I arrived at the start line in the best shape of my life, having completed a fantastic 10 days of training at high elevation in Colorado, as well as enjoying some amazing experiences on trails throughout the Pacific Northwest. When race director Adam Hewey asked about my target in the calm before the start I felt comfortable to tell him about the 21:30 pace chart I was carrying. As a stretch target, I had also worked out a 20-hour pace chart to understand what that would entail in case I was able to pull ahead of plan.
Every mountainous 100-mile race offers something different. Cascade Crest will possibly remain unique in being the only 100-mile race where I was able to sleep in my own bed the night before the race (unless someone knows of a good job in Durango). After a great night’s rest, I drove one hour up Snoqualmie Pass in early morning light for the very respectable 9am race start.
I set off from the start line along the flat John Wayne Trail for the first mile at around 8:15 min/mi (just over 5 min/km) pace. If the profile had remained flat and the trail smooth for 99 more miles then I might have finished in under 14 hours, but we soon took a right turn and started the first climb of almost 3,000 ft (900 m) up Goat Peak.