sun mountain 25k race reportRace: Sun Mountain 25k

Runner: Rohit E

Race Date: 05/20/2018

Location: Methow Valley, WA

Results: 3:54:50

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/1585482388

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

  1. Location: The Methow Valley in May is gorgeous.
  2. Moderate elevation in this race: About 2600-2700 ft total elevation gain, and mostly not too steep when there was elevation. 1000 ft in the first 3 miles, 500 in the middle, and a couple of hundred later.
  3. Course was well marked and aid stations were ok. Pizza at the finish area was excellent.

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

  1. Course was a bit longer than 25K, and different spots on the Rainshadow website had inconsistent information (one place said 15.5 miles and another said 16.1 miles). It ended up being 16.2 by my watch, which tends to do pretty well.
  2. I wish they had spent a few seconds talking about passing etiquette at the pre-race briefing. Most of the race is single-track trail, and there were a couple of stubborn folks who just wouldn’t move over until I asked repeatedly.

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

  1. I enjoyed the course, the weather, and just being out there for 4 hours.
  2. I hydrated and took in calories pretty well before and during the race.

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

  1. If you want to pass, you have to speak up and let the person in front know. Waiting for them to let you by will just waste time.
  2. After the Yakima Skyline a month ago (with a lot of elevation and steep sections), I was on the fence about using poles for this race, but was glad I didn’t in the end. Didn’t really need them and glad not to have carried the extra weight.
  3. My calves burned on the way up and my quads burned the day after due to the downhills. I need to work on conditioning these more.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Pass more aggressively.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Mostly single-track. Not very rocky, so you don’t need heavy duty trail shoes. Uphill and downhill sections are fairly gentle for the most part, there are some steep-ish sections getting into the Lodge Aid station and up Patterson Mountain, but never to the point where your feet are slipping or you have to scramble on hands and feet. The weather was slightly on the warm side (65 at start and touched 80 at some points), so the course was pretty dry. Some folks mentioned that there were a lot of bugs / mosquitoes out on the course the previous day (Saturday / 50K), so I slathered on some Deet before my race, but I didn’t perceive it as an issue on Sunday, perhaps because of the heat.

sun mountain 25k race report
Up the first climb

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Gorgeous, yes.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Pretty moderate.

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

Fairly well run, but could be a slightly tighter ship.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Not sure; not relevant to me at this point as I’m at the slow end.

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 sells out and there is a lottery.
  • Staying in Winthrop is a good choice if you’re coming from Seattle. Lots of good options there at reasonable prices.

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

Pretty standard. I only grabbed a PB&J mini-sandwich at each and a cup of Coke at the 2nd one, because I was carrying all my nutrition with me. I think they were supposed to have gels but I didn’t notice them. They had sad-looking banana sections and some orange slices.

Weather and typical race conditions

I would guess pretty good conditions most of the time, with occasional rain. Can be slightly warm, as it was this year.

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

Moderate trail shoes, don’t need heavy ones. Not too much elevation, so most folks shouldn’t need poles. The first half is pretty exposed, so sunglasses are good; the second half has more tree cover. Moderate amount of water; I would say 1 to 1.25 liters should be enough.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

I think the two aid stations are accessible by car.

How’s the Swag?

There is no swag that I know of. T-shirts are a bit pricey, at $45. The women’s t-shirts were a cool color (light blue), but the men’s were grey and I have way too many grey shirts.

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

I’d say 4 out of 5. It’s a great location, fairly well run, and a moderate course; but there are some little annoyances, which if fixed, would make this a 5/5. Having said that, I intend to enter the lottery again next year to do this race.