Friday, November 18, 2011


Well, this is it... the Chimera 100 Mile Race looms large.

22,000 ft of elevation over 100 miles, with renowned climbs and descents and dubious weather, at best... yep, all pretty normal stuff for these kinds of races, though this one is a little on the gnarly side.

Elevation profile for the Chimera 100

Checked into race, and now I'm at the hotel. The race starts tomorrow at 6AM. Feeling nervous, excited, worried, and a little scared... and also ready. The weather looks slightly ominous. I spent the last few hours with Steve Harvey and Bruce at the pre-race check-in at Hell's Kitchen, where it was cold and windy, though it could have been far worse. Bruce finally told me to get out of there and go rest at the hotel. At first I resisted, but then he reminded me that it takes a lot of energy to be cold, and I obeyed him to withdraw to the warmer rooms at the hotel.

I'm definitely feeling a bit more nervous than usual about this one, and I think the weather's to blame... it brings back memories of the C2M, where I froze in the wind and rain and became a delirious staggering mess on the mountain. But like any race, in moments of doubt I have to remind myself why I am doing it - to learn, and to have fun. I feel fully confident I will be doing both of these things. That's all that is required.

Let's see what tomorrow brings!

One final note: there will be a number of runners who will be doing the Chimera 100 miler as their very first 100, and to those runners, I wish the very best of luck. It will be fun to be there as they tackle the race head-on, and even more moving to watch them finish.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's not a race!

That's what I'm always telling Sevilla (5) and Caden (2) as they charge up the staircase in our home, tripping over themselves to beat the other one to the top, or storm out the car together to see who can get strapped into their carseat first.

So, when I tried to explain where I'd be going this weekend, it made it kind of difficult.

Me: So this Friday, I'll be driving out to the mountains because I'm going to get up early on Saturday and go to a race.
Caden: It's not a race!
Me: Well actually, buddy, it is a race.
Caden: No, it's not a race!
Me: Well, this time it actually is.
Caden: No, it's not!
Me: Well... ok, fine. It's not a race.
Sevilla (eyes wide): Mommy, are you going to win? 

Caden (howling): IT'S NOT A RACE!

He may feel differently when I give him my finisher's medal to play with... or, he won't care at all. It will just be nice to see his smiling face when I get back on Sunday. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Silverado Canyon Loop: Training for Chimera

Last Saturday morning I had the pleasure of meeting with a small group of runners signed up for the Chimera 100K and 100M race. The purpose of the meet-up was to do some night running on the terrain we'd be covering on the Chimera course once the sun goes down.

We met at 1AM in the canyon. To get directions to our exact starting point, use these coordinates in Google Maps: 33.74767,-117.5831. Also, here's a map of the loop from, an extremely helpful website with all kinds of trails mapped out by my buddy LT... Lambert was the one who organized the run, and has done some serious running, in case you can't tell from his website.

There were 9 of us in total in our starting group, and we planned to meet another group at 6:30AM... we would do one 17 mile loop, then the rest of the group would join for a second 17 mile loop. It was a chance to get some good miles in 3 weeks before the race and meet some of the folks we'd be sharing the trails with.

Overall, it was a fantastic run. The climb starts right away on single track through brush, and gains close to 2000 ft of elevation in 2-3 miles. The trail winds and loops, keeping it interesting as you continue to ascend vertically. I was talking with a runner (Cris Francisco) who had done the same trail as part of the Chimera 100K the year prior, but in their case, they had to cover that section in the heat of the day. As Cris pointed out the points at which he had stopped to throw up, I felt glad we'd be covering it in the dark during the actual race.

After the first 2-3 miles we leveled out, then for the next 4 miles followed a fire road over rolling hills. We steadily climbed another 1000 ft vertically, reaching the highest point of the loop at 4800 ft, 10 miles in. From there, it was a 7 mile descent down a winding fire road that became an asphalt road once it hit the bottom of the canyon.

Following the road along the bottom of the canyon, we arrived back at our cars about 4 hours and 10 minutes after we left them, having covered 17 miles and 3900 ft of climbing in the dark.

Checking with the rest of the group, Cris and I decided to continue on with the second loop rather than wait an hour for the 6:30AM start group to arrive... I was feeling cold and slightly weary, and was (rather selfishly) thinking how hard it would be to restart after stopping for an hour. Along with Mike Epler, we decided to push on while the others rested and waited. After restocking our water and fuel, we headed out on loop two.

The second time around was tougher but more gorgeous. This time, our climb out of the canyon beat us up further, but upon reaching the top we were rewarded with deep reds and purples in the sky to the east as the sun came up.

Overall, it was great to run that section of the course, I feel like I am finally getting a good idea of what we will encounter out there. There are still big chunks of the course I have never seen, but that's part of the fun on the day! By night, however, I should be on familiar ground, and that will be nice.

So excited for the race, and looking forward to making new friends! It will be a blast out there.