Race: Never Summer 100k
Runner: Matt Urbanski
Race Date: 07/27/2019
Location: Gould, CO
Results: 3rd OA, 13:02:10
Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2571413940
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- Scenery – I rarely pay too much attention to this aspect of racing and am more into the racing aspect. But this race had some sections, particularly in the first 50k where I thought – “damn this is freaking awesome!” It had it all too – big mountains, above timberline running, boulder, snow, cow paths, water crossings and so much more! Awesome!
- The vibe – trail racing is cool and the scene is just generally awesome to begin with. This race was way out there and as a result, camping near the start, hanging with fellow racers, and just being all in for a couple days made this a really fun racing environment. Kudos to the race crew for putting on such a cool, runner-friendly event.
- The racers – I had fun with the people there. I knew people in the race, I met knew friends along the way, and my brother crewed/paced for me. This all added up to a memorable day with cool people and I’m thankful!
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
I went the wrong way and lost a good chunk of time in the final 10k. My own fault, but damn did that suck!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I managed my effort well and was patient, and as a result, I had my legs later in the race. I’m not great with technical trail, in particular, technical downhill. There was plenty of it in the first 40 miles. I was chill, let people pass me (over and over on each and every downhill!), and when the course smoothed out in the final 20 miles, I had my legs and was running faster than nearly anyone else in the race for the last part of the race. I came in feeling strong and encouraged! (and given that I have a 100 miler coming up, this is a HUGE confidence booster!)
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
This course has lots of slow parts. Planning to “pace” seems like a silly idea b/c there are some really slow parts, some fast parts, and everything in between. Learn to deal with all terrains, be patient, be flexible, be adaptable, and laugh at anything that is hard, b/c there are plenty of things in this race that are hard.
- 30+ stream crossings = constantly wet feet
- boulder field crossing b/c snow was covering rocky trail
- muddy, shoe-sucking cow poop filled mud sections
- 40+% grade climb to the top of Diamond Peak – ridiculous!
- I’m sure there are more challenges, but this should give you an idea!
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Pay attention! I missed an easy left turn in the final 10k and went way out of the way. And the RD said pre-race that if you didn’t see a flag after 0.25 miles, you are off course. I said to myself, maybe someone is f’ing with us and moved the flags. I should have just turned around. And when we got back, I saw clear as day the markers me and my brother ran right past.
All this said, I’m super proud of how I rebounded, rallied, and finished hard. I wanted to just say F-it and quit after being so far off course. But I kept moving, and then I got running harder again, and then I found out I hadn’t lost any placing, and then I pushed harder to the finish. Tough pill to swallow, and I hopefully won’t make that mistake again, but at least I made the most of it and finished strong regardless.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Expect it all! Weather can be variable. The course is variable. It has nearly every element of trail running, including roads, paved and dirt, smooth trails, wide trails, technical trails, overgrown trails, and everything you can imagine. Be ready, be flexible.
The backhalf of the race can be a grind. You’re likely getting tired, and the scenery isn’t as great. There was a lot of mud, cow poop, and sunny warm exposed paths. I could see it being easy to get negative later in the race. The epic stuff is behind you and you’re pushing for home, while running through cow shit – stay positive and finish well!
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
One of the best I’ve seen, particularly the first 50k
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Yep. the finishing times attest to this!
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Gnar did an awesome job with this one. The scene was awesome, the food was good, everything just had a cool feeling about it.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Yeah. Didn’t have the top pros but there were some fast runners out there!
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.
The race did sell out, but not right away.
There aren’t hotels around. This race is way out there in the middle of nowhere. So much so that the nearest hotel/airbnb was probably at least 45 mins away. My family skipped this one and it was a bro-campout race. The positive of this is that we camped at the start (have to reserve in advance) and this made the morning pre-race time really chill and easy.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
I used all my own fueling (except water and half a banana from the aid stations). That said, everyone was nice, and they were fast in refilling my bottle.
There was a food buffet at the finish and they had vegan food, big bonus to have good food post-race!
Weather and typical race conditions
Typical CO summer. Stormed in the afternoon, got sunny, cool in the morning. Overall good racing conditions.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
I wore my Nathan Krar belt with a 20 ounce bottle. I carried a back up bottle in my Waa pocket shirt but never used it. I used poles a ton during this race and relied on Spring and Huma gels for all my fueling. My brother had my light and a rain jacket in my crew bag but I never needed them.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Decent. My brother was able to crew at 3 spots before joining me for pacing at mile 50. Chill race, lots of hikers to cheer us on, and family/friends of racers – enough to make you feel good out there!
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
Loved it! If you like gnarly trail racing and being way out in the mountains, this is a good one!