Tackling The Bear

At 6:00 AM next Friday, I’ll be toeing the start line of the Bear 100 in Logan, Utah. This is a race that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I’ll admit I’m a bit anxious about it – both excited to run 100 miles on beautiful trails, but also nervous about the difficulty of a course with 22,000 feet of climbing:

This summer, I’ve been doing as much climbing as possible to prepare myself for this race. Earlier this month, I did the Alyeska Climbathon, which is a timed race where you climb the Alyeska North Face trail as many times as you can in 10 hours. Each lap is around 2.25 miles up, with 2,200 feet of climbing. After reaching the top, you take the tram back down and start the next climb. I ended up completing 6 laps for just over 13,000 feet of climbing for the day.

Photo by Andy Romang

The weekend before that, I ran the Day at the Beach 24 hour race. I wanted to take it relatively easy, since it was only 4 weeks out from Bear. The race was from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday, so around 1:00 AM Sunday morning when I started getting sleepy, I went and slept in my truck for about 5 hours. Considering the long break, and that it’s a really hilly course, I felt pretty good about getting in 66 miles, which was good enough for 3rd place.

Now that race week is upon me, I’m keeping my eyes firmly planted on the weather report for Friday and Saturday. Right now they’re calling for a high in the mid-to-upper 70s, with an overnight low in the low 40s or even high 30s. That high temp is a little warmer than I would like, although that will be nothing compared to the 100+ temps I faced when I DNF’d at Pine to Palm a few years ago.

If I can manage to survive through the heat of the day, the cold of the night, and all the relentless climbing in under 36 hours, I’ll be rewarded with one of these sweet babies:

Technically, this race offers 3 different belt buckles depending on finishing time (under 24 hours, 24-30 hours, 30-36 hours). I think that’s a pretty neat touch, but I know that this is going to be a very difficult race, and in all honesty I’ll just be happy to finish under the cutoff.

If you’re so inclined, I’m bib #311, and live tracking will be available on race day.

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