ANGELES CREST 100
Here is a race report from Yanco Javier who finished 8th at the 2012 Angeles Crest 100 miles Endurance run . Congratulations Yanco!
Liz and I drove up to Wrightwood on Thursday afternoon, getting one last look at Hwy 2 and the aid stations along the way. Friday I had to weigh in, get my blood pressure taken and sit through the pre-race meeting. After the meeting, we had dinner and got back to the room by 6. Getting to sleep before a big race is always difficult. I finally crashed out around 9:30.
We woke up promptly at 3 am and began the morning ritual. I was able to get down a sandwich, banana, smoothie, tea, and a Gatorade…eating so early in the morning is always a chore. The race started at 5 so we took care of last-minute packing and walked down to the race start for morning registration and line up.
This had to be one of the quietest race starts ever…everyone was either in a state of zen, or quiet panic. I felt really good about my training, nutrition, and planning so I was eager to get started. GO! That’s all I heard and we were off. As always some people ran off like we were running the local 10k. I purposely lined myself up on the outside so I could ease into my own pace.
WRIGHTWOOD – INSPIRATION POINT
We made the short run out of town and started our way up to the Acorn trailhead. Acorn Trail took us straight up to the PCT, a quick right and we were on our way to Inspiration Point. I hit Inspiration Point at 1:50, a little ahead of schedule but feeling relaxed and comfortable. ”Slow down” was all I heard from Liz. With a quick refill and some calories, I made my way out of the aid station and on to the next, Vincent Gap.
INSPIRATION POINT – VINCENT POINT
This is a short section that’s not too difficult so I made a quick time and arrived at Vincent Gap. Liz was ready with fresh bottles and more food. I could already tell that getting in the calories needed for the day was going to be a challenge.
VINCENT GAP – ISLIP SADDLE
The climb out of Vincent Gap up to Mt Baden Powell is steep, this gave me a chance to settle into a good hiking pace. Hooking up with a few other runners, I was able to put my head down and get it done. Once summiting, we began the rolling descent down to Islip Saddle. I was taking it pretty easy on the downhills, I was already feeling some wear in my quads and a dip in energy. A few runners passed me on the downhill and I could only think that it was kind of early to be bombing the hills like that. I began having a bit of doubt and started thinking of excuses to bag the race early. Fortunately, I came into Islip, mile 25, feeling much better than I did around mile 21. First weigh-in, 179lbs.
Leading up to the race, I had a chance to run the first 25 miles and I knew the last 25 like the back of my hand so heading out of Islip, I would be running new trails until getting into Chantry.
ISLIP SADDLE – EAGLES ROOST
Next stop Eagle’s Roost. It didn’t take long for me to start reeling in runners up the climb to Mt Williamson. This was a short climb but gave me a chance to change up the muscle groups after the long descent down from Baden Powell. Another short descent and we headed back up to Hwy 2 and the Eagle’s Roost aid station. Liz had a spot in the shade and made quick work of my bottles, got me situated, and threw some ice in my cap.
EAGLES ROOST – CLOUDBURST SUMMIT
We had a stretch of highway ahead of us before dropping down Buckhorn Trail. A mile or so into the highway Liz drove up and was able to visit with me for a few minutes – this was a nice treat. After a quick chat, Liz headed off to the next aid station. I then ran up on Matt from Marin and ran with him down into Buckhorn Trail. After a few miles of single track, we stopped at a stream where Randy from Bakersfield suddenly caught up with us. We all spent a minute at the creek and headed back out. As we made our way up to Cloudburst I could feel the heat of the day settling in.
CLOUDBURST SUMMIT – THREE POINTS
The cloudburst aid station was a welcome sight. I hit the aid station, grabbed a watermelon and sliced mangos and began inhaling the fruit…not sure if I was hungry or just felt the urgency to get as many easy calories and sugar that I could. The fruit was the only thing I could get in so I had to take advantage. Liz then did her magic as crew chief and got me on my way. From Cloubburst we had a few easy miles of the service road that paralleled highway 2 until hitting the next aid station at Three Points. Randy and I ran this section together, neither one of us in any hurry after the hot section up to Cloudburst.
THREE POINTS – MT HILLYER
Mt Hillyer aid station would be the first aid station where the crew was not allowed. Luckily Randy and I seemed to be happy running an easy pace together up the last section of trail before hitting a long, paved road that would carry us up to the summit at Mt Hillyer. We ended up catching Jimmy about halfway up the paved road, he seemed to be going through a bad patch. The three of us carried on into the aid station and took a few moments to restock. Randy was the first one out, I followed about 20 seconds back, and Jimmy stayed back trying to re-coop.
MT HILLYER – CHILAO
This next section would take us on the Silver Moccasin Trail over to Chilao Flats. Somewhere along this stretch, I lost sight of Randy and just plugged along by myself. Knowing that I would be picking up my first pacer, Arno, was definitely something to look forward to. I also knew that I would be seeing Liz again as well as my Mom, Ari, Robert, and Oliver. Through the rock fields, I finally made my way to Chilao. Second weigh-in, 179lbs. My crew had a sweet spot set up with a chair and all my needs.
Thanks to Oliver, I changed shoes and socks in record time. Liz swapped out my Ultraspire MBS from the Electron to the Cell in order to give me more pocket space for extra nutrition needed in the second half of the race. With strict orders from Liz, Arno was sent off with extra calories for me to consume between Chilao and Shortcut.
CHILAO – SHORTCUT
This section was another hot one as there was no breeze or relief in sight. Arno and I plugged along at a decent pace through the Poodle Dog bush lined single track. It was really nice to have a friend to run through this section after spending much of the day alone. Neither one of us had run this stretch so it was a great experience to share. We made our way downhill before hitting the last climb that would take us up to Shortcut Saddle.
SHORTCUT SADDLE – NEWCOMBS SADDLE
Shortcut Saddle was great. Jeff and Nina were there with food and drink while the rest of the crew got me situated and led me over to a stool in the shade. I stayed there for a few minutes, got more supplies and a headlamp then made my way out with Oliver. This was to be another new stretch for me. Luckily Oliver was familiar with this section, so we did have some course knowledge. We proceeded down the service road that went on and on for about 6 miles.
At this point, my quads were really pissed off and did not like the descent at all. Fortunately, they had just graded the road so I was able to find soft spots of dirt to absorb my landing. Done with the downhill, for now, we made our way up to Newcombs Saddle. This climb felt great. Oliver and I settled into a nice pace and were actually able to pick off two runners ahead. Once at Newcombs Saddle we did the normal routine through the aid station before noticing that there was a TV with Dad, Mom, and Liz all on screen. A quick wave hello and we took off.
NEWCOMBS SADDLE – CHANTRY FLATS
Under normal circumstances this next section would have been great, winding single track down into Sturdevant Falls, but approaching 75 miles my quads had other ideas. As we made our way down, the canopy turned the lights out on us. Fortunately, a volunteer had marked the course with white chalk and glow sticks. Oliver and I made due for a bit but realized that it was getting just too dark to run safely. Not knowing how much further down we had to go before climbing up to Chantry was messing with me. I kept feeling like we were going to start the climb only to descend a little more…quads still pissed. Finally to the short paved climb up to Chantry,
I put my head down and started the climb, this gave my quads some much-needed relief from the long descent. Chantry, mile 75! Third weigh-in, 177lbs. The lady weighing me in reading 175lbs and was a little hesitant to let me go. Fortunately, she realized the error and marked me in at 177lbs. After weighing in, Oliver and I meet up with Ben, Liz, Mom, and Dad. Oliver’s job was done and it was now time for Ben to get me home. I was able to sit for a few minutes, talk with my crew, get more food, and compose myself.
CHANTRY FLATS – IDLE HOUR
25 more miles, Chantry to the finish. I knew this section very well, I had been running it every weekend for a few months. This knowledge was both good and bad. I knew what I had to do but started dwelling on every step left to go. Ben and I eased into the run out of Chantry, both knowing that we had a big climb ahead of us. Winter Creek Trail felt like it went on forever. We got into a good rhythm but I was having a very hard time getting in food and was feeling a little worn from the day. About halfway up to Winter Creek we saw a set of eyes peering at us only to see a small grey fox on the right side of a switchback. It took me a minute to realize what I was looking at…is this a hallucination?
Nope, Ben saw it too. A while later we got to Wilson Toll Road. This is an easy section of the service road that normally takes me about 20 minutes. Not today! I didn’t manage my intake out of Chantry and was now paying for it. I was starting to feel sorry for myself, quads were thrashed from the downhill and I still had a ways to go. Walking down the service road gave me a chance to eat and drink. Ben suggested that I try to take advantage of the easy section but I just didn’t have it yet. I also knew what lied ahead and was nervous that I might blow up. We still had about 19 miles to go.
Just before Idle Hour aid station Jimmy and his pacer passed us, I hadn’t seen him since Mt Hillyer. I thought about going with him for a minute. Once we got to Idle Hour aid station I sat, had some chicken soup, coke, and potatoes. Ben took care of the bottles, two water, one Gatorade, and one coke…this along with the chicken soup brought me back. The Idle Hour aid station was a bit surreal. They had signs, Christmas lights, and a fantastic vibe. Someone was even making bacon. We said our thank yous and pressed on.
IDLE HOUR – SAM MERRILL
Feeling much better than I had descending Wilson Toll Road, Ben and I started making good time again. Idle Hour to Sam Merrill is not the most difficult climb but does take a while and can be deceiving. There are points past the second stream crossing where we could see the Sam Merrill aid station but had to switch back a few times before getting there. I knew that getting to this aid station would be huge. The remaining miles from there on were mostly down hill with only two short climbs. The volunteers at Sam Merrill were great. When I requested chicken soup one of the volunteers quickly heated some up for me. A cold grilled cheese, the first solid food that actually tasted good and a cup of soup later, we began the descent.
SAM MERRILL – MALLARD CAMPGROUND
Only a few steps out of the aid station I realized that my headlamp was fading. I had planned on picking up a second headlamp at Chantry but in the hurry to get moving I left it behind… live and learn. Fortunately, Ben’s headlamp was shining at 800 lumens so were able to make due. I’m sure we lost a little time because of the lack of light, oh well. We made our way down the rocky section of the trail and continued down to the old mansion on Echo Mtn. My quads were still feeling shot so making the right turn onto the trail leading up to Mt Lowe Road was a pleasant change. I felt like I could climb all night if I had to.
Once at Mt Lowe Road we refueled with more coke and started down Sunset Trail. Still without sufficient light, I depended on Ben’s headlamp. This was a little sketchy but course knowledge paid off and I was able to anticipate the technical sections of the trail. Off Sunset and down to the little connector trail down to Mallard. This only took a few minutes and we arrived at the Mallard aid station.
All along Ben and I had been calculating my time to ensure a sub 24 hour finish. Having lost some time on Wilson Toll Road, I was getting nervous that we would be cutting it close. Fortunately, we arrived at Mallard with plenty of time…we could have walked the rest and been ok. Topping off our bottles and grabbing a bite of fruit, Ben and I got out of the aid station quickly, compared to previous aid stations.
MALLARD CAMPGROUND – LOMA ALTA PARK
I was feeling good on the climb out of Mallard. The finish was within sight…I just needed to get down El Prieto and into Altadena. Just before the El Prieto trailhead, we ran into Keira, the first female who had passed Oliver and I heading down from Newcombs Saddle. “So glad you are a boy” is all I remember her saying. She put in a great effort to hold off the other females but seemed to be paying for it now. Fortunately for us, her pacer, a friend of Ben’s had an extra flashlight. A quick thank you and we crossed the stream and headed up to El Prieto.
Kyle and I had talked before the race about having him run the last few miles with me. Not sure if he would be at the trailhead, I was pleasantly surprised to see the silhouette of a runner standing there waiting. What up! The three of us started the descent down El Preito. A mile or two earlier I started to feel a blister form under the ball of my right foot.
After the second stream crossing down El Prieto the blister really started to bug, the added moisture must have set it off. Sucking it up we continued down and hit lower Brown trail and proceeded to the road before making a quick left up to into Altadena. Spirits were very high at this point. I had been on auto pilot for hours, coming into the city and knowing that I only had a mile or so before the finish really woke me up.
Kyle, Ben, and I headed up the short climb on Lincoln and made the right turn over to Loma Alta Park. I could barely spot the finish line. This was probably the most anticlimactic finish ever. With noise restrictions in the park and the fact that it was 4am, the finish line was silent. Kyle and Ben split off, this gave me a few seconds to realize that I had just run 100 miles.
Emotions were sort of muted but very intense. All I remember was the cheering of my crew, family, and friends. Not even knowing who was there because it was so dark, I was psyched to see Mom, Dad, Sis, Liz, Don, Jon, Jenna, Ty, Pat, Richelle, Kyle, and Ben. What a warm welcome to such a dramatic day. It was so great to share the experience with such great people. It was such an emotional experience that having friends and family there meant the world.
After a few photo ops, I was finally able to sit down. My mind and body were still in motion after running for 23 hours. Sub-24 for my first 100 and 8th overall! This would not have been possible without the amazing support. Crew chief Liz was amazing! We were able to execute an almost perfect day. It was a new experience for us both but with great planning and team work we handled it. Pacers Arno, Oliver, Ben, and Kyle were fantastic, they all played their part and led me to a very successful day.
I went into the race with fear of the unknown. I had faith that my training and logistical preparations would pay off. Fortunately, I had an exceptional team and awesome support from crew chief Liz, family, friends, and sponsors. Thank you all for your time on race day and continued support. This adventure would not have been possible without all of you. Recovery will be the next step in this epic journey.
A special thanks to Andy at Ultraspire, Benji at Poler, and Monica at New Balance. I would not have made it through the day without the awesome gear from Ultraspire, I wore the Synapse all day and had the Isomeric in hand from start to finish. Poler kept my face shielded from the sun and kept me “cool” before and after the race. And Monica at New Balance for keeping my feet happy all year. For similar posts here read UTMB and Rio Del Lago