Race: Oregon Cascades 100
Runner: Coach Dandelion Dilluvio-Scott
Race Date: 08/27/2022
Location: Bend, OR
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- This race was mostly on single track! Plus, the sections of blacktop and dirt road were strategically thought out. The first two miles of the race are on blacktop which allows the racers to spread out and find their ideal place in the pack. This is followed by several miles of dirt road which allows the field to further disperse. By the time we reached single track there is enough space to avoid crowding and constant passing.
- Camaraderie! It was a truly diverse field of experience levels and we all supported each other out on the course. I enjoying chatting with the other racers and offering cheer to those having a rough moment. Admittedly, I was too exhausted to come up with new jokes or words of encouragement during the second half so I kept recycling the same phrases!
- Running the course (mostly) without support! I completed this race in 2021 with crew and pacers. This year I decided to attempt the distance without a dedicated team. Admittedly, this was partly due to both of my pacers deciding to run the race this year! However, I did purposefully choose to not seek alternate assistance as I wanted to challenge myself to run a 100 miler without crew/pacers. Full disclaimer, my friend/former pacer’s crew did fill my water bottles and retrieve my drop bags at aid stations. This was circumstantial though and I never counted on them to be at the aid stations upon my arrival. Being dominantly self-reliant during the 2022 edition of the Oregon Cascade 100 was a great learning opportunity and created a very different race experience than last year
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
- If I’m being petty maybe a few more sweeping vistas? At the same time, I enjoyed the protection of the trees when the sun was beaming high overhead.
- I also felt a great deal of loneliness during the race. I ran about 70% of the course alone including the entire portion after dark which was especially taxing
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
I can’t think of anything weird. It was coincidental that so many Team RunRun folks were on the course this year though!
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I was very happy with my self-motivation and mental acuity during this race. From miles 1-20 I felt absolutely excellent. After mile 20 I lived in the pain cave. My hamstrings and hip abductors ached and eventually my quads and right calf joined the party. Soon I also had a problem sucking down my gels and tailwind because my body decided that it didn’t like sweet things anymore. I did have ritz crackers for a salty option, but my stomach really craved savory which I did not have. Luckily, I could manage to get down my undesirable nutrition without throwing it up. I just felt a bit nauseous for about three minutes after consumption. I also began to feel some hints of self-doubt as the miles wore on. My race the previous year had gone near perfect. How come I was having so many problems on my second run when I was more experienced as a runner and on the course? Then, to top all of that off I found myself mostly running alone with only my thoughts for company after the 50k mark. However, despite so many things going wrong I always believed that it was temporary and I would come out of it. I thought that if I just kept moving forward things would eventually turn around and get better. They did! Around mile 80, when the sun began to rise on the second day of the race, I came out of my sixty-mile low point and felt mentally and physically strong all the way to the finish line.
Additionally, prior to the race I was most concerned about the night. I don’t historically have issues with sleep deprivation so long as I take caffeine. However, I was definitely in a bad mood throughout the night last year (just ask my pacer!). Therefore, I was concerned about maintaining positivity without a pacer to help guide my thoughts. Being alone in a bubble of light for hours on end makes it is easy to fall into a spiral of catastrophic thoughts. I did spend a great deal of time convincing myself prior to the race that the night portion would be a fun and exciting challenge. I also downloaded several episodes of KoopCast. My plan was to not only listen to the episodes after mid-night, but also stay engaged and absorb the information. It seems ridiculous, but these strategies worked! By the time the sun went down I was excited to navigate solo through the darkness and I vividly recall the episodes of KoopCast! I admittedly was still in a low point throughout the night, but I had control over it. I remained alert and engaged and I was able to successfully divert any negative thoughts that crossed my mind. For me it was the most exhilarating part of the race despite the loneliness.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
The trail is dusty so gaiters and shoes with a tighter weave are welcome. On the elevation topo it appears as though most of the climbing is completed during the first 60 miles, but beware the rolling and sometimes steep ups and downs that follow later in the race. You’ll feel those short hill climbs!
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
Last year my crew had a cooler of savory options like cold pizza and pasta. I think it was the lack of these options that caused my “sweets” flavor fatigue during this race. Crackers and mini muffins did not fill the void as I had hoped. In the future, when I do 100 milers without crew I will do some nutrition practice with traditional aid station savory options like “cup of noodles” to see if that will be a good option for me.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
- Many folks classify this race as technical. I found myself longing for more rocks and roots to make things more interesting. The lesson here is that the terrain difficulty is subjective. I think a skyrunner or runner with a mountaineering background would find the terrain tame. Others may not.
- Wear gaiters for the dust and choose shoes that have a tight weave fabric to prevent sand from leaking through.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
This was a mostly treed course, but that was great due to the copious sunshine. The most scenic section of the course is high ridgeline around mile 80 which is outstanding at sunrise!
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
With only 12k of climbing and well-groomed trails, I think is a very runnable course. I believe it is an “easy” 100 miler and good introduction to the distance! However, it is still a 100 miler and those are tough regardless!
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
I ran this race during its inaugural year and if felt like a 20-year-old race. Well-oiled machine then and still was this year!
Competition – Is there a strong field?
There were definitely fast times posted, but I don’t think this race has attracted many elites (at least not yet!). Many folks running this race were running their first 100.
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.
As of right now this is a pretty easy race to get into. There are no qualifiers to enter and slots were open when registration closed. This is surprising to me since the race is located in Bend which is known for outdoor adventures and the course is excellent. Additionally, Oregon Cascades 100 is now a Western States qualifier.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
The aid stations seemed standard to me, though I did not partake in anything except water. Volunteers were always available help with anything and everything!
Weather and typical race conditions
This course could potentially top out with temperatures in the high 90s in late August. The location of Bend and Sisters can also receive high levels of wildfire smoke. We got crazy lucky in 2022! The highs for the race were in the low 80s and there was no smoke whatsoever. Such conditions are not the norm in this region.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next runner?
- Though it may be warm/hot during the day be prepared for plummeting temperatures after dark! I spent half the night running with my puffy on!
- Be prepared for dust and wear gaiters as I said above. Also, breathing is dry, dusty air all day can make you lose your voice. Sucking candies are an excellent remedy.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Absolutely! Last year my crew was easily able to access all the aid stations without difficulty. They all commented on how easy it was to support me logically during the race. Additionally, the race ends on a High School Track was is very spectator friendly and reminiscent of Western States!
How’s the Swag?
Standard swag consisting of a shirt, stickers and a shiny belt buckle!
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
I registered for this race twice so yes, I recommend it! Though it’s not a very technical course it is still fun and fast! This is likely a great race to set a 100-mile PR. 10/10
Dandelion is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with her, check out her coach profile.