Well with only two days left before WS 2010, I want to wish everyone who will be running the full 100, pacing someone, crewing someone, driving someone, etc the best this weekend at Western States! This is officially a snow year so the course is a little different. The runners will now drop down a "fairly lush dirt road" from the Granite Chief Wilderness to French Meadows Reservoir to drop elevation and avoid the worst of the snow. Even with this, there will be approximately 10-15 miles of snow to run through. It will be a very exciting race! The course will be faster than normal in the beginning with the new detour so we might see some over confident runners going to fast in the beginning and blowing up their race towards the end. Here is a chunk of an email I received the other day from a fellow runner talking about the new detour (you may have to copy and paste the links into your browser):
If I understand correctly, the trail section along French Meadows Reservoir is called McGuire Trail; it goes to the Poppy Campground so it is also referred to as the Poppy Trail. I think it would be faster/easier than the traditional route along Red Star Ridge (especially since it would mean no snow after Hodgson's Cabin). Instead of running up to Lyons, then rolling along Red Star Ridge, it would be about 10 miles of steeper then very gentle downhill on a smooth dirt road, then along the lakeside trail. The trail description for McGuire Trail says it’s easy enough to be enjoyed by the entire family. I'm guessing that there will be some rolling along the lake, but the only significant uphill would be 150 feet up from the lake to the DC aid station. It would also mean running at 5000 feet elevation instead of 7000'. Red Star Ridge is deceptively hard on runners: It has enough rocks to step over and short ups and downs at altitude to take something out of the legs of runners who push that section. On the other hand, smooth dirt roads could lull the runners into going too hard too early.
With the quality of this year's field, I expect exciting competition and hammered legs whatever course they choose.
Here's some information on the alternate route:
See page 8 of this document: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe/documents/rec/fh_trail_rog.pdf
Here's a map that shows the trail: http://relicensing.pcwa.net/Documents/PAD/P2079%20PAD/PAD%20SD%20A-I/SD%20H%20Proposed%20Technical%20Study%20Plans/Appendix%20A/Large%20Format%20Maps/10%20Map%20LAND%201.1%201of5.pdf
And the same map with topo lines: http://relicensing.pcwa.net/Documents/PAD/P2079%20PAD/PAD%20SD%20A-I/SD%20B%20Project%20Description/Large%20Format%20Maps/Map%20SD%20B%202a.pdf
I hope that info was beneficial to someone! Here is a list of my top ten finisher predictions:
1. Hal Koerner
2. Geoff Roes
3. Anton Krupicka
4. Anita Ortiz
5. Andy Jones-Wilkins
6. Jady Palko
7. Rob Evans
8. Victor Ballesteros
9. John Nichols
Honorable mentions: Erik Skaden, Mark Lantz, and Kilian Jornet Burgada.
Maybe I will see some of you up at Squaw on Friday, or out on the race course Saturday! I will be pacing Mark Lantz (Bib # M9) from Foresthill to the finish. Wishing you the best!