There are 100-milers, and then there are HUNDRED MILERS. The former are often run on groomed, short loop courses, studded with aid stations and Porta-potties, and are difficult just by their very nature. (Running 100 miles under any circumstances is not for the faint of heart or tender of foot.)
The latter, those that merit all-caps, are races on technical or otherwise challenging trail, in conditions that test more than the runners’ mental toughness. These are the winter races, the summer races, the races in the desert and the woods. Aid stations may be a few miles, rather than yards, apart, and runners are required to bring their A-games physically as well as mentally (and, arguably, spiritually). These are not races run to PR. These are the races ultrarunning was made for–the heart-and-soul, blood/sweat/tears races.
Ride the Wind 100M/50M/25M (May 10-11, 2014) is one such ALL-CAPS races. Run on the Cottonwood Valley Trails, the course takes in both the north and south sides of the Red Rock National Conservation Area. There’s lots of varied desert terrain, no shade to speak of, and breathtaking views of the spectacular cliffs of Red Rock. The trail varies from technical single track to areas of fast, flat dirt and gravel. Gaiters are useful; hydration packs are advisable.
Support crews and pacers are welcome to assist runners of the 100M, after they pass mile 50. Well-stocked aid stations on the course provide cold water, Heed, Hammer gels, Endurolytes, soda, and sweet and salty snacks. Food and beverages are offered at the start/finish area as well.
So what can you expect to experience when you run Ride the Wind?
- Wildflowers. Yes, in the desert!
- Birds. More than 100 different species have been identified within the confines of Red Rock Canyon.
- Wildlife. Most of the desert mammals are nocturnal, but you may catch glimpses of the blacktail jackrabbit, the desert cottontail, ground squirrels, and kangaroo rats during the day. Keep your eyes peeled for the desert tortoise, a protected species in this area.
- Gorgeous skies. When it’s clear, hundred-milers are treated to stunning celestial displays overnight, as well as the magnificent desert sunset and sunrise.
- Heat. It’s hot in Vegas in May. Seasonal highs and lows range from 81 during the day to 54 at night. There’s little to no shade on this course, so runners should plan accordingly and take precautions.
- Awe-inspiring views of the colorful sandstone cliffs and other land features.
- A great time! Friendly and supportive volunteers and staff, ample hydration and aid supplies, and the camaraderie that is a hallmark of the ultra-running community.
If you’ve completed races of the 100M/50M/25M distance before and are looking to up the ante a bit, you’ll love the rewards of meeting the challenge offered by this unique race.
Elemental Running invites you to visit the race Web site to learn more. Military service members are eligible to receive a discount on their race entry. All participants receive a tech shirt and a goodie bag. Finishers receive a medal; 100-mile finishers receive a buckle.
Come Ride the Wind this May!