Summary: Taking place in the self-proclaimed, “Cowboy Capital of the US,” the Bandera 100k always brings a fast crowd because it’s a Western States Golden Ticket Race. The most often mentioned feature of the race is the plant life along the trail, which promises to bite, scratch, and sting. The terrain is varied, with few switchbacks and lots of short, steep, climbs and descents, along with rocks and plenty of runnable trails along the way. The 100k distance runs two 50k loops and there is a 50k and 25k race as well.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- Cupless event so make sure you have your own cup/water bottle, but they will have cups for hot food
- TX winter weather is incredibly unpredictable – bring several clothing options no matter what the forecast says leading up to it
- In more years than not, race reports talk about it being cold, at least in the morning and evening
- There is an out and back section early on, so be prepared to pass runners going the other way, particularly the faster folk out front, as this race draws fast runners
- Climbs are short and steep, many with loose rocks, so have good shoes and be patient
- You run through some deep trenches (3-4 feet), so a bit different compared to other trail races
- The Enchanted Forest looks cool in pics, but it also looks difficult with the shadows that the leafless trees cast on the ground – be careful with footing, especially since there are lots of rocks
- You can hear the finish line when you still have one more climb left, so be prepared for that and not discouraged with it happens (twice!)
- Rocks, rocks, rocks. If you stop paying attention, you will likely clip a toe and fall!
- TONS of intersections, so know the course, know what markings to look for, and pay attention and don’t just follow who is ahead of you.
- Lots of sunshine and exposure on the course – wear a hat and sunglasses
- First 5 miles and last 5 miles of each loop are some of the hardest sections due to climbing
- Patience is huge with a two lap course – lots of people don’t leave anything for lap #2
- The trails are still quite technical even though they are runnable, and the climbs are short, steep pop ups, but they wear you down
- Consider wearing knee-high compression socks or long pants if it’s cold or because of the sotol cactus plants alongside the trail
- That being said, the sotol is fairly hard to avoid, so embrace the pain!
- You can go from super techy to suddenly very fast and flowy, so being able to transition gears is big.
- Compared to 2016, the current course is about 1.8 miles longer with an extra 1500 feet of vert, so expect some slightly slower times.
Total gain/loss: 6500,6500 (estimate based on several Strava activities)
Ft/mile gain: 104.8
Total climbs: N/A, the entire thing is rolling with gains anywhere from 50-350 feet at a time, but they feel relentless
Total aid stations: 11 plus start/finish
Furthest distance apart: 6.58 miles (twice)
Locations: Miles 4.7, 11.3, 16.3, 22.2, 26.5, 31.4 (start/finish), 36, 42.6, 47.6, 53.6, 57.8
What’s available: In addition to typical aid station fare of salty and sweet foods, they offer Tailwind and Saltstick. See this page for more info on what’s typically available and special foods for hot/cold weather.
Access Locations: All aid stations, though parking is only available at the Lodge, which is the start/finish and halfway point. No vehicles at other aid stations; walk, bike or run there.
Crew instructions/directions: See Hill Country State Natural Area Map
Allowed after runners complete one 50k loop
Western States Golden Ticket Race
Western States qualifier (under 17 hours)
Strava activities and GPX files
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