The 2014 race is on the same trails as 2013, but the order of the loops have changed. For example, the Flying Monkey Trail is now one of the first climbs encountered, rather than being late in the race.
This makes it rather interesting to try and predict a race finish time, along with where a runner might be on the course to pick up a headlamp and any other night time running gear.
For example, last year at Massanutten, I looked at the average time and splits for runners finishing around 29 and 30 hours. That made it very easy to conjure up aid station target times.
I consulted the Coach, who gave me a few good points and also said the Zion race would be far more runnable than MMT.
I looked at the elevation chart, and noted where each aid station was.
|Sloppy yet effective|
I read over the course description carefully. There is not much verbiage there, but cobbled together with the elevation profile, I started to get the basic overview of the race course.
Another cool thing about the interwebs is info out there. Most of the Zion 100 race course is on mountain bike trails, there is beta from the biking community! Mountain bikers like to use their action camera and record these trails-check out You Tube videos on all these trails!
I have a rough draft of my splits through the various aid stations. We hit a few aid stations multiple times, which makes it easier to know where to seed the main light and the back up light.
Sunrise is 714 am, sunset is 758 pm I was pleasantly happy to see. I will be in Utah a few days early to both recce the course and to finish Zion National Park, so I will get a better idea of sunrise/sunsets. For example, a sunset in flatlike Ohio is different than when the sun dips down behind a mountain of Virginia.
I am planning on going pretty minimal for aid station bags. I plan on having drop bags at four locations-Virgin Dam Aid, mile 23, Goosebump-Miles 31.43,75; Grafton Mesa-Miles 49,54,68; and Gaucamole Miles 82 & 91.
Virgin Dam Aid Mile 23-four gels, a handwipe, maybe a fresh Buff band, some duct tape
Goosebump-miles 31,43,75-back up light. I should not need to pick this up at Mile 43, but it might be handy at mile 74.
I will also bring a spare pair of shoes (and socks) for this AS. I never change shoes. But I do have a precautionary story from Reverse Ring why you should have the spares!
Grafton Mesa-miles 49, 54, 68-I hit this at mile 49, run a loop, back to AS at mile 54, run a different loop, back at mile 68. One of the three stops through here I imagine I will need to pick up my light.
I will also have a long sleeved shirt, gloves, headband/or hat here. Maybe tights or capris. That will be a decision closer to race time. I've garnered from reading that there could be a temperature differential from 10-20 degrees from the top of a mesa to the bottom.
Guacamole-miles 82, 91-I hit the AS at mile 82, run a loop, back at mile 91, then run for home. I will have some gels, sweet tea, perhaps a "surprise" candy bar of some kind-the item when you are rummaging in your drop bag you are pleasantly surprised to come across. It will also be good to have a drop bag here to dump off items not needed any more.
This is my preliminary puzzle out the pieces for the unknown race. More planning to follow!