Summary: Black Canyon 100k is a desert run with a mostly downhill course for the first half and rollers over the second half, as it’s point to point on the non-motorized Black Canyon Trail, featuring a mixture of single track trail with some very rocky, technical sections, jeep roads, and pieces of an old stagecoach route. Distances include 100k and 60k.
Lessons Learned from Race Reports
- Shuttle bus to the start since it’s point to point – have your plans for getting to the start set up well ahead of time
- Stay up to date on any changes, as 2017 saw a last minute course change due to river flooding, so the course was changed to an out and back course, a very significant change for runners and crew
- Tough to get in a rhythm with the snaking nature of a lot of the course. If the course is muddy, it’s hard to find a comfortable running rhythm.
- Be prepared for anything with this race, as past years’ weather has been both very hot and very wet and cold, both making DNFs all the more likely.
- Make sure you have gear for both hot and cold temperatures.
- You’re running in the desert without cover, so bring whatever you can and use the aid station resources to make things easier on yourself.
- Be conservative on the technical sections in the beginning, especially since these might feel easier because of the gradual downhill, as it will help save your legs for the latter miles.
- Single track starts pretty early in the race, so it helps to be closer to the front if you’re really looking to be competitive.
- The race is a tale of 2 halves, with the first 50k losing about 2000 feet of elevation, and the second 50k being much more rolling
- Very little shade on the course, if any, so completely exposed to elements, which can be tough in both hot and cold conditions
- The combination of a more challenging second half of the course with hotter, exposed conditions (unless it’s an off year with rain and clouds), along with some technical, rocky terrain, makes this a deceivingly hard course.
- Be sure to have your headlamp for the latter miles of the race
- Several race reports indicating runners taking too little water from the aid station and running out between aid
- If it’s hot, use the ice provided at aid stations
- The rocky sections are full of loose rocks that roll all over the place, making foot placement quite difficult and causing falls and ankle rolls
- Pee right before you get on the bus shuttle to the start, because it’s a long ride and everyone will have to pee the moment you get off
Rough course description:
- First five miles have gentle rollers
- Starts around a track, then 2 miles on paved road and one on dirt before connecting to single track trail.
- Miles 5 – 13 are all downhill
- Miles 13 – 16 are mostly flat, before going back downhill to mile 20
- 300ft climb from 20-21, then mostly flat or slightly down to 27 (this is where heat can typically set in)
- Steep descent from 27 to 29.5, then rollers to 40
- 40-42 has the steepest climb of the day, gaining 659 ft
- Downhill from 42 to 50, then another climb from 50-55 (about 600 ft over 5 miles)
- Rolling for the next 3 miles, before going down to the finish
Total gain/loss: 7,000/8,898
Ft/mile gain: 112.5
Total climbs: 2x700ft (~miles 40-42 and miles 50-55), 6×100-200ft climbs, countless rollers
Longest climb: ~700ft from miles 50-55
Steepest climb: ~700ft from miles 40-42 (several short, steep climbs throughout)
Elevation profile: BC100KProfile2015.png
Total aid stations: 9 (not including start and finish)
Furthest distance apart: 8.8 miles
Locations: 7.3, 12.5, 19.2, 23.7, 31.2, 37.4, 46.2, 50.9, 58.6 (Bold indicates crew accessible)
What’s available: Typical aid station fare including water, electrolyte drink, sweet snacks, salty snacks, and fruit.
Access Locations: Miles 7.3, 12.5, 19.2, 37.4, 50.9
Crew instructions/directions: http://aravaiparunning.com/network/blackcanyon/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2016/02/Crew-Manual-BCT-2016.pdf
Permitted to start at the Black Canyon City (Mile 37.4) aid station. Pacers may switch out at the Table Mesa Aid Station (Mile 50.9).
Western States Qualifier – finish under 17 hours
Western States Golden Ticket Race – First 2 male and first 2 female finishers get auto entry into current year’s Western States 100 race.
Jeff U’s 2017 Race Report (out and back course because of weather)
http://www.ultraholic.com/the-living-desert-black-canyon-100k-race-report/ (good section by section course description and lots of photos at the bottom of the post)