Race: Stagecoach 100
Runner: Jayme H
Race Date: 09/21/2019
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/iCr4mJrjT0
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
- Buttery trail and all runnable
- Great community
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Lack of pre-race briefing the day prior. What I loved about the race and disliked about this race were essentially the same thing. It was all about the pure running experience and not about any sort of hype. There was no real place to ask questions of the race director or time to do it. Pre-race check-in was “here’s your bib, see ya tomorrow” sort of affair. And the pre-race orientation 5 minutes before the start was sort of like, “um we marked the course, stay on it, and we have awesome sponsors and volunteers”.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
I was the weird factor. I was scheming to get Jim Walmsley to sign my hat or something and ended up just having him draw numbers on my leg. It was awkward. Sorry dude, I’m sure you get weird shit from fans all the time.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
I really had minimal lows. The scenery, the buttery trail, the amazing aid stations, the people all kept me mostly on stoke mode the whole race. Running through awesome aspens in the first 50k made a third of the race pass by in a blink. Being wowed by an insane sun blasted high desert with Pinion Pine to Ponderosa to grasslands kept me occupied until sunset. Then moo cows sprinting across the sunset horizon brought me to night. I kept eating food nearly every 15-30 minutes. Drained nearly 2L of water between every aid station.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Not sure about the medical wisdom of this but I did take two doses of anti-diarrhea meds in the late evening and night to slow my bowel movements. After sundown I had 4-5 BM’s and feared it turning in to a “looser” experience. My last race the same thing had happened so I had pills in baggies at each drop bag location along with TUMs. Like my last race at Fat Dog 70 packing fresh shoes in 3-4 different drop-bag aid stations was key. Fresh shoes and socks and full change of clothing options kept my spirits high.
Ice-bandanas saved me kept me cool in the intense high-desert sun. Temps were moderate, in the 60s and 70s F, but the sun made it feel like 80-90 at times when there was no wind.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I was still spending too much time in some aid stations and not using my time there efficiently. I need to work on efficiency in early aid stations to buy time for later when I may want to rest more.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
The course is exposed. While trees occupy 60-70% of the terrain they are spaced out and I’d estimate the race route was only 30-40% shaded. The most exposure occurred during the highest most exposed part of the race between 9am and 2pm. In other words most runners will spend the warmest, highest parts of this race in the middle of the day.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
This race is a sleeper. It’ll be a classic, just nobody knows it yet.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
The terrain is easy. The exposure to sun, wind, and cold (at night) can be very easily underestimated. Dehydration and other exposure related issues make the run more difficult than it looks on paper.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
During the race, everything was expertly managed, professional, friendly, and awesome. Everything pre-race felt ad-hoc and unorganized. This is a race you need to come to well-prepared. The race guide is extremely thorough, the maps and turnbook on point. Study the maps and info in the guide and you’ll be fine. If you expect in-person help and beta at pre-race events prepare to be underprepared. Follow the race-guide directions to aid stations if you are crew. Google Maps can get you very lost on national forest roads.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Who knows, who cares? This is pure trail running event so far, and unlikely to stay that way given the cashe of the community that occupies Flagstaff. Olympic caliber runners of every type are everywhere you walk. Coconino cowboys fan-girls/boys are everywhere too 🙂
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.
Plenty of places to stay in the general area. Hotels book up everywhere because Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Sedona are all in high tourist season mode. Temps are cool, it’s still hot in PHX, so it’s weekend madness in the outdoors….meaning all the in-town tourist traps and chalk full of weekend warriors. Plenty of airBnB and the like everywhere. Running stores abound, REI has a foothold so you’re good if you forget stuff too.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Read the race guide for specifics. Standard ultra fare.
Weather and typical race conditions
Mild days and cold nights. 70s in the day. 30s at night. Race started at 28 degrees and clear. This is usually dry season for the region but monsoons can be crazy if they do form. Downpours, lightening, snow!, and actual tornadoes were all spotted in the region the day after the race ended. Your drop bags and/or crew should include lots of weather protection gear despite the likelihood of perfect conditions.
Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?
Poles are pointless. Don’t do it. I lugged the suckers for most of the race. I generally do like poles in most long mountain races. I wished frequently I didn’t bring them on this one.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Tons of public access points at approved crew stations. Rough forest service roads…AWD and high clearance vehicles are highly suggested.
How’s the Swag?
Nice cotton t-shirt. Not much. Terrible swag unless you finish the hundo under 31 hours. Then that buckle is AMAZING!!!! There’s enough metal there to melt down and sell to fund your next 10 ultra races.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
10/10. Hopefully the lack of consumer friendly pre-race hype keeps the McMansion elite euro UTMB worshipping wannabes from ever setting foot on Arizona soil. On the other hand the amount of beer being brewed by friendly locals is hard for anyone to resist. And I don’t even drink.
Thinking about running your first ultra? Check out our 7 steps towards your first ultra!