Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 miler
The Peterson Ridge Rumble is a classic event that takes place in Sisters, Oregon. The event continues to gain popularity as maximum capacity is reached sooner and sooner each year. The race serves as a fundraiser for the Sisters High School cross-country team. There are two events: the 20 mile and the 40 mile trail race. I decided to go with the 20 mile choice because I have a 50 mile race scheduled in just a few weeks. The 20 mile course was amazing! There were over 400 entrants and a lot of dogs. Yes, this is a dog friendly course. The race starts with a nearly flat, wide gravel road. The total elevation gain and loss is 2,000 feet, which for a trail race is quite mild. It was easy to be consistent during the first few miles but after about 3 miles the terrain turns into single track. The single track reminded me of a mellow bike course because of the winding turns and minor berms. There were some areas that a biker may have wanted a full suspension bike due to the scattered flat boulders that were splayed out. There were many scuffed shoulders at the finish line from the slips into the dry, rocky dirt. Several openings provided marvelous views of what I think are the Three Sisters mountains which were still very much covered with snow.
The temperature at the beginning of the race couldn't have been better but the day shortly got warmer reaching the mid-eighties as the sun rose . I didn't bring a handheld water bottle and definitely experienced some cottonmouth and dehydration; like I am sure most experienced. I am proud to say that I didn't consume a single gel! I guess if you consider Clif blocks gel then yes, but I just had one pack of those, two fruit leathers, and some oranges. I finally learned to be patient and started slow out of the gates. I hung out in about 7th place while the front guys took off. I fought my instinctual ego and was very happy with were I was. At around mile 5, 8, and 10 I was able to pass three people. Those that jolted out in front were feeling the tole of lactic acid build up and a very accelerated heart rate (I assume) and had to drop back. Appreciative of my decision to start slow I realized that if I had a chance of catching up I would have to start really kicking it into gear. I tried to keep consistent but varied hills can really throw of mile times. I ranged from 6 to 8 minute miles throughout my run. I was anticipating a gradual up and a gradual down as the course description explained. Rather there were many subtle ups and downs that really messed up my game plan. In retrospect I can't believe I didn't study the detailed course map! As I reached the home stretch, I had to really push. The same road that we started on was the road that we also finished on. I don't know about you but I really don't like seeing all three miles ahead of me that I have to run. I'd rather have trees and bushes mask the reality that is in front of me. I saw the guy in third about 300 yards in front of me. I tried reeling him in but I just didn't have it in me. The very end of the race we had to run around the track once (400 meters) and 3rd place was just crossing the finish as I started the track march. Almost to the finish line I noticed a few hurtles in the way. The race director encouraged me to jump over one from his megaphone. Of course due to the pressure I graced the audience with the worse hurtle form in history. The post race food was the best that I had ever seen. Seemingly unlimited guacamole would have been enough for me but there was also salmon, black beans, rice, chips; basically anything and everything to make a perfectly replenishing burrito. Also the showers in the high school gym was a major plus to clean off afterwards.
Overall I was pretty happy with my performance. I finished 4th in 2:15 averaging a 6:45 min/mile pace. I was most happy about being patient and not wearing myself out too early. The inconsistency of trail races keeps things interesting. I love trail running because your mile time is never predictable. During 50 mile races my mile time has gone from 6:30 to 24 minutes per mile! Variable terrain requires a certain amount of technique to manage speed while maintaining energy. I guess this is something to consider if you are coming from a road running background. Hopefully my next race will go well. I have less than three weeks to train but I am feeling pretty good. Tillamook Burn 50 miler here we come!