Sunday, June 29, 2008

Western States 2008: and what about TRT?

[Note: more picture available in my Picasa album.]

As mentioned in my previous post, KiwiPaul had setup a group run on Tahoe Rim Trail for this Saturday morning. To get as far as the smoke as possible, the start was set at the top of Mount Rose (actually the Meadows), then heading South to Spooner Lake (see map).
With 34 ultra runners on the group picture, the group was impressive and represented almost 10% of the Western States starter field. Agnès dropped me right on time for the picture (I almost missed the start because we were waiting with Agnès and Greg at the parking at Mt Rose pass). But the time to get my bottles and pack ready, I started at the end of the pack, or the line as we were running on a single track. I quickly caught up with Benoit (Laval) who was speaking French with Jennifer (bluetrailgirl). After catching up with them, I ramped the pace in the pursuit of the leading group. I didn't know Jez (Bragg, the 27-year old UK ultra prodigy) but figured out he was going to run with Simon.
I passed all the group and, all of sudden, saw Simon and two other runners coming behind be as I had slow down to take one GU and S!Cap. I stopped to take a picture of them coming. We had run the first 7.4 miles in 60 minutes, on a very nice trail with many downhills. Below, from right to left: Russ, Jez, Simon, Joseph (d'Alassio) and I:
Caren was close behind Russ. The second hour included more uphills and wonderful views on both sides of the ridge. I refilled my bottle from my bladder and filled one of Simon's bottle too. Jez seemed very easy in the uphills, I hope he comes back next year to have a great match with Anton (Krupicka) and maybe one or two of the Skaggs brothers if they make it through the Montrail race series. For an exciting M20-29 age group competition!
I let Jez, Simon and Jo go as we were approaching Snow Valley Peak. I stopped at a snow patch to cool down, gave the rest of my water to Caren. Running at this elevation for so long was new to me, and we all seemed to get thirsty faster than usual.
I met Sharon Broadwell from Norway and her two pacers again as we were approaching Spooner Lake.
At the finish, met the whole Mtuy family who came all the way from Tanzania (visit Simon's Nomadic Experience website).
Not easy with a 6-month old baby, although he is already a pro with the Ultimate Direction bottles (no kidding, he was really drinking water from it!):
I also talked with Mary Kimball, Nikki's aunt who was here to crew Nikki again, after doing it at UTMB (Mont Blanc) for Nikki's win there last year. Mary lives in Oregon and speaks a perfect French thanks to severals years spent studying in Geneva and Chamonix. Mary asked me to say hello to Karine (Herry) in case their paths don't cross again soon. Below, Mary with Nikki and bluetrailgirl:
Overall, with a taste of the coming Tahoe Rim Trail 50-miler and 100-miler (not for me, but for Bev and also Adam who was supposed to pace me this weekend from the river to the high school), that was wonderful run. A great third therapy session to heal from this Western Sates 2008 DNH (or loss like some people said). Quite a successful session, thanks to Paul. Agnès picked me at Spooner Lake and we headed back to the Bay Area after a last swim in Lake Tahoe and saying good bye to our friends who provided such a wonderful vacation to the family: water skiing, wake board, paddle boarding, tubing, kayak, sail boat, helicopter tour, that was better than Club Med!
With that, 1 confirmation for next year's edition, 2 great runs and three blog posts, I think I am healed and can go on with my ultra life. Hmm, it's Sunday, maybe I'll go for 20 miles on Los Gatos Creek trail this afternoon since tapering is long gone now and it's time to think of my coming races in August (Skyline 50K on 8/3, Headlands 50K on 8/23, and the French Nationals of 100K on 8/30). After the whole month of July in France (half vacation with the family, half work at our Paris office).

Talk to you next time from France!

PS: again, more pictures from this run in my Picasa album.


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...


Your blog report is one of the best with insights and details.

I missed the run and also missed the flag raising by 30 min. However, I had great time with family. I'm glad to know your successful WS therapy.

I was touched that you share water with other ultrarunners. The TRT stretch is long, gorgeous, but also relentless that there are no stream available.

Perhaps you should sign up TRT while they have open slots for WS runners.

See you soon,


Alan said...


Great photos and narrative. Takes me back to my first 100 miler - TRT. I also ran with Sharon at TRT 100 and we came through mile 50 together. She was very nice. I'll have to pick your brain about UTMB soon as it is fast approaching.

Anonymous said...

me réjouis pour toi que tu sois "repris" pour l'an prochain; et que tu viennes courir en Sologne.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Have fun in France this month.