Race: Bandera 100K
Runner: Rick H
Race Date: 01/11/2020
Location: Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, TX
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/3004736853
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- Challenging course.
- Beautiful landscape.
- Positive volunteers and well-supported.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
- Due to a new course change, the course map and elevation profile was hard to interpret pre-race.
- No plain water. Since there is no water available in the state natural area, it had to be brought in. Each aid station had a choice of soda or tailwind, but the only water was a mineral water provide by a race sponsor. The flavor of the water started to make me feel sick to my stomach around mile 40.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
Maybe not weird, but I saw Billy Yang filming at the start. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that he probably wasn’t there to see me. But you bet I’ll be looking for his Bandera 2020 video!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I ran my own race. The first couple miles were crowded as everyone got compressed into the single track quickly. But, staying patient paid off as I was able to maintain a steady pace for the first lap to make it through the first loop 30-minutes ahead of my A-goal. I stayed efficient at aid stations and didn’t linger unless I had something to do; this gave me more time to work through the course.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
- Run your own race; not someone else’s.
- If you’re not actually taking aid at an aid station – leave.
- Travel light and use your drop bags; there’s no use carrying gloves all day when you won’t need them until after nightfall.
- Stay positive – whenever you think of or hear someone say something negative, turn it into something positive; instead of, “there’s a monster climb ahead”, remind yourself, “it will feel AWESOME to conquer that next monster climb.”
- SMILE. It actually makes you feel better.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
- Cross train/train for climbing
- More real food. Less gels.
- Mt. Dew comes straight from heaven. So does bacon.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
- VERY rocky. Have sturdy footwear. I ran in Altra Lone Peaks which incorporate a rock plate in the sole and has deeper tread lugs than my other favorite (Topo Runventure).
- Wear calf sleeves or high compression socks; if not for the compression, then to protect against the sotol cactus leaves cutting your legs up. You CAN’T avoid the sotol.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
It depends on your background. For a flatlander from Florida like me, it was very challenging. For someone who is used to vert, it may be somewhat middle-of-the road.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This was a very well-run race.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Its a Western States qualifier… ’nuff said. 😉
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Everything is available on the website.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
If you want water that doesn’t taste like minerals, bring your own. The tailwind does well to cover up the flavor, though. Everything else was standard with the addition of bacon, quesadillas, and hot ramen in the evening.
Weather and typical race conditions
2020 was nearly perfect. Mid-40s gave way to a clear blue sky in the mid-60’s. A lot of the course had at least some shade except for when the sun was directly overhead, which was helpful. Mid-30’s that evening was cold when not moving, though.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
My poles proved invaluable for the last 20 miles. They saved me from a couple near-falls on the descents after nightfall when my legs were spent.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
All aid stations can be reached by car.
How’s the Swag?
Awesome buckle and comfy long sleeved shirt.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
5/5 stars. Highly recommend the experience. If you’re not up for 100K, there are shorter options