Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 Flat Rock 101K

I ran Flatrock 101K (aka Storm Rock this year) on April 30. I rode with 2 friends on Friday to the race. We encountered a storm on the way that we were driving right into. Fortunately, we were on the edge of it and only got really heavy rain. As we were nearing race headquarters we noticed piles of hail along the roads. Race headquarters had been hit with hail and high winds so they were putting everything back together. The race shirts were a little wet. The pre-race dinner was delayed about an hour. It was included in the race fee but with the weather I assume some of the locals stayed home.

The race started at 6:30 am and the weather was 58F, sunny and humid. The course is 2 out and backs. We could have drop bags at 2 locations in addition to the start but I had one at start and 1 location so had access about every 10 miles. The trail is very rocky but no major hills. The challenge at this race is getting through and over the rocks and we were literally climbing through and up some of the rocks. My favorite race photographers (90 Mile Photography) were there yet again. They've been at all my races so far this year.

I had a pretty good first half but very slow going since this is a very rocky course. About 10 miles into the course, a half mile looked like a war zone with downed trees. It was very difficult to find the trail and took some extra time to get through. I was in 5th place right behind a guy as I went through this mess. Huge trees had been uprooted, blown down and it was a tangled mess. The rest of the course was okay other than just a lot of leaves on the trail to cover up rocks. After the turnaround I was in 4th place and then headed back.

We had to run about 3/4 mile on the road on each out and back. Before I got there first place was going back out and around 4 miles ahead of me. As I was heading back on the road, I could see 2nd and 3rd place not too far ahead. I quickly took care of what I needed to do and was back on the road so now am in second place and 6 hr 28 min. 

On my way back from the turnaround I was hoping for at least 2 miles as a good cushion for whoever was behind me. It turned out to be 3.5 miles or I figured maybe 45 - 50 min but they were moving slower and I was building a cushion even though I had slowed down. It was a little warm and humid which slowed everyone down. They had flagged the area with all the trees down to take us around it a little but was still tough to get through since some of the flags were placed on the downed trees since there was no way around.

I slowly made my way back and felt great the entire time. I finished just before running out of daylight in 13:37:57, 2nd overall and 31 min behind 1st. They fed us our choice of breakfast foods after we finished. I ate biscuits and gravy (something I rarely eat) and sausage. Overall a very well organized low-key event. I highly recommend running this race if you want a technical challenge, beautiful course, and nice race amenities (included in overall fee) like pre and post race meals, buckle, great aid stations, and professional quality photos.




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