Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rock Hopping with the Mountain Goats

This weekend is the Speedgoat 50k in Snowbird ski resort near Salt Lake City. At altitude, in the heat and with big hills. None of my favorite things! In preparation I did a local hidden gem, Larch Mountain. Starting at 5am and having a doc's appointment at 9am, I thought 2 hours tops for the up and down of 21km. I'd forgotten what REAL climbing was like, having run up and down the 300m to Pittock Mansion, 1200m in one never ending climb was something different.

Multnomah Falls
BUT, it has to be one of the most beautiful trail runs (well trail hikes) in the area. You start at the (surely it's photoshopped) spellbinding Multnomah Falls and climb past waterfalls, fast flowing rivers, volcanic screes, pine forest, up, up, up to Sherrard Point with 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks; Rainier, Adams, Hood, St Helens, Jefferson. You can see them all. It has to be the best view in Oregon.
Mount Rainier and Mount Adams in the distance
The run is easily the most technical I've found here and raised the expletive count above the norm, especially on the jagged rocks along the river. For 11km to take 1 hour 50 mins shows you the terrain and the vertical.

Mount Hood, I think!
So back to Speedgoat, which has a stacked field, mainly due to the proximity to the West Coast rock rabbits and the small matter of $12,000 in prize money (Western States $0 prize money). WS winner Timothy Olson runs, along with speedsters Cameron Clayton (dropped at WS) and Sage Canaday. This is allegedly a VERY technical 50k that plays out like a 50 miler, so it will be interesting to see who prevails. I'll just be happy to finish in under 5 hours given my three least favorite factors are in play. Especially after my one altitude foray at the Collegiate 50 miler resulted in a drop at halfway! Here's the men's preview And the women's

Speedgoat 50k profile
The upside is that it's pretty unique in any sport to be able to be on the same start line as the best in the business and, in theory, have a chance to race them. In other sports you couldn't just tee up with Tiger, knock up with Roger or warm up with Wayne. So, we are lucky to have such an non-exclusive sport. OK, you won't beat them, but you could, and no-one could exclude you, say you weren't in the race or find a rule to kick you out. Beautiful!

Follow the Speedgoat on Saturday on Twitter @irunfar


  1. Oh come on Ian, I know you are just wanting one of the big boys to DNF and then you can say say you beat them...

    We line up for HBTC this weekend, should be 4 hours of fun...

    1. Good luck! Sure you'll whip those youngsters!