green Gate aid station then an additional 2 miles down to the river. Pat and Cathy are also planning on meeting me here and if you hook up with them earlier it will solve the car problem - otherwise we pick it up in the morning. Dress warm as you might have to wait for a while and it can get chilly by the river. You will need a flash light and a water bottle, both of which my crew will have if you don't. I'll have a drop bag shipped to the river so you can dump some clothes in that if you want to run a bit lighter. They will end up at the finish line on Sunday. There is a pacer number that we can pick up at Squaw or Foresthill and give to you at the river. Pat is going to try and get a Fax number from you today and I'll fax the crude maps from the race program. I'll also attach some notes I made a few years back so you will know what to expect. It looks as if we will climb about 2,500 feet not counting the climb back from the river to Green Gate. I will be carrying two 20 oz. water bottles. There are several aid stations along the way to fill up - you could probably manage with one, particularly if it's larger. Aid stations will have things like hot soup, coffee, Gatorade, cookies, etc. If things go according to plan we should be at Auburn before 5 am. I booked a couple of rooms in the Super8 in Auburn so throw a sleeping bag in the car if you want to crash for a few hours there. Pat, Cathy, and Lori, a friend of Cathy, will leave from Squaw after the start of the Race at 5 am Saturday. Depending on how much they want to worry about cleaning - difficult to predict but probably longer than I would - they will probably be heading back to Auburn at around 6:30. My guess is that they will drop one car at the Super8 Motel and possibly dump some stuff in a room there. The motel is on the North side of 80 at the Foresthill road turn. Say 7:30 or 8:00 here. They may eat breakfast here or drive to Foresthill and get a bite to eat there. Then they will head 34 miles back in to Robinson Flat and wait. I'll be there around 11:30. The next shot they have of meeting me will be at Michigan Bluff. Times here are a little more difficult to predict. A 24 hour pace will get me there at 5:30 pm. The next possible meeting place, and possibly the best place for you to find the group, will be Foresthill. Hopeful I'll arrive here between 6 and 7 pm. After that they will drive and hike to the river crossing. Notes from a daylight run from Green Gate to the finish. A 24 hour pace allows over 5 hours for this (6 from the river): ---------------------------------------------- The first 1+ miles from Green Gate are downhill and runnable. Then there is a 130ft climb, then level past two creeks. First mile marker is 19. Picked up another 100ft through second creek. Switch backs and long climb to 520ft. Steep right after switch backs then slow and runnable (slow) to 520 just past the 17.5 mile marker. Then level or down till about 14 miles when there was another slight climb, in two sections, at an open area. Height reached was 780, I think. Get down to river after crossing marginal creek. Trail then turns into jeep like road with generally up rolls to right turn to 49. Run lower part, walk the steep in center, cross stream then run up through trees to 49. 2.5hrs roughly to 49. Added another 600 ft here. Total up at finish line was 2460. Total elapsed time to school was 4:08 including detour into town after turning right after rr bridge. Ran very cautiously, particularly the downhill, due to irritated tendons in left instep. A 24hr pace allows 6hrs for this section, including the climb from the river to Green Gate. In general run everything to 49 except for the obvious longer up sections.