Race: Never Summer 100K

Runner: Bucky Love

Race Date: 7/31/2021

Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO.

Results: 18 hours 42 mins

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/5719248082

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

1. I would say the scenery for this one, except the race directors had to reroute our course due to flash floods in the area, taking us off the most scenic ridge lines of the day, but it was still beautiful in many areas.
2. The atmosphere with the other runners. Everyone was high energy, good vibes, and friendly.
3. The aid stations. Well positioned, well stocked, helpful attendance.

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

The high altitude doesn’t do it for me. I have lived and trained my entire life mostly at sea level and the highest I usually get on local mountains is 4K. This race didn’t dip below 8K and averages 10K above sea level. It took its toll on me.

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

Running through so many cow pastures. You will see roaming cows and you will step in more than one cow paddy.

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

I pushed through a rough day of G.I. issues for 1/2 the race, high altitude fatigue, and coughing fits. I am pleased that through many issues to finish and it was a testament to my fitness that I was able to do so.

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

Be ready for tough climbs in the first 50K of the race. There are several of them and one on the normal course that would take you at a 40% incline. Take your time, pace yourself, and be prepared to run on tired legs. There are a lot of dirt roads and rocky terrain, be prepared with cushioned shoes and be prepared to adapt to changes/challenges the race day may toss your way. This weather can change quickly.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I will not spend a week ahead of the race at altitude. It wasn’t enough time for me to acclimate. I believe I would need 3 weeks to do so. All my week did for me prior was lead to fatigue early in the race. I will go out the day before and immediately race.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Be prepared for change. The weather is the most unpredictable part of this race. It was supposed to be rainy and windy all day on us but it turned out to be hot and sunny for most of it. The last climb of the day brought the hard winds, rain, slick rocks and mud. Then the storm moved out and we had clear skies and stars to start the night. Bring what you need in your drop bags or on you for all weather conditions.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Even with the course changes it was still a pretty course. On a normal year, I can imagine it is stunning.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes, this is a difficult 100K. One of the hardest I have done. Early climbs leave you exhaust for later when you want to be running.

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

This was a well oiled machine. They had to change the course at the last minute.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

I don’t think there were any big pro-names out there, but the 90 people that finished before me all seemed strong to me! Most of the the competition is from CO or CA.

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.

It didn’t seem that difficult to get in. Town is small and offerings of hotel is limited, I imagine they sell out quickly but I booked 6 months in advance so had no issues. There seems to be lots of camping options/space. There were cool yurts at the State Forest State Park campground that looked cool and I definitely think they sell out quick.

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

Aid stations were well stocked and had just about everything anyone would need. Hot foods, soups, fresh fruits, standard array of junk food, chips, cookies and candy. Well managed and organized to get runners in and out. Volunteers even grabbed my drop bags as I was approaching and had it ready to hand to over as I came in.

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather can be anything. Just come prepared for it all and roll with the punches.

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

There was a required list of gear due to the events in China. Required Gear: Jacket (Wind/Waterproof Recommended), Warm Hat/Beanie/Buff, Gloves, Whistle, Reusable Cup, and Water Capacity of 32oz/1L.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yes, seemed to be 3-4 options for friends and family to easily see runners at aid-stations. The middle aid station did require spectators to hike a couple miles in, but others were able to drive to on dirt roads. The runners handbook does an excellent job explaining how and where spectators can be and easily get to.

How’s the Swag?

Meh, nothing special or out of norm. I got one discount code for v-fuel and a t-shirt. Wooden finishers plague if you finish.

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

I would give this race 4 out of 5 stars, and it might be 5 out of 5, if I had been able to run the more scenic course. If you love a challenge and are good with altitude and runnable terrain this race is for you.