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Race Report: 2018 Salomon Cappadocia Medium Trail 63K Race

24 10 2018

Race Report: 2018 Salomon Cappadocia Medium Ultra 63K Race

Introduction

After my early on the race DNF at the Maideira Island Ultra Trail Race (MIUT) in April 2018, I immediately looked for another Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) Event where I would join even if I was already registered to join the TNF Lavaredo 120K Ultra Race on the last weekend of June 2018. When I DNF at Km 65 at the TNF Lavaredo 120K Ultra due to “altitude sickness”, I have evaluated myself and accepted that I am already getting older and weaker despite the fact that I’ve been training consistently for my races. Having thought of my past DNF, I was able to assess myself that I should run shorter/medium ultra trail races which are less than 100 kilometers to regain my confidence to continue doing international trail running events.

As soon as I was going back to Manila from Madeira, I reviewed the remaining races for the UTWT and I found out about the Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail Races which is scheduled on the third week of October 2018. Through a close and good friend who is based in London, Great Britain and had visited Turkey in the past, I made her a request to find out the details of the said race even if I could easily read the details of the said race in the Race Event’s Official Website. It was on the first week of May that I decided to join the said race. From there, I was officially registered to join the Medium Ultra which is 63+K distance. Later in the month, I asked my top trail runners who are regular runners in my BR’s Events and representing the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) if they can join the event and take a shot at the longer distance which is the 119K event. Finally, we made a team of three (3) runners in the Medium distance (63K) and two (2) runners in the Ultra distance (119K). It was later, in the following months that another Filipino trail runner, Alex Yap, registered also to join the Ultra distance event. For this year’s 2018 edition, the Team PAU/Philippines is represented to join this event for the FIRST time!

My trip itinerary with our Team will be discussed in a separate blog to include our accommodation in Urgup, Cappadocia, Turkey. This is to include my training and other administrative activities related to the Race.

Salomon Cappadocia Poster/Logo

Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Races Statistics

Race Proper

The Cappadocia Ultra Trail (CUT) 119K and Cappadocia Medium Trail (CMT) 63K Races started at exactly 7:00 AM of Saturday, October 20, 2018 at the Town Center of Urgup with 300+ CUT starters and 500+ CMT starters. So, 800+runners were at the starting line raring to go for their respective distances in a cold morning. After some greetings and briefing by the Race Director/EMCEE, the race started where I placed myself and my Pinoy co-runners for the CMT at the middle of the pack. The two Pinoy runners for the CUT were positioned in front of the runners.

Cappadocia Medium Trail 63K Elevation Profile/Details

The first 2 kilometers were on an uphill cobble-stone wide road where I could easily find my space once I left the starting line. Once the road leveled up, I was already few meters away from the start of the trail/dirt road where later we have to cross the paved highway going to the center of Urgup. Once I was on the wide dirt road, I was already feeling comfortable with my pace aside from the fact that we had a familiarity of the place due to a recon run on the first 9K of the route two days before the race day. As the wide dirt road would become narrower into a single-track trail, I would pass the slower runners who would form a “conga” line from the sides of the trail. This had been my routine on this part of the course, most specially, on the ascending portions of the trail. There were some flat portions where I could run and hike on short steep ascents until we reached a cobble-stoned paved road leading to a populated area where a “Stone Castle” is located. We passed this town and we descended to a very steep cemented stairs until we reached again a dirt road.

Cappadocia Ultra Trail Start/Finish Area

First 3-4 Kilometers of the Route

Cappadocia’s “First” Castle

It was my plan to have an average speed of at least, 6 kilometers per hour on the first 10K of the course just to able to reach the first checkpoint so that I could have a buffer time of 20 minutes. And that is what I did. I reached the first checkpoint in 1:30+ minutes and I did not have to waste any time inside the Aid Station after I refilled my bottles with water. The place is called Ibrahimpasa which 10.8 kilometers away from the Start Line. I picked up 3 slices of Apple and placed them inside my Salomon Vest pocket. It took me at least one minute in this Aid Station. From this Checkpoint, it was another paved road going to the very peak of the mountain which is lined with houses. It was drizzling and cold but I enjoyed the coolness of the day and the air around me. Once at the peak, everything after was about 7-kilometer downhill where I was surrounded with the beautiful scenery of the mountains and hills on both sides of the trail. The scenery consisted of rock formations and rocks with some holes in them. I knew that the distance from Checkpoint 1 to Checkpoint 2 is 17 kilometers but I was confident that my two bottles of water and drink mix were enough for my hydration for the whole distance due to the cold weather. Although I have an empty hydration flask in my pack as a reseve for my hydration drinks, I was not able to use it during the whole duration of the race.

Route Scenery

The descending portion from the peak ended in a populated area with cobblestoned roads with commercial establishments on both sides and some parking areas. Race Marshals were there to point to us on which direction to take once we approach a road crossing. Because of the different electric posts and trees abound on both sides of the streets, there were tape markings tied on these posts and trees aside from those sticks with flag being being placed on strategic places and corners of each street turn. and As I got nearer to Checkpoint 2 which is called Uchisar, another populated area with houses and commercial establishments, I could see two pointed stone castles from afar but I need to pass through tunnels and canyons on a single-track trail. There was an incident where I bumped my head on the on the upper portion of the tunnel when I was not able to bend my body at a lower level just to be able to clear and pass through the tunnel. A Malaysian trail runner, Bryan Kho, was tailing behind me when this incident happened and he shouted to me, “Ingat, Sir”! (Be Careful, Sir!). And I said, “Thank you!”. I am glad that was the only cave with the lowest ceiling over ones head! The 63K route has a lot of tunnels to pass through and most of them are wide and big enough for the runners to pass through.

Cappadocia’s Second Castle

On a winding and uphill route going to the Checkpoint 2 (Uchisar), most of the runners in front of me would bring out their cellphones and took some pictures of a garden with lots of flowering plants beside the road. I was not tempted to bring out my phone and promised myself not to take any pictures of anything along the route before the start of the race. Finally, I reached the Uchisar Aid Station which also served as the Checkpoint 2. It is located inside the “Rock Castle” and I estimated that I was able to add another 15 minutes to my buffer time which was already 45+minutes in total. I did not stay long in the Aid Station after I refilled my bottle; drank some water and Coca Cola; and finally mixed my powdered nutrition. I left a lot of runners at the Aid Station who arrived earlier than me. I was already approaching Km 28. as soon as I left the Aid Station.

Camel Along The Road

Few meters from the Aid Station is a very steep descent that runners in front of me would stop and look for other part of the route where their trail shoes would be stable and prevent them from sliding. Although I did not have any trekking poles, I was happy that I decided to use my Salomon Speedcross 4 as it gave me the appropriate and stable traction on those loose and steep downhill runs. On the downhill, I observed that there were lots of tourists along the route and there was a group of children who were very noisy as they trekked the trails where we shared with each other. I avoided these children until I reached a paved highway with some Police and Race Marshal directing the traffic as runners would cross the Highway. It was at this point that I was able to see a Camel and because of my excitement to see one for the first time, I brought out my Cellphone and took a picture of the animal and a “selfie”!

Cappadocia’s Camel “Selfie”

From the Highway, it was another descending part of the route with rock formations on the left side and I was amazed with the beauty of the place. It was starting to heat up as the sun would show from the cloudy sky but the air was still moderately cold. I would be running with other runners on a wide dirt road which is sandy and loose on this part of the route. There are other parts which are muddy but my trail shoes would manage to maintain its traction. On these flat sandy trail, I would increase my pace and race with the other runners, making those runners in front of me as my “targets” to overtake. At this point, I was confident that I would be able to finish the race in less than 10 hours based from my prevailing speed as recorded by my Garmin GPS Watch. But I think, I celebrated too early!

I finally reached Checkpoint 3/Aid Station 3 in Goreme which is Km 35.5 with one hour and 15+minutes as buffer time and I was able to meet Akyut, a very popular Turkish ultrarunner who is finished the Spartathlon for so many times, as the Chief Marshal at the said Aid Station. I refilled my bottles and grabbed some apple chunks/cuts and stashed them in my vest pockets; ate some chocolate raisin bread; and drank some Coke. I was frustrated to find out that they don’t have any Ice which I intend to use for my Ice Bandana. I think this is the place where I stayed longer for about 4-5 minutes.

Rock Formation Scenery Along The Route

I started running on a flat terrain for about 1.5 kilometers from the Goreme Aid Station until I reached another paved road where I merged and joined the runners of the 38K distance event. As I left the paved road towards the trailhead, I was joined by these 38K runners who can still run through the trail on the ascents while I would hike on such parts of the route. I became irritated and uneasy whenever I could hear the footsteps of these runners who would be a group in 5-6 runners or more on a “conga” line. I was courteous enough to side step on the trail whenever they would be behind me and I was able to do this for so many times. Knowing that the distance to the next Checkpoint is 12.7 kilometers with two peaks/mountains to pass, I knew that my pace and speed had slowed down. Aside from the passing 38K runners, the ascents and descents were more technical, steeper, and more challenging. I was already having some signs of early cramping at this point but I was able to manage it through my nutrition and tempering my speed/pace. This part of the course slowed me down and I conclude that this is the hardest part of the course! However, this part of the course could be the most scenic and most beautiful, too.

As I was about to descend from the second mountain, the 63K and 119K runners were separated from the 38K runners and I was happy to be alone again on the trail. This is where the scenery would be amazing again. The single track trail would be tricky/technical because it is along the side of the rocky mountain where either side of the mountain would be very steep and scary to look to the bottom of the mountain. The downhill on the side of the mountain has long switchbacks but there are steep short ascents and descents in-between. Finally, I reached a descending cobblestoned road that leads to a populated area which is lined up with commercial stores with their local products. After a short right turn from these stores, I would see the Aid Station at Cavusin which is Checkpoint 4 and located in a small one-story building on the corner left side of the road.

Mountain Peaks & Castles

I refilled my bottles, drank water and coke, ate some slices of their chocolate raisin bread and stashed some slices also inside my empty ziplock bag. I already knew at this point that my buffer time of one hour plus had been reduced to less than 30 minutes and I really needed to get back fast on the trail route. I was following a male runner which was 10 meters ahead of me and after about 200 meters, I was faced with steepest incline of the course which took me almost half hour to reach the first level portion which later became much steeper after one kilometer. I call this portion as “Kiss The Mountain” (where the slope of the mountain is on your face) and there is no established trail as I reached the peak of the mountain. I was passed by a tall and younger male runner with trekking poles when I reached the peak of the said mountain and our eyes met with each other and smiled to one another. At this point, I was already cursing myself why I did not bring my new GIPRON Trekking Poles with me. Anyway, it was only at this part of the race where I thought I would have needed the aid of my trekking poles.

I could not believe when the peak of the mountain is a plateau where we would run for at least 2 kilometers and descending to a trail on the side of the mountain for another 3-4 kilometers. As I start to descend from the mountain, I would see the next Aid Station which is the Fifth and Last Checkpoint at Akdag, but it was still another almost 3 kilometers afar before reaching the Checkpoint. On these last 2 kilometers to the Checkpoint, the trail was very steep and the soil was very loose that almost all the runners in front of me had to slow down. But my reliable Salomon Speedcross 4 did the work for me as I put more speed on my downhill run. I reached the Akdag Checkpoint with about 30+ minutes as a buffer time from the cut-off time of 10:30 hours. With almost 9 kilometers to the Finish Line, I knew I would be able to finish the race in 11+hours. I refilled my bottles for the last time and mixed my nutritional powder which would be enough to bring me to the finish line.

Rock Formation Along The Route

The last section of the course is a vineyard with a rolling terrain which I would run the flatter sections and brisk walk the ascents. I could hear the sounds of the passing vehicles from the highway and it was my gauge on how I was progressing in my run towards the finish line. The sounds were becoming louder as I got nearer to the Highway but it was becoming darker as the sun was already setting to the west horizon. I was passed by a couple of male and female runners who are locals in Turkey and I made them as my “guides” towards the finish line. They were also kind enough to wait for me as I appear around the bend to make sure that I was following them. I decided not to use my headlight as I knew the street lights would be able to illuminate the last meters to the Finish Line. As soon as I crossed the Highway, it was my last 800 meters towards the Finish Line and everything was all downhill! However, I was very careful on the last few meters of the cobblestoned road because the road was rough and the cobblestones were not lined evenly flat that I might trip on them with a single misstep. (I found out later that some runners had fallen and tripped themselves on this road before they crossed the finish line).

Live Update Time Of Finish

I crossed the Finish Line in 11:36+ hours, which is almost one hour before the race cut-off time of 12:30 hours! I was happy and I was able to redeem myself from my past DNFs in the Ultra Trail World Tour races where I registered. This finish gave me much more confidence to join and tackle more international trail races in the future. Aside from my personal satisfaction and accomplishment of this race, my Team PAU made a history as the FIRST Filipino Team of Ultra Trail Runners to have finished the Cappadocia Ultra Trail 119K and the Cappadocia Medium Ultra 63K Trail Events.

Salomon Cappadocia’s Ultra FIRST PINOY Finishers (From Left: Alex Yap, Thomas Combisen, Khristian Caleon, Jovenal Narcise/BR, Rodrigo Losabia, & Ronnel Valero)

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Official Result: 6th Antique 100-Mile Endurance Run

24 09 2018

6th Antique 100-Mile Endurance Run (2018)

Starting Area: Guimbal Municipal Hall, Iloilo

Start Time/Date: 10:00 PM September 14, 2018

Finish Area: Culasi Municipal Hall, Antique

Finish Time: 7:00 AM September 16, 2018

Cut-Off Time: 33 Hours

Number Of Runners: 10 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 9 Runners

Percentage Of Finish: 90%

Race Start @ Guimbal Municipal Hall

RANK        NAME              TIME (Hrs)

  1. Remy Caasi (Overall Champion/Female Champion/Female Course Record)—25:17:58
  2. Edwin Fernandez (Male Champion) —27:19:34
  3. Gibo Malvar (1st Runner-Up, Male) —27:20:20
  4. Dondon Talosig (2nd Runner-Up, Male) —28:20:24
  5. Richard Gano —31:11:31
  6. Rodrigo Losabia —31:20:15
  7. Carl Don Rudas —31:24:36
  8. Reese Rogel (1st Runner-Up, Female) —32:54:30
  9. Tess Leono (2nd Runner-Up, Female) —32:58:20

Remy Caasi, Overall/Female Champion

Edwin Fernandez, Male Champion

Congratulations To All The Finishers!





Official Result: 3rd Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultramarathon Race

4 09 2018

3rd Tagaytay To Naic 100K Ultramarathon Race (2018)

10:00 PM September 1, 2018 to 6:00 PM September 2, 2018

Starting Line: Picnic Grove, Tagaytay City

Finish Line: Covered Court (Municipal Plaza), Naic, Cavite

Number Of Starters: 22 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 20 Runners

Group Picture Before The Start

RANK          NAME             TIME (Hrs)

  1. Gibo Malvar (Overall Champion) —14:10:40
  2. Aldrin Pallera (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —14:30:23
  3. Dondon Talosig (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —15:12:12
  4. Mark Devora —15:31:17
  5. Jenneth Soriano (Female Champion) —16:40:47
  6. Goldenboy Herrera —17:15:42
  7. Jay Velasco —17:39:08
  8. Aldwin Palomo —17:48:28
  9. Aris De Leon —17:48:30
  10. Kathleen Piñero (1st Runner-Up, Female) —18:19:54
  11. Bob Tolete —18:19:58
  12. Tereso Sy —18:20:02
  13. Khristian Caleon —18:23:15
  14. Glenn Rosales —18:23:18
  15. Lawrence Cajote —19:13:06
  16. Reque Angway —19:13:13
  17. Anne Rose Paras (2nd Runner-Up, Female) —19:37:43
  18. Barney Mamaril —19:38:07
  19. Michael Socito —19:38:17
  20. Arianne Ortega (Female) —19:54:38

Gibo Malvar, Overall Champion

Jenneth Soriano, Female Champion

Congratulations To All The Finishers!





Official Result: 6th WEST COAST 200K Ultramarathon Race (2018)

19 08 2018

6th WEST COAST 200K Ultramarathon Race (2018)

4:00 AM August 17, 2018 To 10:00 PM August 18, 2018

Starting Line: Remy Field Oval Track, Subic Freeport

Finish Line: Barangay Lucap, Alaminos City (Pangasinan)

Cut-Off Time: 42 Hours

Number Of Starters: 7 Runners

Number Of Finishers: 5 Runners

Percentage Of Finish: 71.4%

6th WEST COAST 200K Starters

RANK          NAME                    TIME (Hrs)

  1. Thomas Combisen (Overall Champion) —32:25:45
  2. Gibo Malvar (1st Runner-Up, Overall) —38:32:43
  3. Carlito Rudas Jr. (2nd Runner-Up, Overall) —40:45:46
  4. Edwin Fernandez —40:51:05
  5. Richard Gano —41:10:56

2018 WEST COAST 200K Finishers (42 Hours)

Congratulations To All The Finishers!

 





2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 4)

8 08 2018

2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 4)

From Badwater Basin To Furnace Creek (0 to 17.5 Miles)

It was almost 15-20 minutes after the race started when we left the Parking Area. After being shouted at by the Traffic Marshal as we merged to the road, we moved on with a slow speed. I didn’t mind being shout at as it was a result of misinterpretation of the hand signal of the Marshal. Our main focus was to support Tess Leono and I have also the habit to shout at runners who are trying or observed to be violating my race rules and regulations.

Tess was already far from our sight as we moved on the first 200 meters of the route. Actually, we could no longer see her back! The temperature was still 120 degrees Fahrenheit and there was no sign that the heat is beginning to cool down even if the sun is about to set from the west horizon.

It was already “early evening twilight” when we saw the back of Tess on the left side of the road. She was not on the back of the pack as we advised her to be easy and slow on this section of the route but we were surprised to see her at the middle of the pack!

The following were the notes I had written/inputted in my iPhone’s Notes from the time the race started as I drove the Support Vehicle:

• Initially running at 9 kilometers per hour up to Km 5
• She kept on pouring water on her head on the first 5 kilometers and we had to stop every 2 kilometers (1.25 miles)
• She was looking like “stressed and nervous” on the early part of the race until she reached Km 8 (5 miles)
• Advise her to slow down within the first 5-kilometer stretch and advise her of the 12:3 ratio of run and walk (12 minutes of run/jog and 3 minutes of walk). She can lower her speed to 7 kilometers per hour.
• At Km 11, she had her first pee and she slowed down to a speed of 8 kilometers per Hour.
• She started to ask for a change of Shoes at Km 12 but when I asked why she was changing on the early part of the race, she changed her mind and decided not to push through.
• Told her to take some bite foods at Km 12 and she did. At this point, she was relaxed on her pace but she was still sweating profusely.
• At 9:00 P.M it was still 113 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature (as glanced from the Vehicle Controls)!
• Reached Km 15 in 1:58+hours
• She asked for her Chamois cloth at km 16.8.
• Arrived at Km 18 in 2:30 hours
• Arrived at Km 19 in 2:38 hours
• Arrived at Km 20.5 in 2:52 hours
• Asked for Coke for the 1st time at Km 21.6 at 3:03+hours
• Arrived at Km 24.6 in 3:36:30 hours
• Arrived at Furnace Creek Crossing Km 27 in 4:00:00 hours
• Arrived at Furnace Creek Aid Station at Mile 17.5 in 4:18 hours
• Bought 3 packs of Ice at Furnace Creek General Store
• Arrived at Km 40 (Mile 25) in 6:17+hours

2nd Day Sunrise

My Personal Observation On The First 25 Miles

Tess was very fast on the early section from the Start to Furnace Creek Time Station @ Mile 17.5 (Start To Mile 17.5) but she apparently slowed down on the later half of the section due to many stops and refill/exchange of her Simple Hydration Bottle with Ice Cold Water. She was holding/carrying only one bottle at a time during the run. However, I have observed that most of the 16 fluid ounces of ice cold water was being poured on her head. We reached the Time Station at Furnace Creek at 4:18+ minutes without any mandatory cut-off time at this point.

It was in this Time Station (Furnace Creek) that she asked for a seat and a change of her shoes. In an instant after she sat, she was already having muscle cramps on her legs. We wanted to stretch or massage her legs but she shouted at us with “Don’t touch me!” Ok, fine…She was sweating profusely and we gave her a lot of water in her hydration bottle but I have observed that she would pour the ice cold water on her legs! Ok…I thought, maybe she wanted to have her 2XU long tights to be wet with cold water. Later on, she asked for a pair of scissors. What? For what is the scissors? Khris gave her the pair of scissors and she was cutting the lower part of her tights in a vertical manner. I only suspect that the tights was putting a lot of pressure/compression on her ankle and calf muscles. She felt relieved when she made some cuts on her tights. Later, I found out from her that it was her first time to use this new 2XU tights. I thought she was using her old tights for this event. We gave her the food that she asked at this point. In a few seconds after the pouring of ice cold water on her tights/legs, cutting her tights, and eating some foods/drinking some water and Coke, she was back on the road.

It was her request that we should stop whenever we see her on the road. In my estimate it would take us a few minutes from the time we prepare her next supply of water and food before we move from where we stopped up to the time we see her on the road. Sometimes, she would run, at least, one kilometer before we would look for a parking space on the side/shoulder of the road. As a driver, it was very tricky to look for a wide and stable space on the shoulder/side of the road. There are times that the shoulder is very loose with small rocks/sand that you don’t want your tires to go deep on those loose sand and rocks. The RD had advised us not to suddenly brake on these loose shoulders once we park our Support Vehicle as some of the vehicles would be sucked on the side of the road. It is also automatic that we would slowly drive our vehicle out of the shoulder when we leave. There is no rush in parking and leaving the parking area.

Loose Shoulder Along The Road

We could no longer count how many times we parked at the shoulder of the road of which we don’t have to. But it was difficult for us to have a nap or have time to rest and wait for Tess as she approaches our Support Vehicle as soon as we park our Support Vehicle on the shoulder. This park-support-leave cycle was repeated every almost one kilometer to one mile until it was sunrise.

At the break of dawn, we would see a lot of runners and Support Vehicles passing us and they are the runners that started with the Second Wave at 9:00 PM. Tess would continue with her run and walk, and she was back with her good running condition.

It was a matter of time before we reached Stovepipe Wells at Mile 40 as Tess would move progressively forward with the rest of the runners. The heat temperature had lowered in the early morning of Monday but it went as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit as early as 9:00 AM. As the runners relentlessly moved forward, the heat of the sun and the winds had also relentlessly became hotter and stronger. At a distance, we could see already the building structures of Stovepipe Wells. It was time to prepare myself as the Pacer of Tess once she reaches the Stovepipe Wells General Store.

Pacing Tess Leono From Stovepipe Wells To Panamint Springs

At The 2,000 Feet Elevation Marker

• Started to pace her at Stovepipe Wells General Store. We power hiked the uphill up to the Time Station where the RD was waiting which is still 8 miles away from the center of SP Wells. The RD was located at the 2,000 Feet Elevation Sign on the left side of the road. At this point, the RD told us that we missed the 10:00 AM cut off time by 9 minutes but he told us that we just proceed to Panamint Springs and be able to recover the negative time we had. It was time to push Tess to jog and hike the uphill climb to the peak of Towne Pass. At this point, the Elite Group who are with Wave 3 started to pass us and I observed that they consistently jogged on the road which is to my estimate is 5-15% gradient. I tried to jog behind Tess and I felt comfortable. While I slowly jogged behind her.

From Stovepipe Wells To Towne Pass

• Since I don’t want that our crew would also assist me on my needs from the Support Vehicle, I asked them to aid and concentrate on helping Tess on her needs once we approached our parked Support Vehicle. There are times when Tess would simply leave me as I was still refilling my bottles and chewing my solid foods. Most of the time, she would be 50-60 meters ahead of me and I have to jog the uphill climb just to be able to be directly positioned behind her. It would take me almost one minute to jog the distance where Tess is located.

Before Reaching Towne Pass

• Early on, I taught her run while counting on her strides. I told her that we should do the “20/20 strides”—-20 strides on the run & 20 strides while walking. We did this kind of run & walking ratio on our way to. Panamint Springs. I also taught her to power hike as if she was race walking!

• After we crested the peak of Towne Pass, I was confident that the downhill route to Panamint Springs will provide us the confidence of a faster pace and speed. But I was wrong!

To be continued….

Downhill From Towne Pass





2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 2)

4 08 2018

2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 2)

Pahrump To Furnace Creek

I was surprised to see that Pahrump had been developed to a larger community of Commercial establishments and residences as compared when I first passed by at this place 10 years ago. This town is 60 miles away from Furnace Creek and it is about 50-minute to 1-hour drive. The scenery of the desert and mountains changed as we entered nearer to the Death Valley Park. Since it is mandatory for the Badwater 135 runners to purchase a Permit or Adventure Pass to stay at Death Valley Park, we have to stop in an unmanned Kiosk along the Highway and purchase the $30 Permit Pass which Tess Leono had to show to the BW staff during her Registration at Furnace Creek Registration Area. Since the place is unmanned Kiosk, you need to have a Credit/Debit Card to purchase the said Permit Pass.

Death Valley Park Kiosk For Permit Pass

From this point, you could see all around you the different colors of the rocks and mountains which I was not able to appreciate during my previous trips in this area. Five miles from Furnace Creek, on your left, you could see a large Parking Area which is the trailhead of the famous Zabriskie Point, a tourist spot in the area. However, at this period in the year with the high temperature in the area, it is very risky to hike on these spots. It was later in the day when I found out that these mountain and rocks around us were popular shooting locations of Hollywood’s Cowboy Films when I was still a child, starring Richard Widmark, William Holden and Marlon Brando in their younger days.

Zabriskie Point (Photo From Google)

Finally, we reached the Furnace Creek Inn Resort which is the only Hotel establishment that you can see at the intersection of Highway 190 and the Road to the Badwater Basin. It is located on the right of the Highway. The place is now called the Oasis At Death Valley which has a Resort, Ranch and Golf Course! This is the first place where runners should go for their Registration, Body Shots/Picture with Race Bib, Group Picture of the Runner’s Team, Expo For Merchandise Items for Sale , and where to meet the other Runners for the first time.

Furnace Inn Resort/Oasis Of Death Valley (Photo From Google)

At The Furnace Creek

There was a long line of Runners and their Support Crew when we entered to the Lobby of the Resort. There was a need to Fill-Up some forms for the whole Team and wait in line before we were told to proceed at the Registration Area, which is the Ground Floor of the Resort. The Registration and Plate Number of our Support Vehicle were also needed. After Tess submitted all the required forms and documents, we were led to the Pictorial Area where Tess “Mugshot” was taken as well as the Group Picture of Team Leono. The next step is more interesting…Shopping for the Badwater Merchandise! Badwater Rules and Regulations is very strict that we need to have Category 3 Reflectorized Outfit for the Support Crew. As compared to Category 2 Vest, the Category 3 Vest has Reflectorized bands on the sleeves. It is only the Runner/Participant who have the option to use any kind of reflectorized vest during the race.

Tess Leono’s Pictorials

Catra Corbett & Her Book

I had a chance to greet my friend, Catra Corbett, who was at the Pictorial Area promoting her newly published book and I was able to buy a copy of her book with an autograph. One of our Support Crew was able to buy also her book and had some pictorial with her. From here it was time for us to look for our accommodation which was reserved by Tess.

Furnace Creek Inn Lobby (Photo From Google)

One mile from the Oasis At Death Valley along Highway 190, is where our room/accommodation is located. It is called the Furnace Creek Ranch, simply called “The Ranch”! The entry road to the establishment is beside a Gasoline Station (the only one at Furnace Creek!) and a road further down along the Highway is the entry to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center where the Digital Thermometer is located. After our Check-In at The Ranch, we finally have the comfort of our bed in an Air Conditioned room. The room is a heaven for us knowing that the outside temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit and it was still going up later in the afternoon. The Ranch consists of rows of two-store buildings with rooms and we were designated to stay at Building 6, first floor. The rooms are designated from 500-900, of which I really don’t know if the establishment has that 400+ rooms in the said place. From afar, you could not see the buildings as this patch or portion of the Furnace Creek is the only green and vegetated area in the place surrounded with trees and palms. There is a Diner, a Golf Course, and Golf Shop/General Store where we can buy some groceries and ice, but with a higher price for obvious reasons.

Furnace Creek Ranch Palm Trees

The View From Our Room At The Ranch

After we settled in our room with our personal belongings, we went to the Diner to have our late Lunch/early Dinner. It is a walking distance from our Building but we opted to ride in our Support Vehicle because of the heat outside the building.

The Diner is big and according to Tess, it is a new structure in the place. It looks like a huge Cafeteria to me where one has to order his/her choice of food whether its Pizza, Pasta or Hamburger and some packed foods and sliced fruits. There is unlimited serving on drinks/Soda if you paid for the drinks. A Whole Pizza costs $24.00, enough to have 2 slices for the members of the team and Hamburger with French Fries at $13.00 each. The drinks must an additional $3.00 each! After our lunch, we went back to our room and waited for the scheduled Race Briefing at 5:00 PM of Sunday with only the Runner and the Chief Support Crew in attendance at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

Date Grove Diner @ The Ranch

Inside View Of The Diner

The whole team went to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center where there is a Hall and Seats, which looks like a Stage or a Hall where a Movie/Film could be shown. The rest of the team waited at the Lobby of the Visitor Center where there is a Merchandise Store, Museum, and Reception Area manned by The Park’s Rangers/Management. Tess and I went inside the Hall and the Race Briefing had started already. All the seats were full, some were seated on the floor at the back portion of the Hall and some were just standing on edges of the said Hall. Chris Kostman, the Race Director & Organizer was at the stage infront of a Speaker’s Podium and Microphone. He just barely started as he was relating to the audience about the history of the event and the his story on how he became the Race Director and Organizer.

His briefing progressed with a relax tone with some funny ad-libs to his briefing. He explained the reasons why the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Race is considered as the “Toughest World’s Foot Race” as stated by the National Geographic Magazine; writers from Outdoor Magazines around the world, and from other Runners who finished this Race. As he was talking about his mission/objective as the Race Director, he asked the audience if there are Race Directors in the audience and asked them to stand up. Of course, I was one of those who stand up because my BDM 102 is becoming popular to international runners. Until it came to a point when he called the International Runners mentioning their country and letting each runner stand up to be recognized. I cheered, shouted and clapped when Tess Leono and Philippines were mentioned by the RD. He asked the “First-Time” runners to stand up and congratulated them for being selected in this year’s edition of the event. And then asked the “repeaters” of this event to stand up, mentioning how many times they have finished and then asked to sit down until the last one, Marshall Ulrich, remained standing! Yes, he is the Legend of the Badwater 135 for finishing the event for 20 times and winning as Champion in some of the editions, I think, for four or five times!

Race Briefing With RD Chris Costman

He awarded an Award of Recognition to Ray Sanchez who finished the Badwater 135 for 10 consecutive years! Wow! And after the awarding, Ray Sanches was made to say a few words to the audience. This guy is really tough! He got a lot of applause from the audience.

The last part of the briefing is the briefing presentation on the Rules and Regulations of this race. It just a repetition of those R & R that you can read on the event’s website and the regular e-mail that a runner-participant receives from the Race Director.

Some administrative announcements had been made about what establishments along route which will be open at nighttime and early morning where gasoline, water, grocery and additional ice will be available. There are four significant places/locations where these runners’ needs will be available: Furnace Creek Ranch; Stovepipe Wells; Panamint Springs; and Lone Pine.

After the briefing, all the runner-participants were asked to assemble infront of the Digital Thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center for the Group Picture. I took this opportunity to take some picture of the runners and talked to some of them.

Group Picture Of Runners

Tess Leono will be starting with the First Wave of Runners at 8:00 PM of Monday, July 23, 2018. We have at least a day, 24 hours, to rest and prepare before going to the Starting Line at Badwater Basin, 17 miles away from Furnace Creek. We should be there before 7:30 PM for the Weighing, Final Briefing and Group Picture.

It’s time to rest and sleep. It will be two (2) very long days ahead of us once the race starts.

To be continued…





2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 1)

2 08 2018

2018 Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Experience (Part 1)

Introduction

I did not have any plans of going to the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Race for this year or go thereat to have a visit in the US on the early or middle part of this year. But I was thinking early this year to have my “redemption” run in this year’s Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance Run which is usually held on the last weekend of October.

When Tess Leono was admitted in the lottery for this year’s Badwater 135 last February, I was surprised when she asked me to be her Chief Support Crew in the event, together with some members of Team PAU (Philippine Association of Ultrarunners). I was supposed to be a part of her Support Team in her first time to participate in the event (in 2016) where she finished and unfortunately, I was not able to make it due to more important commitment within the family. Actually, my International Race Schedule had been set as early as January of this year and Crewing for Tess at Badwater 135 Ultramarathon Race was not included as I wanted to return to Arizona, USA for my redemption at the 2018 Javelina Jundred in October of 2018. With her request, I have to adjust my schedule and finances. Having travelled to MIUT in Portugal (and London, Great Britain) in March and then in TNF Lavaredo in Italy in June, it drained a lot from my financial resources/savings and I was hoping that I could save some money for the rest of the year for my October trip to Arizona, USA. Nevertheless, if there is a will, there is always a way to solve problems.

I have known Badwater 135 Ultramarathon Race since I have started blogging, moreso, when I got hooked on ultra marathon. When I thought of creating and organizing the 1st BDM 102, I extensively visited its website and read its rules and regulations. Even if I attempted to provide Aid Stations in every 20 kilometers of the course of BDM 102, I have always returned to its website as my reference. On the 2nd edition edition of BDM 102, I completely copied and implemented the Rules and Regulations of the Badwater 135 to the BDM 102. Thus, it started my interest in this event and I even went to the Badwater Basin to witness the start of the 2009 edition of the event. I made post on this blog about such experience, thereby, seeing my “idols” in ultra marathon in person!

2009 Badwater 135 Champions: Jaimie Donaldson & Jorge Pacheco

It became more interesting when Benjamin Gaetos finished this race in 2013 as the First Filipino Finisher and and then another Filipino based in California, Thomas Zaide, finished it and another Filipino based in New York City, Gerald Tabios, would finish the race, but it was Tess Leono who made an impact and more interest on this event because she was the First Locally-based Filipino and First Female Filipino to finish the race in 2016. In 2017, Franco Soriano, a Filipino based in San Francisco, California finished this race and Gerald Tabios finished his 4th consecutive finish in this event. In summary, only five (5) Filipinos and only one Female/locally based Filipino had finished this race.

This year, it would be another history in the making for Tess Leono to join this prestigious world’s ultra marathon race.

Training & Preparation

I asked Tess if she is interested to ask for the assistance of a Professional Coach and I recommended CTS for her or any of the available Coaching Services Online. She declined my suggestion but she requested me to guide her and assist her in her training. Knowing the training philosophy of CTS, I recommended to her my training schedule with the end goal to prepare herself for the mountain climbs and to improve her performance when she finished this race. I immediately sent her two weeks of training schedule to improve her lactate threshold through hill repeats and endurance runs and I would ask her about her feedback on a daily basis. I was frustrated when she told me that she was doing these runs on a treadmill. I can not blame her since she has an office job and some trips abroad to attend to as she had deadlines from her superiors. One time, I invited her for actual “hill repeats” in my Playground, of which, I was not satisfied with her performance at that time. There was still time for her to improve and I asked her to visit my Playground regularly or on a weekly-basis. Unfortunately, that single visit to my Playground to run and train was not repeated. As months, weeks and days passed by, I would see her in my PAU Events as one of the participants and I would see in her FB posts that she had LSDs and “heat training” in Metro Manila on holidays and on weekends. From what I saw on her performance in my PAU Races for the past months, I was confident that she will be able to finish this yea’s edition of Badwater 135 Ultramarathon.

My Playground

Female Champion Tess Leono In A PAU Race Weeks Prior To BW135

Badwater 135 Team Leono

The Team Leono was organized after Tess Leono got the word from the Race Director Chris Kostman, through a Live Broadcast on Facebook, that she was able to get in in this year’s edition. I was requested as the Chief Crew and Pacer; Khris as Assistant Crew and Pacer; Jasper as the Medic Crew being a Registered Nurse; and Madam Rowena as the Assistant Driver. All of the members of the team are Licensed Drivers but I was the only one who had been in the area, Death Valley Park, for so many times. However, it was evident that I would be the Main Driver of the Support Vehicle from Las Vegas to the event’s site (up to Mt Witney Portal) and then back to Las Vegas.

Way back in Manila when we had a chance to meet in informal gatherings, Tess would advise us on some tips on how to be a Support Crew at the Badwater 135 and we have the impression that it was almost the same with what our Support Crew are doing in most of my PAU Races, most specially on those 100K and longer distances. However, during our arrival at the Death Valley Park a day before the start of the event, we realized that a special attention must be given to our runner, considering the extreme heat in the area. Fine tuning on how we would be able to support our runner was finalized on the day we arrived and stayed at Furnace Creek Ranch.

Sunday (AM) July 22, 2018

The team left Las Vegas at about 9:30 in the morning and I was the driver using my old GPS Navigation System for my Car whenever I am in the US. Our Support Vehicle was a Chevrolet Mini-Van and took a few seconds to orient myself and know the controls, specially the Hand Brake which is actually a Foot Brake for this particular vehicle. I had a mistake of setting the Automatic Transmission to Drive not realizing that the Foot Brake was still engaged. That was my Lesson #1 for this Mini-Van; Lesson #2 was the Air-Con control; and Lesson #3 was on how to make the Automatic Transmission Control to Manual (which I learned on the steep downhill drive on our trip back to Las Vegas after the event).

With everything complete on our administrative and logistical needs in our Support Vehicles (Ice Coolers, Stove, Food, Water, and some Ice) for the event, we left Las Vegas with a happy mood but with a little nervous feeling knowing the extreme heat weather forecast to the place we were heading.

We had our late breakfast/brunch in one of the Taco Bell branches on the commercial establishments located along the Blue Diamond Highway which leads us directly to the Furnace Creek Resort Hotel. Our first activity once we reach Furnace Creek, which is 110 miles west of Las Vegas (2-hour easy driving trip), is the Check-In and Registration of Participants.

Brunch @ Taco Bell Along Blue Diamond Highway, Las Vegas

To be continued….

 








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