Course preview

Here’s a great write up by Cory Reese on what to expect from this course…

http://www.fastcory.com/2012/05/zion-100-course-guide.html

Thanks so much, Cory.  You’ve been such a great resource throughout all of this.

4 days…

Wanted to share a cool idea that we’ve come up with for trail marking that I haven’t seen being used out there yet.  We’ll call them “trailies”.  This is a take off of the words that the idea originated from- “throwies” and “glowies“.

I just learned about “throwies”about a week and a half ago and started on the idea late, so we won’t be able to have too many of them (about 100) on the course.  Thus far, the idea is going so well that it seems possible and quite economical to do all night time markings using “trailies” in the future.  We’ll have the standard fare of reflective tape and glow sticks this year since the materials have already been purchased and distributed to trail markers and we want to try it out first.  The lights and batteries I ordered got here 5 days ago and my test subjects have been lit constantly for 5 days now and are still burning pretty bright.

Cost breakdown of a throwie: 5mm LED light= $0.16, CR2032 battery= $0.20, Clothespin= $0.04, and 3″ of electrical tape= $0.01.  That puts the total at around 40 cents per marker, half of which can be re-used for next year.  Seems very reasonable to mark an entire course well with LED lights spaced at 50-100 yds, significantly reducing the # of runners going off course.

Add a 17″ outdoor balloon and rent a helium tank and you’ve got some “glowies”.  We’ll have a different color of glowies marking each aid station through the night, hopefully you’ll be able to see them from afar as you’re trekking through the desert towards your destination.  If there’s wind we won’t be able to float them up very high, but on a calm night they’ll be floating over 100 ft. in the air.  Apple Valley might get some UFO sightings Friday night :)

The light in this balloon has been going for 5 days now.  The 17″ balloon (about $0.25 each) stopped floating after about 15 hours, plenty of time to get through the night!  (FYI- If you buy a pre-made “glowie” you’ll pay about $2 each and they only glow for 3-4 hrs.  and get a smaller, poor quality balloon that only floats for about that long).

Here are the ingredients we picked up at the local health food store to make a big batch of vegan broth for the aid stations.  Abe and I have been busy making electrolyte snow cones and we’ve got some awesome boiled red potatoes marinated in Italian dressing that we’ll be serving at the aid stations.

Many nights spent organizing once the kids are in bed.  Our garage and storage unit are filled to the max!

Ultralive.net !!!

Aahhh to the Yeeeaahhh.  Ultralive.net is going to be covering the Zion 100 and 50 milers!  Much better than the Google doc. that we would have been using!

Here is the link to follow the 100 milers: http://ultralive.net/zion100

Here is the link to follow the 50 milers: http://www.ultralive.net/zion50

50 Finishers medals (Thumbs up), Shirts (Thumbs down), and Buckles (Two thumbs way up)

Here’s a look at the 50 mile finishers’ medals.  Sandstone cut from a local quarry.  Overall winners’ (1st, 2nd, and 3rd- Male and Female, both distances) plaques were made with the same materials.

Not too excited about the T-shirts.  I like the look O.K . but they’re terrible to run in.  The big “Z” in the middle of your chest is not breathable and causes a big sweat patch there.  I thought that I had ordered the mesh style performance shirts and had envisioned little holes that allowed the logo portion to breathe.  Should have gone with the other shirt design but oh well.  Overzealous rookie RD mistake…  Feel free to donate to a volunteer if you’re not stoked on the shirt.  We’ve had a recent influx in volunteers(good) so it looks like we’re going to come up short with shirts for them (bad).

But I couldn’t be happier about the belt buckles.  They are going to blow your mind as they look even better in person and each one is truly an individual work of art and made out of materials gathered from the race course.  In a little over a week anybody that can survive 100 miles will be sporting one of these bad-boys!

The ten day forecast is out and it looks like it’s going to be a hot one (85-89 degrees, depending on the website.)  Be prepared for the worst and pray for something better :)

For those running the 100, Friday afternoon is going to be the toughest.  Cover up and take advantage of any opportunity that you have to get wet.  The trails at the lower elevations between mile 31 and 45 are often rough and hard to get into a rhythm on.

50 milers will be out there in the exposed desert during the heat of the day as well, but have smoother/faster trail surfaces to run on during this time.

Altra Giveaway on Facebook

We’re giving away a free pair of Altra Zero Drop shoes on our Facebook page!  Visit http://www.facebook.com/thezion100 for more information on how to win!

And the lucky winner is… Brian Janacek out of Portland, OR!!! Congratulations, Brian- email me at thezion100@gmail.com to get the coupon.

Pah Tempe Hot Springs

We have reserved the famous healing waters of Pah Tempe Hot Springs after the race to aid your body in the recovery process and provide a post-race gathering location for those associated with the Zion 100.  The first session will be from 9pm-12am on Saturday evening (May 12th) and the second session will be Sunday morning from 9am-12pm (May 13th.)  There will be a $20 charge at each session (group rate discount- you can pay Ken, the owner of the springs, upon arrival.)

People travel from all over the world to soak in these soothing mineral hot springs, located in the picturesque Virgin River gorge.  There are 7 different pools each 1 degree cooler than the other, ranging from 107 degrees Fahrenheit to 101 degrees.  A refreshing dip in the river is always nice to cool down when needed.  This is one of the best kept secrets in the area and should be on everyone’s “to do” list that comes from afar to visit Zion National Park.  It is open by private reservation only and we are excited to have this opportunity at a discounted rate.  Any remaining post-race beverages will find their way over to Pah Tempe at 9:00pm.

To get to Pah Tempe Hot Springs from Virgin, drive towards Hurricane and turn left on “Enchanted Way” immediately after crossing the large bridge that spans the Virgin River gorge and divides the towns of LaVerkin and Hurricane.  Follow this road down towards the river until you reach the entrance to Pah Tempe.

Pre-race info

For 100 mile runners, you’ll have a few opportunities to cool off along your run at a stream, river, pond, and a spring fed cattle trough.  The first one is a small stream at mile 19 on the course.  Another small stream crossing will be at about mile 21.  At about mile 28 you’ll cross North Creek along the Kolob Terrace road which usually is running crystal clear and even has a nice place to jump off of a 10 ft rock into a little swimming hole if you’re willing to stray 100 yds from the trail.  Around mile 30 is a pond on the right hand side of the road, just before a cattle guard.  At mile 35.5 you’ll cross the Virgin river (Sheep’s Bridge) and runners can take 100 yd detour to take a dip in the river before getting on the JEM trail.  The last opportunity to cool off is at the green cattle trough found at mile 45.  This one probably sounds the grossest, but remember- it’s just before the gnarliest ascent of the course and just after crossing 15 miles of exposed desert in the afternoon sun.  It is spring fed and always has flowing water, so it’s not as gross as other cattle troughs.

We’ll have these misters set up at aid stations 3-12 as well as a makeshift public shower made of PVC set up at the finish line.

The menu for the overnight aid stations will be serving the following menu to the 100 milers: Aid #5- My mom’s homeade soup (she even boiled the bones to make the stock- doesn’t get any more homeade than that!), Aid #6- Bean/rice/cheese burritos, Aid #7- Grilled cheese, Aid #8- Spaghetti, Aid #9- Homeade mac and cheese, Aid #10- More of mom’s soup, Aid #11- Pancake/egg breakfast, Aid #12- You’re less than 5 miles from the finish line, suck it up!

If you are driving and have camping chairs, would you mind bringing some extras for runners that are flying in?  There will plenty of shade for runners to sit on the grass if you don’t have a camping chair.  We’ll have seating for about 50 people but not near enough to accomodate everyone.

Beverages at the finish line will be made possible by the folks at Zion Canyon Brewing Co. and Pepsi.

Rules for pacers- no moving vehicles next to runners.  Muling (carrying your runner’s water, etc.) is OK.

Saw my first rattler of the year on Gould’s Rim trail yesterday (4/18).  I was a little surprised because it had been so cold lately and I didn’t expect them to be out and active already.  It is warming back up very quickly.  Saturday I was running in the snow with icicles in my hair and frozen hands and feet and then 3 days later it was 80 degrees on my run and I ran out of water.

Below is an email that was sent out to all of the runners a few days ago, re-posted here just to make sure everyone has all the info.

Hola!
Less than 4 weeks out from the inaugural Zion 100- Are you as excited and nervous as I am???  Just wanted to send out an email making sure that a few things got communicated to everyone with plenty of time in advance to prepare.

First off, will you please go to ultrasignup.com and add an emergency contact?  We forgot to include this in the registration process this year and would like to have it on file in case of an emergency situation.

All runners will be weighed on race morning and a baseline weight will be recorded and distributed to the 3 medical checkpoints along the 100 mile course -Aid stations #4 (Sheeps Bridge-mile 35), #8 (Smithsonian Butte Turnoff-mile 69.75) and #10 (Gould’s Rim-mile 82.75).  Fifty milers will only have one medical checkpoint at the Gould’s Rim aid station (mile 40.75).  Any runner that has lost more than 3% of their body weight from their baseline weight will be monitored while they rehydrate.  Medical volunteers will also be keeping an eye out for hyponatremia.  Make sure that you are closely monitoring your sodium intake with a product that your body is familiar with.

Runners are responsible to check in at each aid station with the volunteer wearing the orange vest and carrying a clipboard.  Make sure that you are counted.  Failure to check in will result in disqualification.

If you withdraw from the race, let someone know.  If we send out search and rescue, you are responsible to pay the bill.

Please encourage your pacer to use the shuttle service from the finish line to the appropriate aid station. Have them be at the finish line an hour before they want to be at their aid station. This keeps vehicles down at the aid stations and saves you a shuttle trip out to your vehicle after the race.

The course map and directions have recently been updated on the website with more accurate mileage.  The only aid station that was affected was #10, moved up a mile to the Diamond Ranch Academy school as they will be manning the aid station.

Directions to aid stations for crew have also been posted.  There are two additional access points for 100 mile crews that you’ll want to check out on the website as well.

It will likely be very hot in May.  Long sleeves and a hat would be wise.  The John Wayne Cancer Foundation will be providing sunscreen packets in the pre-race bags and will also be available at aid stations.  Both distances will be crossing long sections of exposed desert during the hottest time of day.  If possible, you may want to plan some mid-day runs between now and race day to get your body used to running in the heat. Of course you never know, two days ago we had a blizzard up on the mesas that left four inches of snow!

There are a few sections where you will be going through brush and loose dirt and rocks, so gaiters would be a good idea if you like to wear them.

Since each buckle is uniquely made and some will be more popular than others, we are going to let the runners of the 100 miler choose their buckles in the order that they finish.

Each runner will receive a meal ticket in their pre-race bag good for one person at the dutch oven cookout starting at 6pm on Saturday.  If you will not be joining us for the meal, please give your ticket back to us so that we can invite a volunteer to join us in your place.  If you have friends and family that would like to join us for the meal, vouchers can be purchased at pre-race check in for $11 each (cash or check only.)  The Grumpy Goat pizza ovens will be fired up most of the time from Thurs. evening through Saturday afternoon.  Runners will receive a voucher for one pizza to be used either before or after the race, but any friends/family/crew can purchase pizzas at any time.

Absolutely no littering!

Use of headphones and trekking poles are OK.

Feel free to email with any additional questions that you may have! Have fun training out there!

Matt

Directions to aid stations accessible to crew

Here are the directions to the aid stations that friends and family can meet you at (and a couple of additional access points for 100 mile crews.)

Additional access point #1- After seeing your runner off at the starting line, you can drive up and around to meet the runners at the top of the first mesa that they will climb. (You’ll also catch a beautiful sunrise.)   From the starting line, drive a mile west (toward LaVerkin) and turn right on Mesa Rd.  Follow this old road (paved but narrow and not maintained) for 3.5 miles to the top of the mesa, hanging right when the pavement ends.  After a quarter mile of dirt road, you’ll see the course markings emerge from a smaller dirt road to the right.  Park here and either wait for your runner (mile 5 into their run) or follow the course markings and hike in a mile to see the runners top out onto the mesa via the Flying Monkey trail.

Aid #4 (Sheep Bridge Road)- Driving towards the town of Virgin (heading east towards Zion NP from LaVerkin) on Hwy 9, pull off to the right at the Sheep’s Bridge road turnoff.  (Approximately 1 mile west of the start/finish line.)
GPS coordinates: 37°12’18.33″N 113°12’36.98″W

Aid #8 (Smithsonian Butte Turnoff)- As you pass through Hurricane heading east on Highway 9, turn right at the Highway 59 sign. One block later, turn left and follow Hwy 59 as it climbs up onto the mesa and heads out of town. About 15 minutes later, you’ll pass a gas station on the left-hand side, then some fields. Watch for a “Smithsonian Butte Scenic Byway” sign, and turn left onto a dirt road (14.8 miles from the turnoff in Hurricane).  Continue one half mile to a pullout on the right.
GPS coordinates:  37° 4’59.48″N 113° 6’23.58″W

Aid #10 (Gould’s Rim)- On Highway 9 at the east end of Hurricane, turn south on US-59 and zero your odometer. One block later, turn left (east) and begin climbing up out of the Hurricane Valley.  3.3 miles later, turn right onto the dirt road that leads to the Diamond Ranch Academy.  Continue on this road for 2.15 miles to the Diamond Ranch Academy.  Drive past the main entrance to the employee parking on the south end of the facilities.
GPS coordinates:   37° 7’37.06″N 113°15’6.92″W

Aid #11 (Hurricane Rim)- About 0.8 miles up the hill on US-59 from Hurricane, there is a pullout to the left that overlooks the city.
GPS coordinates: 37°10’59.93″N 113°16’42.48″W

Aid #12 (Virgin Dam Trailhead Turnoff)- Driving towards the town of Virgin (heading east towards Zion NP) on Hwy 9, turn right onto Sheep’s Bridge road.  (Approximately 1.35 miles before the Kolob Reservoir road turnoff.) Continue on this road for approx. 2.9 miles to the “Virgin Dam Trailhead” turnoff and turn right.  After one tenth of a mile the JEM trail will intersect the road.  Aid #12 will be here.
GPS coordinates:  37°10’44.78″N 113°14’25.37″W

Additional access point #2 on the 100 mile course for those willing to run/hike 2 miles each way (or have a 4wd vehicle.)- From the start/finish line, follow the yellow ribbons and head east towards the main entrance to Zion National Park. Turn right off of Hwy 9 onto Camino del Rio Rd. and head across bridge.
After a couple hundred yards, turn left onto dirt road just before reaching the adobe home subdivision.  Look at Gooseberry Mesa and try to see a faint road/trail that zigzags up to the top.  That is what you’re aiming for.  You’ll pass through a cattle gate as you get started (MAKE SURE TO CLOSE THIS GATE OR YOU WILL JEOPARDIZE FUTURE ACCESS FOR ALL!) and stay left at a fork in 1/4 mile and dip down into a wash.  After you climb out of the wash, you’ll have a dead straightaway for a mile and a half to a crossroads with another dirt road and a green cattle trough.  The trail marking ribbons will turn from yellow to pink at this point as this marks where the 50 and 100 mile courses join paths.  This will be about 45.5 miles into the 100 mile run.  Feel free to accompany your runner on a death march up onto the mesa, climbing nearly 1,500 ft. in 1.5 miles.  Your runner needs the support up the toughest climb on the course, and the views are worth it! If you can hack it, join your runner for a little of the Gooseberry Mesa singletrack once you’re up on the mesa before you head back, it’s one of the best sections of trail on the course.  Please yield to uphill traffic as you make your way back down off of the mesa.

Didn’t get into the race? Consider pacing someone else!

While both distances are full, there is still an option for those wanting to run this course… Become a pacer!  You’ll get to run part of the course for free, have full access to the aid stations, and will receive a volunteer T-shirt and a pizza!  You don’t even have to be familiar with the course, we’ll have it well marked.  Just a fresh mind and legs willing to help out a fellow runner in need.  (This offer is for people that are volunteering to pace a stranger.  If you are pacing a friend in the race there is no need to fill out this form.  Sorry, no T-shirt or pizza for those pacing friends, but you do have full access to our well-stocked aid stations and we’ll be happy to shuttle you from the finish line to the aid station that you’re meeting your runner at!)

Follow this link to sign up to volunteer to pace a runner that has requested a pacer.

First time pacer?  Here’s a great article explaining what pacing’s all about…

Preparing for race day…

While the total elevation on this course is comparatively mild to other runs, I just want to make sure that people don’t underestimate this course.  It has some very technical sections that will challenge almost anyone.  Luckily the toughest sections are spread out so that you don’t have to take the beating all at once! :)  I’ve just added some photos that runners took from a recent training run to the Facebook page which will give you a good idea of what you’re in for on the more technical sections of the course.

Also, don’t forget about the heat.  There will be a 15 mile section of trail on exposed desert between Smith and Gooseberry mesas that most will be crossing during the hottest hours of the day.

The 50 mile course is a different beast.  While it starts out with a brutal climb and over 15 miles of singletrack on the varied terrain of Gooseberry Mesa (which will leave you begging for a smooth surface to run on) the last 30 miles are very fast.  When it splits with the 100 mile course it will take the more direct, smooth, and fast JEM trail vs. the winding, hard-fought technical Hurricane Rim trail that the 100 milers will be battling out to the finish.  (100 milers- make sure that you have a headlamp with fresh batteries for this section as the rocks on this trail have a reputation for tripping runners up even in the daylight on fresh legs!)

Here is a newspaper article from the L.A. Times archives that has some interesting history of one of the mesas that we’ll be running on in the race.  This is how the Flying Monkey trail got its name.  Here’s some more reading on the subject if you found that interesting.

If you’d like to bring your 4 legged friend to the race but plan on staying in a hotel and need a place for him/her to stay, check out the service that event sponsor Doggy Dude Ranch offers.  They are the nearest pet care facility to the park.

We now have a sponsoring hotel in St. George, the Abbey Inn.  They will be offering a discounted rate of $99, which is $20 off of the normal rate for the dates of the race.  The Holiday Inn Express near Hurricane still has discounted rooms available, but the Cable Mountain Lodge in Springdale is all booked out.  You should still be able to find rooms available at other hotels in Springdale if you act fast.

I have 3 brothers that are chiropractors and they’ll all be helping out with the race.  They’ll each be at the pre-race check in with a portable table and kinesio tape to help you get ready for the big day.  One practices here locally, one along the Wasatch front, and one in La Habra, CA.