Race: Black Canyon 100k

Runner: Chase P

Race Date: 02/15/2020

Location: Black Canyon Trail, Arizona

Results: DNF – 46mi, 11 hours

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/3103483880/overview

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

THE ORGANIZATION: Aravaipa has a reputation for being world-class…they are more than that. This was the most well-oiled event, from the expo to the DNF, that I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t imagine being responsible for 1,000 runners in the desert, but they had it down. The crowded aid stations didn’t seem crowded. The volunteers knew what was up. The medics knew what was up. Everyone kept it moving and kept the runners happy and on their way.

THE PEOPLE: This wasn’t the “Arizona vs. the World” race that I thought it would be. I met a plethora of runners from all over the nation, which helped me feel better about being a tourist. All of us out-of-towners were in the hot desert hell together!

THE VIEWS: The views….and the views…and the views. The semi-green desert expanded for miiiiiiiiiles – what a beautiful sight.

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

ROCKS: sniper rocks, they come out of nowhere with the sole purpose of wrecking your life. I rolled my ankle on one at mile 5 and pushed through the pain another 40+ miles until the DNF. Ugh.

HARD PACK: The desert doesn’t afford the same forgiveness as the PNW cush. Every step was brutal on the entire body and the feet. Not sure how to prepare for this other than smashing more pavement, which I did quite a bit of leading up to the race. It’s just tough and different!

HEAT/EXPOSURE: I would estimate there was approximately 2% shade on the course until the sun went down. Full exposure, even without crazy hot temps, sucks. The temp got up to about 70-75*, and even hotter down in the canyons. That was plenty to suck the life out of this Seattle boy!

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

I kept my major muscle groups in check. I didn’t pound the downs (thank you, rolled ankle!) and kept myself in check the entire day. The heat ended up getting to me and I couldn’t eat or drink anything. Nausea and heat sickness set in and that was all she wrote.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Prepare for the heat and exposure better. It will be a HUGE factor if the weather is right.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Miles 31-46 are nothing like the first 31. Be ready!

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Extreme beauty.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Extremely different type of challenge than the PNW.

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

Extremely well run and organized. 100/10.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

VERY! So many crushers out there! The middle/back of the pack did NOT feel like the middle/back of the pack. This is a world-class event with world-class crushers. Not too many people out there biting off more than they know they can chew.

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.

A little pricey, but a great experience!

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

Sunscreen and SNB! Then do it all again!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Pretty accessible, all things considered!

How’s the Swag?

Got a drop bag and a 1/4 zip – pretty swaggy!

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

10/10 – highly recommended for an A-race. BE PREPARED!