Cascade Crest 100 Race Report – Rob Raux

Photo: Takao Suzuki

Race: Cascade Crest 100

Runner: Rob Raux

Race Date: 07/21/2023

Location: Easton, WA

Results: 29 OA, 27:29:35

Strava Activity Link:

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

  1. Volunteers and logistics were on another level. I felt nothing but love and helpfulness from anyone I interacted with during the race.
  2. Beautiful views of Mount Rainier, stunningly tall trees, and a good chunk along the PCT.
  3. Unique trip up/down a ropes course and through the Snoqualmie Tunnel to the Hyak.

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

  1. Less of the course was runnable for me than I’d prefer, especially since it was an out and back year.
  2. Significant dust/dry dirt kicked up, especially during the early miles when there were packs of people. Had congestion/dirt in the respiratory system for a few days afterwards.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The 2.25 mile trip through the Snoqualmie Tunnel was very surreal. The skeleton of a pacer half way through was a nice touch.

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

Showing up to the race healthy made the race significantly more enjoyable. I had calf issues in the lead up and wasn’t sure how healthy I would feel.

I didn’t start too fast, kept things even keel throughout, and was rewarded by moving up significantly through the field in the second half of the race. It’s always a mental highlight to be moving up through the field instead of realizing you’ve overdone it.

The problem solving after losing liquid calories (use your imagination), falling and locking up the muscles, and general effort management — it felt like a well executed race plan that took into account my limitations.

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

  1. If there’s still a ropes course, bring gloves with you. I had to be very careful with the nylon ropes on the bare skin both up and down.
  2. The ice bandanna was key for the daytime running. Almost every aid station had ice to refill.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • If you plan for liquid calories, remember you actually need to drink that amount of liquid too. Training for 4-5 hours with liquid calories is much different than trying to consume it for 12+ hours straight. Have a backup plan!
  • Consistency is key. I started middle of the pack, kept it even keel, stopped to gather myself or solve problems, and slowly moved up the field without even intending to. It sounds simple when written out. It’s much more difficult when you’re in the moment.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

This race report is for the 2023 version, which was an alternate route course (out and back), similar to what was run in 2023.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Stellar views almost the entire time, just don’t look away too long or you’re gunna end up on the ground.

Photo: Takao Suzuki

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Very technical uphill/downhills with larger rocks that I was uncomfortable navigating in the dark. It’s surely on the tougher side on average with the gain.

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

The volunteers were absolutely phenomenal, the aid stations were each uniquely themed, stacked with goodies, and helpful. The race is truly a non-profit, all proceeds all donated to the Easton FD — a labor of love and you can tell.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Race has a bit more of a “local” feel but there is still strong (but not deep) field.

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.

Easy 1.5 hour trip from SEA-TEC airport, I stayed in Cle Elum with no issues, booking only a few months out, after I made it off the waitlist. Since there are a number locals participating there may be a less heavy demand on hotels, etc.

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

Standard fare, each themed and incredibly helpful.

Weather and typical race conditions

Race was 60F-85F range and low humidity. Full sun in a lot of places but very bugs/mosquitos. Unseasonably dry so significant dust when in groups.

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

I only used my poles after 80 miles. There are plenty of areas where it would be beneficial earlier if you’re strong with them.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There are a lot of remote areas that are inaccessible/discouraged so not easy access for viewing. The start/finish area was very welcoming, along with the turn around at Hyak.

How’s the Swag?

  • Good quality T-Shirt, Mug, Drymax Socks at packet pickup.
  • Beautiful belt buckle, high quality finisher Hoodie
  • Cheap/At Cost additional clothes & stickers available for purchase

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

4.5/5 — highly recommended if you’re looking for that accessible mountain race