Bear Chase 50k Race Report – Lyndsey B

bear chase 50kRace: Bear Chase Trail Race 50K

Runner: Lyndsey B

Race Date: 09/29/2018

Location: Bear Creek Lake Park, Lakewood, CO

Results: 6:55 – 101 out of 164 overall (31 out of 64 women)

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Location – the race itself is close to Denver, making travel and lodging super convenient for anyone coming from out of town.
  2. Course – single-track, soft dirt/rocky trails made for relatively easy footing. The fact that the course was a loop (the 50k completed one 10k loop and two 12.5 mile loops) could be good or bad depending on your perspective, but for this distance, it was the perfect amount to mentally engage.
  3. Race day support – one word: excellent. The volunteers were proactive about helping runners re-fill bottles and find exactly what they needed. The option to leave a drop bag at the start also made planning specifics very chill and easy.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

While I honestly really enjoyed the race, I could see how the loop design of the course might make the longer distances more mentally challenging. The weather could also potentially be a negative factor depending on the day. According to the forecast, I was prepared for it to be very hot and thus challenging with the altitude; however, it ended up being a cool 37 degrees at the start and 88 degrees at the finish. Luckily the temperature hovered in the 60s for the meat of the race.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

Downhills are my strength, and I definitely enjoyed/pushed the downhill coming off of the one big climb. Plus the view of the city to the east and the lake below is really beautiful! The last 10k of the 12.5 mile loop is a great place to fall back into a rhythm and build speed back to the start area, and I was able to do that on each loop, which was a lot of fun.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Don’t be afraid of the hills or water crossings. The one big climb is definitely doable for hard hiking up and isn’t terribly long. The water crossings felt great (even though it wasn’t super hot); just be sure to prep your feet prior to the race if you’re prone to blisters (nothing a little Squirrel’s Nut Butter can’t fix!).

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

The park and the course were really beautiful/had it all: lakes, rolling hills, wildflowers, dirt ribbons for miles. Very pretty. You feel like you’re much farther away than a few minutes from downtown Denver.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

In certain ways, yes. The climb is still a decent effort that comes early on in each loop and can sap your energy if you’re not smart about it, but it’s relatively short and the downhill on the back end makes it worth it. The water crossings take some focus, as the rocks lining the crossings are large and slippery, and the super narrow trail along the road is challenging toward the end when you’re tired and prone to tripping.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Biggest thumbs up here – this race is definitely a well-oiled machine. Everything was impeccably organized, and the volunteers provided excellent race day support. Every time I came into an aid station, a volunteer anticipated my needs before I could articulate them: took my Scratch, filled my bottles, asked what else I needed. The race started on time, and had good finish line amenities. Overall, probably the best supported race in which I’ve participated.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Definitely – though I wasn’t a part of the action! It’s a pretty fast course that would be perfectly suited to someone trying to improve his or her time (ultimately while I picked it) or go out and race hard.

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.

Super convenient travel wise if you’re not from the area. Can stay in Denver and it’s a 25 minute drive due west.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Had everything you could ever want, and the volunteers were super helpful/knowledgeable.

Weather and typical race conditions

This year it was 37 degrees at the start and 88 at the finish, which was brutal at the start and toward the end, but for the most part the temps hovered in the 60s for most of the race which ended up being perfect.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

I personally ran with a hydration vest that carried my water, electrolyte mix, and nutrition, but probably could have run with much less gear since there were so many aid stations in such close proximity. I’d say you could definitely do the race relying on aid stations alone if you don’t have specific nutritional needs.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

4 stars – highly recommend!