Today I had the pleasure or running The Cashe Game Trail Race with Pat, Taylor, and Yara. The course is 18k of epic terrain climbing over 1,300 feet in Cashe Creek Canyon before dropping 1,500 feet down in adjacent Game Creek Canyon. It is by far my favorite running race and is pure bliss for me. I wasn’t able to get any pictures as we were running like bats out of hell the entire time but instead I am going to link the songs that were stuck in my head through out the race.
The first is Witness the Fitness by Roots Manuva https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y94oPOE-Ro0. This songs chorus seems very appropriate for how I have changed my philosophy towards ski training since joining the UW team. I am entering my 5th year of full time ski training and for the fist time ever I have done no interval or speed training during the early summer months. After 4 seasons of varying results in interval focused programs I am very interested to see what an over distance focus does for me as a skier. Today was the first real barometer to see how it is going. I have come to know quite a few people in the trail racing scene here in Jackson over the years (this was my third consecutive year doing this race alone). As I went to the start line teammates and friends old and new surrounded me. Even a former ski coach of mine was racing. As the gun went off, I was all smiles. This was a change from the more serious approach I had taken the last 2 years. During the fist few miles of hill climb I settled into the zone. I get to run with a former cross country team mate, Sawer Thomas (Yara’s little bro), who was great to pace off of. I have never had such a bast hill climbing before. We passed a few people and came to the steepest part of the course. We power walked up the steep trail littered in loose rocks aiming to catch the group of five in front of us which I later found out was the second pack. Sawer dropped me there but the group was still in my sights and I powered on. Upon cresting the hill and and the course high point the world seemed to slow.
The song in my head changed to the epic electronic remix “Help Me loose My Mind” originally by: Disclosure and remixed by: Mazde. Enjoy! (Free Legal Download) https://soundcloud.com/mazde/disclosure-help-me-loose-my-mind-mazde-remix I have always struggled with the downhill section of this course. It is steep and treacherous and it has been known to trip up people sometimes throwing them violently off the trail. Today was different and I made up my mind that I was going to slay this dragon! A few seconds into the downhill I experienced one of the coolest things in all of endurance sports: the second wind. The suddenly I was sprinting as fast I could and the thought crossed my mind I am a mother f*****g stallion! I started eating up terrain like none other and caught the group in front of me and passed them. We ran though the most gorgeous field of chest high wild flowers. In that moment nothing could stop me. There is nothing quite like the feeling of bone jarring flight that comes with steep downhill trail racing. It’s not smooth as skiing downhill. Knowing a single misplaced step could send you careening into the bushes is exhilaration and the amount of focus you have to put in is tremendous. I could feel the energy of the racers around me and the air was almost electric. The last part of the race enters a down flat that is brutal with legs that feel like lead but a good test of your endurance and I still felt like I was flying. Crossing the finish like I looked at my time. It was 20 seconds faster than last year. Heart rate stats were just as impressive with a in race max of 213 bpm and an average of 202 bpm sustained over an hour and twenty minutes. To put it in perspective I had done over 20 speed sessions prior to this race last year.
After the race we went to Nora’s and got huevos rancheros and biscuits and gravy, yum :). It was a perfect summer morning spent with awesome people. No complaints here in Jackson.