Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hidden Gem - SBER 100 Race Report

My race report from The Santa Barbara Endurance Race 100 miler this past weekend has more to do with the months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes leading up to the race than it does with the race itself. I decided to run this race a few months ago. Initially I was drawn to it by the course which was supposed to have about 36k of vertical, and by the prize money that the race was offering for a sub 24 hour finish. Potential to get paid good prize money while running in steep rugged mountains all day seemed like a good idea to me.

A little over two weeks ago though I got a call from the race director saying that the recent rains which have been putting stress on races all over California were threatening to end this event. The Forest Service pulled their approval on nearly all the trails in the area and the only options to still have a race would include a lot of road and/or a lot of loops or short out and backs. None of these options sounded too appealing, but I could tell that he really wanted to be able to pull this one off even if it were compromised because of the weather. After talking with the RD I decided that I would trust him to come up with the best course he could and give it a go, hoping that he could come up with something still pretty sweet to run. To his credit, he came up with about the most enjoyable course you could imagine without using hardly any trail. It ended up being almost all road but these were small, hilly, winding roads way up in the mountains. After just a few hours I forgot all together that we were on roads most of the day. In many ways I felt like I was running along mountain ridges up in Juneau, only difference being that instead of a goat trail, there was a small road, or jeep doubletrack running along the ridge. The scenery was as amazing as any I've ever seen for a full 100 miles.

So Friday morning I found myself at the race and ready to roll. This was to be a small race. 25 or so runners in the 100 mile. Before we set off on our journey we all gathered in a circle for a blessing led by a local Chumash Elder. This was one of my favorite parts of a really enjoyable weekend. He spoke of (among other things) running for a cause, for a cause of compassion. Compassion for the land and thus compassion for everyone since we are all part of the land. This compassion is a huge part of why I feel so drawn to running out in the mountains and through beautiful and wild places. I think a lot of us run for these reasons, but it was really cool to have this recognized and encouraged just moments before starting on our journey. This experience alone made this a wonderful and worthwhile event. I remember feeling 5 minutes into the race that I was already fully satisfied, and that I could twist my ankle right then and drop out of the race and it would all still be worth it.

But from here it just kept getting better. I got to run all day. I felt really relaxed and really content pretty much all day. I didn't run very hard, but I never really slowed down either. I took a lot of time at aid stations. Not because I needed to, but because everyone was so friendly and fun to talk with that I didn't want to leave.

There was this guy Scott who ran with me for most of the first half of the race. It was really nice to have the company for the first half and then get to run the second half on my own. I found out later that Scott had to drop at mile 91. Hopefully he's not too bummed about it because he is one of those runners who just seems to understand mountain/ultra running, even though this was his first official ultra. I think he hit the 50 mile turnaround in about 8:25, so watch out if you run up against this guy in a race.

Pretty much the only thing that went wrong for me was that I started to feel a little pain in my left calf at about mile 45. I was able to manage it for the 9 or so hours that it took me to finish from there. It never hurt too bad, but it was always nagging me a bit. It's certainly a little tender today so I might need a little extra recovery time from this race. We'll see.

Overall this event was one of the most enjoyable I have ever taken part in. There were a lot of runners that were skeptical about this race because of some of the difficulties they have had in getting to this point. I think we all started not quite knowing what to expect, but I think every runner I talked to after the race was really stoked to have been a part of this event. Robert Gilcrest (the RD) has a passion for his event and the people that take part in his event that is really rare and really special. He also has a vulnerability and rawness to his personality that makes him really enjoyable to be around. You can't help but want to see him and his event succeed. If you are interested in this event, but have not done it because it's so new and it's had a tough couple years really getting off the ground I highly recommend giving it a try. It's not going to be the most organized event you ever do (although it was actually very well organized in the areas that really matter), but it might just be one of the most enjoyable you ever do. Hopefully the weather will allow for the use of the original course next year, but even with the last minute course changes this was a hidden gem of a race. Not sure yet what my racing schedule will look like next year, but I'm certainly hoping to be able to fit this one into the mix again in the near future.

32 comments:

jun said...

Great report. I think its great you didn't mention your time or place, but instead focused on what mattered most, the experience. Congrats.

irun4pain said...

Geoff...

Solid run! Sorry that the original course didn't work out. I know you were looking forward to it. Recover and get ready for WS. I hope to see ya over there, however, I have a little thing to do on May 14th in Wisconsin first.

David Henry said...

Just curious Geoff, what do you think the gain, roughly, of the re-routed course was? What other 100 did the course compare to?

SwissRunner said...

I really enjoyed your race report. I was one of the lucky ones running the 100 miler and I truly enjoyed this event. RD Robert did an amazing job and I highly recommend this race to anybody.

Scott Dunlap said...

Way to make the best of a tough situation. Mother Nature has been tough on Santa Barbara this year, with a weather-related cancellation at Two Moons and the course re-route at SBER. But given what you are saying about the spirit of this event, I have no doubt it shall prevail.

Let's earmark this one for next year!

SD

Cloud said...
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Cloud said...
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Larissa said...

Geoff - great report! I think you captured why we all do this sport. For our love of running and the community. Cloud - sure, it would be awesome to do this for a living, but once it becomes work is it really as much fun? I commend Geoff for taking a chance on a small race and helping to put it on the map. I'm a big believer that Karma will pay off in better ways than running just to please sponsorships.

Don't forget, Killian was 'well-trained' last year and we all know how that ended....

Jeremy said...

Thank you for the best race report I've read in a long time. The day you or anyone else starts blogging about how much cash they made off a race is the day I stop caring what you have to say. Keep up the good work and keep creating great memories for yourself.

Cloud-maybe you should be selling something useless to someone clueless. Pretty sure Geoff is gonna be OK without your coaching.

Ian said...

Geoff, quite inspiring in capturing the spirit of running for the sake of just running. I think it's great you still run unfamiliar races because you want to explore new territory, at least that's what I got from this post. Bravo.

David said...

Geoff,

Ha, it seems some people here are not familiar with your past training / race taper history - specifically that you've done quite well with just 5-6 weeks of down time between races. It has to make you chuckle :)

I admire the fact you kept your commitment to take part in this race, even when it didn't look so great on paper, and ended up having a great time. A good karma lesson for us all, cheers to you!

Grandma Linda said...

I enjoyed your description of the race and your love of racing, and I particularly enjoyed your comments about Scott.. I have known him for many years, and was eagerly following his race via his family.

I understand from them that you are a TOP NOTCH runner....good luck in future competitions, and WATCH out for Scotty for SURE.

Eudemus said...

Congrats Geoff. It was great seeing you out there on the course (heading in the opposite direction of course).

I'm sure this 100-mile training run will bay big dividends for your plans later in the year ;-)

Speedgoat Karl said...

Cloud should get together with Kris. :-)

Great run man! Glad you went down there and scoped it out. Even though it was alot of road, the scenery and peacefulness, I'm sure was nice. Kinda like our run on the Pony Express Trail, a dirt road, but no people, and pretty cool scenery to boot.

WS will not make anyone rich Cloud, it's just another race that happens to be 100 miles.

I've sticked to my passion all of my career, and hope that Geoff does too, going to races blind and seeing the course that way is fun.

coachken said...

Congratulations again, Geoff!! Hope your recovery goes well and you kick some serious tail at WS!

Cloud,
I don't think you need to worry too much for Geoff's recovery... The guy TOTALLY SLACKED through most of the race!!!! :P He had enough time to stop and talk to me for 5 minutes on the trail... Heck, he even stopped for a beer along the way!!! It was great to see Geoff run this race for fun and fun to see him enjoying the experience! Seeing him out there, I have the feeling that SBER did more good for him than bad and my money is still on him for WS!

All Day!
~Ken

jun said...

I'm pretty confident everyone who has seen Cloud post recognizes him as a complete tool.
Cloud, worry about your own running. Everyone else will be just fine on their own.

Fixated on the Trail said...

Congrats Geoff!

By the way, Cloud doesn't run! Well, except for running off with the mouth :)

Cloud said...
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David said...

Hey Geoff, great report and great running. Never lose sight of the values you hold because it is exactly what makes you the runner you are. Well done and I cannot wait for WS100, hope Tony Krupicka iskicking fit for another epic :)

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Nice report and relaxed win, Geoff. I think a lot of people (of all levels) draw a lot of inspiration from your attitude.

Speedgoat Karl said...

Cloud, is it not fair to say that last year when Killian ran across the Pyrenees, (that was around 500 miles in 9 days) he was overtrained? I my opinion no, he's one of those younger guys like Dakota, Tony a few years back and a few others that seem to have the knowledge and experience of an expert such as yourself. He knew what he was doing. Killian also runs because he enjoys it, not because he wants to be a rich ultrarunner. Killian, Geoff, Tony and my old self have some class, although sometimes I'm not so sure about myself. You may reveal your name now, I'd like a chuckle, I'm sure the rest of us would to. :-)

Good stuff as always!

Cloud said...
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Geoff said...

cloud,
of course you're not going to let us all know who you are. you've spent the better part of the past couple weeks making a complete fool of yourself here and on tony's blog. i've considered disputing some of your ridiculous comments a few times, but then you chime back in and make yourself look even more ignorant, cowardly, and oblivious to reality than anything I could say would possibly do. keep up the good work, you're providing lots of folks a good laugh (and no, they're not laughing with you, but rather AT YOU).

Charlie said...

Cloud

I don't see how you can claim to "rile people up and get 'em thinkin" when you resort to personal abuse. You only come across as a troll rather than the "supercoach" you claim to be.

Surely if you want your views to be taken remotely seriously you need to tell us who you are. There is no point in quoting what could be a completely fictious resume.

I thought Karl had never run Western

Charlie said...

By the way Cloud, Kilian has just touched down here in Sydney Australia to run a very tough 100k next weekend. We are all very excited about seeing the great man in action.

Ian Sharman is running Miwok and Comrades prior to WS (not to mention a raft of marathons and 50Kers). Jez Bragg is racing two very tough 50+ mountain milers in 2 weeks. Dave Mackey is running Miwok etc etc etc.

Looks like the entire elite field at Western will be over trained this year, you had better have a word to them all.

Geoff said...

charlie,
i was thinking the same thing. WS is pretty much going to be a race of a bunch of over trained bums. with all his expertise I expect Cloud will probably show up and show us all how it's done.

tim white said...

"its easy to pile on when a guy like me speaks the truth"....???

You should understand (or maybe you're incapable), its easy to pile on when that guy walks into a room and starts verbally vomiting... HEY... you're retarded... HEY... you're misguided... all of you super talented runners who have enjoyed amazing accomplishments... none of you know what the fuck you're doing... listen to me... all of you elite athletes.. none of you know how to channel your talents... HEY all of you listen... LISTEN TO ME!!

You automatically devalue any insight you might have by being an ASS. The very fact that the people you're attacking are successful makes you look very STUPID! There are many people like you. You think you provoke some interesting conversations, or someone might actually think to themselves... hey, this person might be onto something. I can assure you, you're onto nothing. You clearly don't have the credentials (or intelligence) that you claim, otherwise you would certainly have to balls to stand by them with an actual name. You're a loser... nothing means more in your pathetic little world than to rile up these gifted athletes who are kind enough to share their insight, advise, emotions, accomplishments... all the ups, all the downs. But ooohh if i could just get Geoff, or Karl, or or Tony to respond to me... it would make me so important.. ooohhhh. Heres a little reality... nope.. unh uhh... never have been, never will be. Why not just save yourself further embarrassment and go away. Oh and you should probably know very bad things have a way of happening to really shitty people. Or maybe you already do.

tim

jun said...

Hey Jeff, you should come over train with me and a few friends by doing the Zion Train (traverse) in a couple of weeks. We'll redefine 'casual run' for you. Then again, maybe you shouldn't, it might clash with Cloud's solid training plan for you.

Cloud said...
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perfectlyuncomfortable said...

I had a blast running SBER. It was a true adventure & plunge into the unknown-which in essence, is the heart of ultrarunning. If you don't fuel that fire every now and then, who knows what could happen. You were totally running easy on the course, it was obvious to all of us. see you on the trails! - Ashley
Cloud- tools like you take the fun out of ultrarunning, even for" sisters of the poor". Stop hiding behind your computer, &grow a set. & dude, that's coming from a girl.

ordnaelolrac said...

Hands down to Geoff..this IS running!

ordnaelolrac said...
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