The Bear 100 Profile
The Bear 100 is a tough point to point race from Logan, Utah to Fish Haven, Idaho. It is held in late September when the fall colors are in their glory. The elevation gain is just shy of 22,000. The average elevation is 7,350 topping out twice at 9,000 feet; tough for a flatlander.
The 2013 course was absolutely stunning; fall colors were out in full force with various shades of red, orange, gold, and yellow. Everywhere you looked there were vibrant colors. The high mountain peaks covered in snow made a stunning contrast with the autumn colors.
As with most 100 mile races, The Bear 100 start was uneventful. A bunch of runners stood around an imaginary start line, in the dark and cold and waited for the race director to holler, “Go!” The race started on pavement and then filtered into a single track trail and a congo line of 260+ runners formed.
I ran with ALM (a dear friend who I trained with all year) for the first 50 miles at a good solid pace and it was super fun. Our split for the first 50 miles was 12hrs 18mins with over 14,000 vertical. We did our own thing at the aid stations and then caught up to each other on the trail. But, unfortunately, around mile 50 ALM was having trouble w/her stomach. She arrived at Tony Grove aid station (51.84) as I was leaving and expressed that she was “soooo sick!” At that point, the temperature dropped significantly and I was freezing; my broth splashed out of my cup because my hand shook uncontrollably. I asked if there was anything I could do for her and she said, “No.” She was going to change her clothes in the tent and drink some broth. I felt guilty leaving but there were a ton of volunteers, a tent, a fire and I knew Owen, her husband & also my training partner all year, wasn’t far behind us. (She finished even though she spent the next 50 miles puking; one tough chick!)
I left the aid station and encountered snow, wind and iced trails. One section (downhill single track) was sheer ice and at that point, I knew it was going to be a long cold race. The race was no longer a race against the clock or other competitors it was a race against the elements.
I caught up to two other runners and chatted with them until the next aid station. When I arrived at mile 61, it was dark and I was freezing. I could not find my bestie and pacer, MM, because there were so many people. A nice volunteer helped me; she picked up my drop bag, gave me soup and hollered for MM.I dumped everything out of my drop bag and put on all my warm clothes. As I layered up, I realized my down jacket was not in my drop bag. I panicked. My OR down jacket had saved me in many adventure races, the temps were in the low 20s, I was headed up to near 9,000 feet in the mountains, I had to have my OR jacket. I added layers and put on my Swix xc ski pants over my tights but my hands were so cold I could not zip or button my pants; after I struggled, I finally asked for help from volunteers sitting around the fire. Just as I finished getting bundled up and contemplating the risk of traveling through the night w/o my down jacket my bestie appeared and informed me she couldn’t pace me until mile 75 but she had my OR jacket! She explained she left the car key at the hotel, she did a shuttle earlier in the day to drop the car at the finish, but when she dropped the car, she put the key in her purse and left her purse at the hotel which was an hour from the finish. I was disappointed b/c I bonking. But in retrospect, I’m glad she left the key in Logan and had to go back b/c the next 15 miles were very slow and she would have been freezing and miserable.
I finally reached mile 75 and MM was there waiting for me (she had to wait 3 or 4 hours!) At that point, I couldn’t talk. I was tired, my lungs were on fire, and I was wheezing. It was difficult to breathe. This happened at Wasatch Front 100, too. I was wheezing and felt like I was having an asthma attack. Other PNW’ers also experienced the same thing. It was scary and it sucked. I presumed it was due to the combination of cold temperatures and altitude.
We finally reached mile 92, climbed the last climb, or should I say, I crawled the last climb and then we managed to run the last six miles. I had to stop occasionally to catch my breath but we managed to at least run. MM is the best pacer and I seriously finished because of her. She was solid, beyond patient and supportive even though I’m sure she was freezing cold for most of those 25 miles.
I finished in 28:24 good enough for 9th place female and 59th overall. I took off my shoes and my feet were totally clean and I had no blisters! I did not change my shoes or socks the entire race – amazed – Drymax socks rock! http://www.drymaxsocks.com/extremerunning.php plus, I’m sure the freezing temperatures played a role, too! Besides loving my Drymax socks, I also LOVE my Suunto watch! I charged it twice during the race and I captured the entire 100.7 miles!
Food Consumption during the race:
I ate one Clif bar the entire 100 miles, zero gels, and ate two packets of Clif Shot Bloks. All other food was aid station food: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lots of noodles and broth. From mile 51, I ate or drank broth at every aid station with a handful of salty potato chips. I had a small grilled cheese sandwich which was the best sandwich ever! Luckily, I had no stomach issues or leg cramps throughout the race. I took three packets of Sustain electrolytes and had about 20 ounces of Heed throughout the race.
Bear 100 was one tough course! I don’t think the course is harder than Wasatch Front 100 but the freezing temperatures, snow, and iced trails made it interesting and comparable. Bring lots of warm clothes, hand warmers, body warmers, hat, gloves, and a down jacket for the night section. 76 people did not finish and I presume it was due to the cold weather.