In this race report, runner Mark Droge shares his experience at the Cascade Super Ultra 50 miler (and what you should know before racing it).
Runner: Mark Droge
Race Date: 9/25/2021
Location: Cle Elum/North Bend, WA
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/6019810097
3 Bests – What aspects of the Cascade Super Ultra did you like the most?
- Beautiful scenery
- Ultra community, runners and volunteers
- Completely runnable trail
Not so much – What aspects of the Cascade Super Ultra didn’t do it for you?
Mileage was a bit more than 50, so when pushing the limit to finish last two miles, was discouraged when realized end wasn’t at 50 on the money.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about the Cascade Super Ultra?
At an aid station, (Easton) asked directions to the porta-potties and never found one, when had been announced one there were to be some there.
Before race, ran warm up away from the start and ran into a deer buck blocking the trail, decided confrontation wasn’t worth it so turned back.
As the day went on, was almost over run by cyclists, ton, mostly good natured, but some dangerous fast in and out of lanes.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
Ran at about the max I could have run, ran it as a race, rather than a recreational run (which is how I usually approach races). Since I have been reading Endure, I have recently seen in the pages that we can go beyond what our bodies tell us we can go. With that new to me knowledge, when in last 21 miles and effort/Heart rate dipped to lower 150’s, sped up without having any body problems that I hadn’t already been experiencing. (GI went a bit sideways)
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the Cascade Super Ultra to help the next runner
Easily runnable course, very gradual incline for first 29 miles, then last 18 about 1’500 decline.
Make sure to have headlamp easily accessible for the Three tunnels.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Practice nutrition at a higher intensity, have had tummy problems both 50’s this year.
Practice drop bag use.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the Cascade Super Ultra?
- Old RR grade wide double track trail
- Probably 90% of course was in the shade, making it much more comfortable than it might have been.
- 2 drop bags, 29 and 42.5 miles
- 30 to 40 minutes dark running from start (headlamp needed)
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
Beautiful, Fall colors are out, vibrant maples, yellows, rust and a whole lot of green.
Course runs next to Yakima river, over high bridges, through the mountains and a 2.4 mile pitch black tunnel
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Pretty well oiled, but either directions to outhouse at Easton aid were bad, or they just didn’t have one. Someone I caught up with was looking and didn’t find one either…
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Second year race, starting to get stronger, with Matt Urbanski (My coach) racing and crushing the last race record by nearly 2 hours, Derek Siebert taking 3rd, also faster than previous record.
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.
Ought to be easy to get into race and get accommodations.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Can’t comment on this, had mostly my own, through wife crewing and drop bag.
Weather and typical race conditions
Ran same route last year – last year overcast beginning in the upper 40’s, rain from 10 in ending about 55.
This year start upper 40’s turned sunny, ended mid 70’s.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
Personally I used a vest and needed it for two flasks, gels, headlamp (when not in use), TP (just in case, you never know) and inhaler.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Only a couple of places easily accessible. Hyak is best, just before the 2.4 mile tunnel at mile 29!
How’s the Swag?
Buckle, Tee, water bottle, buff bag.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?