Way Too Cool 50k

The links below provide a great round-up of the event:

I’ll provide a couple more details about how the race unfolded. I started out on the road section feeling very comfortable running 11:45 for the first two miles in the lead. I knew that it wasn’t a good idea to try and fly solo from wire to wire with such a high level of competition so I was hoping people would catch up, and that they did at about mile 3. Eric Grossman took the lead and opened up a gap that extended out a few hundred meters. I was running with Dan Olmstead in 2nd and 3rd. On the downhills, I noticed I was definitely lacking skills as a couple guys flew by me, especially on the incredibly rocky and eroded trail down to Quarry Road. I decided to spare myself the pounding and when I got to Quarry Road I opened it up, closed the gap, and eventually moved into the lead heading up the moderately steep hill at Brown’s Bar. Read about the rest of the race after the jump!

Finish line photo thanks to Serena

Finish line photo thanks to Serena

The stretch from Brown’s Bar to Auburn Lake Trails is pure trail running joy with fast single track winding in forest canopy. Now in the lead, I got into a rhythm and pushed the pace. I could see Eric Grossman and Dan Olmstead not too far behind. I refilled the water bottle at the Auburn Lakes Trails Aid Station (15.4 miles) and set off for the 6.3 mile loop. I got a jolt of energy here and picked up the pace further, but slowed down a bit on another rough descent down to the American River. I ran about 75% of Ball Bearing hill and my quad got a little crampy, but it was time for a SaltStick cap which effectively alleviated the tightness. I got into a rhythm again between Auburn Lake Trails and Brown’s Bar and then struggled a bit up the Split Lip Trail to Goat Hill Aid Station (26.8 miles). Race director Julie Fingar told me I was ahead by a couple minutes which boosted the confidence and I took an Espresso Love Gu packet which hit the spot and I felt good again through Hwy 49. At Hwy 49, off-road triathlete Rich Blanco cheered me on which was a huge help for the ensuing difficult hill for the latter stages of the race. I was relieved to crest the top of the hill and see the finish line, finishing in 3:39:51. Dan Olmstead finished second in 3:42:58 and Benjamin Berkowitz was third in 3:45:29.

The course was extended this year (it used to be Way Too Short) to make it a full 50k (31 miles). This refreshed the course records, but Uli Steidl’s amazing 3:18:17 plus the extension would have still been a good 10-12 minutes or more ahead of me. In the woman’s race, fellow La Sportiva teammate Caitlin Smith won in 4:12:20, a superb performance! This was also the first race that I implemented a nutrition/electrolyte replacement strategy used by Will Gotthardt. I think it worked great and thanks Will for the tips and suggestions! Finally, thanks to race director Julie Fingar, race management, and all the volunteers for a great day on the trails!

Blog coverage:

L to R: me, race director Julie Fingar, 3rd place Benjamin Berkowitz, 2nd place Dan Olmstead

L to R: me, race director Julie Fingar, 3rd place Benjamin Berkowitz, 2nd place Dan Olmstead

Photo courtesy the Auburn Journal

Photo courtesy the Auburn Journal

Myself near the finish, photo courtesy Jean Pommier

Myself near the finish, photo courtesy Jean Pommier

Along the single track with Shot Blok in mouth, photo courtesy Catherine (http://sierratrailrunner.blogspot.com/)

Along the single track with Shot Blok in mouth, photo courtesy Catherine (http://sierratrailrunner.blogspot.com/)

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8 thoughts on “Way Too Cool 50k

  1. Congrats on an amazing race Leor. I had you pegged for a top 5. You surprised me and I’m sure the rest of the ultra community with your outstanding win.

    Good luck with the job search. I know the feeling, as I was laid off from the residential construction industry at the beginning of the year. I know a handful of lawyers up here on the plateau in Sammamish. I could ask around if your interested on moving back up North.

  2. Congrats again, Leor! I’m so happy that everything came together for you at WTC and that you were able to take the win! No surprise – just so happy for you!

    Take good care and hope to see you soon.

  3. Pingback: Leor Pantilat: Way Too Cool 50k | trailrunningSoul.com

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