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I was writing my Hardrock race report but Tom Hayes, RD of Old Gabes sent out the pictures from Old Gabes 50k in Bozeman and I felt a compulsion to remember. This was a race I ran two weeks before Hardrock and it brought back good memories so I will do a short (yeah right) report. I did this race two years ago after I had dropped from Big Horn 50 for being (what I thought) was undertrained. Nowadays I will run anything because you figure out that you can finish just about any race no matter how trained or untrained you are. But 2 years ago, I was into self punishment so I signed up for Old Gabes with all the climbing and fell in love. My goal was as always, not to poop myself (ongoing) and to beat my time from 2007.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Bozeman. I am a member of their co-op and have so many friends that I met through races there, so it's great to get back up there. Chris was doing the 25k and his feet were holding together nicely lately, literally. There was no pre-race meeting so we could take our time getting to Bozeman and planned on camping at the start. I love Tom and Liz's races; they are sparsely if ever marked, aid is where you need it, not where you want it and the scenery and folks are spectacular and of course, they don't break the bank which works for this unemployed fool.
Our friend Todd Cedarholm was going to be running the 50k as well so we had a little Jackson representation. We picked up our bags at 5:30am and there was a sweet shirt in there, one of those silky lightwear numbers that I love, score. Threw our crap in the car, pinned on our number and listened to Tom's last minute instructions. It was fairly cold at the start, but Chris was acting like it's a lot colder, must be the leftovers from the frostbite. He's in the green.
We took off, me like a tortoise. I have figured out my m.o. on races. I start every race feeling like I just finished a hard 50 miler. My legs feel dead, I can't catch my breath and I am usually pretty close to last. I love how people hang behind me even though I know they want to go faster and say no to my request for them to go around. Then after the race, they thank me for making them start out really slow. Yeah, no problem...Todd. He was there, hanging behind me but keeping me company because he could just chat away, plenty of air for him.
Old Gabes has about 12000 feet of climbing in this little darling 50k and is a series of two out and backs with big climbs and some steep descents. I mean you got to fit that 12000 feet in somewhere. Upon closer inspection of the profile which is here, I noticed that the number that says GAIN shows 13012 feet which equals a lot of climbing, more than Speedgoat. Tom gleefully told me that Old Gabes was almost exactly 1/3 of Hardrock which was a huge downer because I remembered not being able to walk that well after finishing in 2007 and surely thinking there was no way I could do that two more times, even if simultaneously, the bogeyman was chasing me and there was a Little Debbie Nutty Bar dangling in front of me. Maybe if there was a bigfoot sighting I might go on, but I was doubting that.
Tom and Liz also said that there would be a fun glissade into the Bostwicks, which is a wicked descent off the first climb. Sweet, less downhill to run, I thought. I remembered the first climb to be a good uphill slog but really beautiful. Todd and I are chatting (really I am just nodding my head) and I am heading up a train of people "wanting to go out slow". Liz is usually at the top of the first climb and she can cheer and ring a cow bell like nobodys business. She's a great runner is her own right and we were both mistaken for being over 60 in this years Ultrarunner great performances so we got a laugh out of that. So I get to the top and she warns us not to glissade because the snow is bullet proof. I guess the first few people got to the top, threw themselves over to glissage only to leave some much needed skin on the snow. One more reason to not be in front.
So a bunch of us clam walk down except Todd. Seems that Todd has some hidden talent so while the rest of us were clinging to branches and doing the Leonard Butt Slide (more on that in the Hardrock story), Todd suddenly has the ability to run downhill, very fast on ice. Didn't see him again until the turnaround. So we get past the hairy part and start a nice descent. I commented to another girl that I thought we went straight instead of heading off to the right and up another nasty climb. Thankfully no one listened to me because that was the wrong way that about 4 of the front runners took and ended up with 68k finish.
I had seen an old friend Frank Fumich from the GT races and he and I flip flopped until the turnaround of the first climb. I knew what was waiting at the turnaround, pickles. Tom got me started on pickles and I have to admit, I only eat them in Bozeman at Old Gabes, every other place, they are disgusting. But something about it being hot outside and pickles being so salty just suits me. I even had some pickle juice and was back on my way. Frank passed me some ways up the mellow uphill before the scamble. He was looking strong, training for UTMB.
I knew what awaited me, a down on all fours climb back up to the Bostwicks and it was all it promised to be. I passed a few people on the way up and together we made our way. Thankfully we were able to skirt the snow on the way back up and Liz had that cow bell ringing and Juniper, their dog was barking for someone to throw the stick at the top. I got to the top and refilled my bladder and was off again. I have been fighting ITBS since I started running again this Spring and the downhill was proving to be a challenge. I took it pretty easy and worked on putting my torso forward over my feet and that seems to help.
It was heating up as I made my way down to the start/finish area but I knew that I would head immediately out again. I saw Chris, who did great in the 25k and he helped me refill and get some food in me. He would be crewing at Hardrock so it was good to get some system going. Mainly me telling him what I needed without a lot of please and thank yous in between each request, short and sweet, euro style. He got me on my way and I headed for what was considered the easier half.
In 2007, I had one heck of a black period on this section and it lasted for exactly one hour. I felt okay this year and was alone except for one guy who passed me looking way too fast to be behind me. I found out later that he was one of the leaders who ran an extra 10 miles or so in the Bostwicks. He went by me and then some girl going the wrong way in some sweet bright knee socks showed up and I pointed her to the finish of the 25k. Climbed through an avalanche path that looks sketchier than it is. Those are our friends Ann and Kurt. Then I was alone to climb, one of my favorite things. It's fairly mellow climb (for the course) and it was in the shade, granted hot shade but nevertheless.
So I got my time alone and enjoyed the people coming back my way. The lead guy, looking remarkably fresh (don't they always) came at me pretty quickly into my climb. I also saw Clem who was also doing Hardrock so said a quick hi to him. I was finally done with the climb and enjoyed the long downhill into the canyon. The trail seems popular so I passed a lot of people with their dogs out for a walk the closer I got to the turn around, love the poochers out there. Finally got to the turnaround and made fast work of some coke and pringles and of course, a big fat pickle. I got out of the aid station before some brothers who were mixing their drink concoction but figured they would re-pass me and I might have some company for a while.
Started back up with my hands full of food. I have always been lucky to not have stomach problems on runs and I try to get my money's worth at races too. I finally got the food down and was back at my powerhike. The climb back up didn't seem too bad and I was trying to calculate the mileage once I got to the top but it was fuzzy math. I saw someone ahead with about 4 miles to go and I was hoping I didn't have to pass her. I am not a big fan of passing people at the end of a race. I followed behind her for a while appreciative of the walking breaks but finally caught up to her and asked her if she wanted to finish together saying that we might be able to break 9 hours. She was having knee problems and said to go ahead and she would try to hang with me.
I knew once I got to the avalanche path again, I had about 2 miles to go and when I got to the turn, I had 1.5. I caught up to a guy running at a good pace and we doing the "you go" "no you go". So we decided to go together seeing neither one of use gave a crap about where we finished. His name was Steve and he was RD for the Elkhorn 50 in Helena which has always sounded fun and low keyed, just like Steve. It was nice to have the company and we both increased our pace to get to the finish.
We crossed the bridge and were done. I soaked in the creek for 10 minutes which impressed people but the key is to keep your shoes on. It's your feet that usually make you get out early and you always clean your shoes in the process.
Sat around for a little while cheering in other finishers and drinking beer out of my new silver mug with the caribener. Then it was on to the pizza party. I had run into my friend, Fran and she said we could shower at her house but we ended up at Tom and Liz's place showering (thanks guys!) and then because we were all so hungry, we sat at their table and ate all the snack food we had. Then onto pizza and good schwag. I won some detergent for stinkyware and Chris got a headlamp. I also won my brand new age group, 40-49 so I had the choice of a mug or a trophy and being the guttonous fool I am, I went for the trophy, see below.Granted there were only like 4 girls in the 50k and they were all younger than me, but a win's a win.
We ate about 3 pizzas and had a great time talking with everyone but it was time for bed. We headed over to Fran's purple house on Lamme Street and I got to meet her husband, Kevin who I immediately liked. Fran has a dog walking business and she doesn't use leashes, dogwhisper style. We sat around the kitchen table catching up on things and petting her dog, Bok Choi who has run almost the entire Cascade Crest with her.. We slept in the truck with Miss Sophie who did great on her first ultra race car trip.
So I improved my time from 2007 by 45 minutes so that was good. I felt better the next day and that's good. So now it was 2 weeks to taper for Hardrock and there ain't nothing wrong with that.