Race Report - 2023 Cascade Crest 100 Miler (DNF)

7/22/2023 03:39:00 PM

The Cascade Crest 100 Miler had been on my bucket list for a few years now. I had previously entered the lottery to no avail. This year, it turned out differently as I earned a spot to finally give this race a go. Initially, I had planned to dive cross country in my van to save some money for hotels, etc., but as I had just started a new job, I wanted to keep my time away from my home office as brief as possible, so I decided to fly into Seattle, instead. My good friend jay was kind enough to not only put me up in his family's home, but his wife Amber and he actually volunteered to crew and pace me as well. Jay know exactly what I need when running these longer ultras. He and I met while crewing/pacing a mutual friend at Badwater 135 a couple of yers ago and since then, he and his wife have teamed up with my wife and other friends of mine to crew/pace me at Moab 240 and Tahoe 200. This would be our fifth ultra working together as crew/pacer for each other, so I was confident that I was more than ready on the logistics side of things. With the 268 Mile Spine Race just behind me and the Tor des Geants 330K on the horizon, I felt this would be a great tuneup race for things to come. It would also be another check for states I visited to run a 100 mile or longer race. 
Amber made an amazing pre-race pasta meal to get me fueled for the next day. On race morning, Jay and his son Xavier took me to the race start location in Easton, Washington. In the weeks leading up to the race, we were unfortunately informed that the race course had been altered to accommodate some major trail work that was taking place along the course, so instead of the usual big loop we would be running a 50 mile out and back, essentially the first 50 miles of the original course in both directions. 
I felt recovered from my 130 hour effort at the Spine Race just a few weeks earlier and was looking forward for enjoying this race with no goal other than to finish and earn that WA 100 mile buckle. After a short pre-race briefing and bumping into and chatting with my buddy TJ, who'd moved from the Southeast to Colorado a couple of years earlier, we were finally off on our journey.
The weather forecast hinted at some hotter-than-expected temperatures and that would prove to be my nemesis for the day. That and the possibility that I wasn't quite as recovered from the Spine Race as I had hoped. As I made my way towards the 50 mile turnaround point, I had made sure to not push hard at all. In fact, I was running towards the back of the field in hopes of saving myself for better running during the evening and night hours. Unfortunately, even my cautious approach was futile. By the time I saw my crew Jay and his son Xavier around the 50K mark, my race had become completely derailed. I was struggling with nausea, unable and unwilling to eat anything. I was still able to drink, so I focussed on that. However, as I finally wandered out of the aid station, my commitment to finishing this race had waned quite significantly. I spent the next miles convincing myself why continuing was a bad idea. Ultimately, I pulled the plug at the 50 mile turnaround after hiking the better part of the last 20 miles.
Rather than summarize the race here in written word, I wanted to use this opportunity to share some of the photos I was able to capture of this amazing landscape and to point you to the race video that captures not only the amazing race course, but also my mental "decline" as I talk through the decision that ultimately ends my race after 50 miles. Please check out the race video here and feel free to comment below this race report or in the comments section of the video.

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