Hoka Bandera 25k Race Report – Frank Fisher

Race: Hoka Bandera Endurance Event 25k

Runner: Coach Frank Fisher

Race Date: 01/08/2023

Location: Bandera, TX

Results: 18th, 2:26:31

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8360705673/overview

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

It’s a super cool weekend with the 100k being a Golden Ticket race, so the vibes are fantastic! I really liked the course; challenging, technical but still fun and runnable. It’s fairly big for a trail race so lots of good competition close to home for me.

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

Parking was not great, but not the worst. Other than that, I didn’t have any issues.

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

We have this super fun plant here in central Texas called the sotol. It’s like if you sent an aloe plant to spend the summer in hell and it came back angry and dehydrated with lots of tiny razor sharp teeth. The course is covered in these plants, and they’re almost impossible to miss while you’re running. At the same time they don’t really hurt when you run through them, you’ll just have a these tiny little cuts on your legs at the end of the day.

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

This was more of a hard training run for me, so not an ‘A’ race. My goal was to have a good strong run and beat my legs up a bit, so in the words of GW, “Mission accomplished!” I managed my effort really well, stayed on top of nutrition and hydration and had a solid race start to finish. The climbs and descents were strong, I handled the technical portions well, and came out unscathed (besides aforementioned minor scratches). I also wanted to stick my nose in it a little earlier in the race and ‘race it’, which I did, just so happened to be a really fast year.

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

Don’t worry about the sotol. The climbs are punchy but short. Shoe choice is worth considering. You’ll want something with some heavier lugs and a rock plate, or lots of cushion to protect your feet. I did slip a fair bit, but lots of dry rocky sections with loose dirt, and also a good amount of bare rock on the downhills which can also be slick for some outsole compounds.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Arrive a little earlier for better parking. The course is tough, but not scary tough. It’s very runnable so don’t be afraid to attack the front section a little harder.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Lots of rocks, but if you stay focused and go it’s not as slow as it looks. The first 7.5 miles are the most technical and slower part of the course, which is also where most of the vert comes in as you go up and down 3 large hills. It gets fast after that till the last climb around mile 13.5 which is probably the steepest and rockiest climb of the whole course, but it’s super short and only takes a 1-2 minutes. It pitches down real quick to a short technical descent and then you can hammer home the last 1.5 miles.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes, this is a very pretty part of Texas. Quintessential Hill Country with a number of really nice views along the course.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes. If Courtney Dauwalter says it’s tough, I think it’s tough. Although it doesn’t have a ton of vert, the technicality and punchy ups and downs make it a challenge. The conditions can certainly add to it too.

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

Very well done! Tejas Trails kills it.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yes! Lots of super fast regional folks as well as out of state peeps. I was impressed with how fast this race was. My time would normally be top 10, so this was an extra fast year. It made it lots of fun though, and some tight racing all the way through.

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.

Easy to get into, but it is a big weekend event that’s in a remote part of Texas so not a lot of hotels/lodging near the race course. There is camping around the start line. San Antonio and Kerrville are also both around an hour drive.

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

The 50k goes on at the same time as the 25k on Sunday, so well stocked aid stations with lots of volunteers. I didn’t stop so not totally sure what’s there, but given the size of the event I would expect a good spread.

Weather and typical race conditions

It’s Texas in the “winter”… It could be 75* and 99% humidity with some showers like it was for the 100k on Saturday, or it could be 55* clear and sunny like it was the next day for us.

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

Other than shoes like I mentioned above, not really. Aids are close enough to not worry about having to carry a lot of water. Some people wore longer shorts or tights to protect their thighs from the sotol, but I don’t think it’s that bad.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yep. Really easy access for spectators. They do charge for non-racers to enter the state park, but the way the course is setup it’s easy to get around. Plenty of people cheering around the course.

How’s the Swag?

Nice long sleeve T-shirt. Cool awards for podium peeps, some sotol style sculptures, buckles for the 100k.

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

5 out of 5. Highly recommend the 25k for anyone looking for a good race in the winter. I think I’ll come back for the 50k next year. Of course, the 100k is a Golden Ticket race and Western States qualifier. Probably one of the better options to get the WS qualifier for those of in the Texas and southwest regions.

Frank Fisher is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coach profile.

Tejas Trails Cap’n Karl’s 20k Race Report – Ryan Sheehy

Race: Tejas Trails Cap’n Karl’s Reveille Peak Ranch 20k

Runner: Ryan Sheehy

Race Date: 08/27/2022

Location: Burnet, TX

Results: 3rd Place

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7712071346

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

  • The night time race is always a fun aspect, it gets you in a different environment under the headlamp.
  • REALLY REALLY well marked course, and even though it was at night and very twisty, I never felt lost at all.
  • The course was challenging but not brutal – running on a large granite dome can definitely put wear and tear on you.

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

  • There’s some pretty hard spots where the rocks are jagged and definitely led to some blistering on my feet.
  • It’s a bit off the beaten path.
  • The granite can be had on the body, and you go from loamy/sandy dirt to rock and back, so there’s no middle ground, it’s either super hard or super soft trail.

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

The granite dome is probably it. The footing is uneven and hard, and etched out from rain.

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

I really dialed in my nutrition on this race, where I planned ahead with my fuel and had it loaded and ready to go. I knew what I was going to eat, when I was going to eat it, and just stuck with the plan. I also really maintained a healthy hydration.

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

Don’t be afraid to share miles and tailgate someone else for a few miles. It leads to great conversation (if you’re willing or their willing to) and allows you to keep a healthy pace without feeling like you’re pushing it. It also passes the time well before the race starts to really crank up.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

This is a multi-lap race (2), and each one was 6 miles. Next time I run a similar distance lap race, I will likely have a second hydration vest packed and ready to go and just fast-swap out the packs.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The granite dome will get you! Just take it easy on it.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s quite dark when the race actually starts but the venue is beautiful.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I would rate this as a moderate course. Not too technical or heavy on incline. But the footing on the dome is hard to place and there’s plenty of rollers throughout the course.

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

Tejas Trails puts on some of the best races in the country (they host the Bandera 100k qualifier for WS100, and the Rocky Raccoon 100 (also a WS100 qualifier and UTMB qualifier). PJ the race director is a pro, but keeps it fun the whole time too.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

The field was a little light this time around (55 runners total) but the top 4 finished within 10 minutes of each other.

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.

Really easy to get in, the ranch is a fun place and plenty of parking and camping spots (primitive and hookups)

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather was BEAUTIFUL, after a brutal summer of 100 degree days (and early evenings) the starting temp of this one was 87 and only got cooler as the race went on. No rain, but some beautiful lightning off in the distance (a safe distance away)

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

There’s plenty to do at the start/finish line for spectators to hang out and enjoy.

How’s the Swag?

Solid medals, great shirts!

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

4.5 star. Definitely recommend it to experience a unique Texas environment (social, cultural and ecological).

Looking to run your first trail race? Check out our trail running coaches to get started!

Capt’n Karls Night Trail Race 20k – Frank Fisher

Race: Capt’n Karls Night Trail Races 20k

Runner: Coach Frank Fisher

Race Date: 06/25/2022

Location: Johnson City, TX

Results: 6th place 1:54:40

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/7369092782

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

I like the night race, that was a fun experience. Lots of stars once the sun went down. Pretty good turnout and a nice setup. Course marking was excellent and easy to see.

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

It was HOT! 96* at 8:30 PM. Very dusty, been a long time since we had some rain in these parts. The longer distance races were running opposite direction on the same trails and getting lights shined in your eyes is no fun.

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

Maybe not weird, but definitely a product of our horrible hot and dry summer, was the fine dust particles just hanging in the air. It was really thick in some places and made for some interesting visual effects with the headlamps going about.

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

Highlight #1, did not fall or twist an ankle! It’s a fairly rocky course and my headlamp is not the greatest, so staying upright was awesome. I paced it pretty well and beat my goal time coming in. I was able to pass a lot of people on the second loop and managed to keep my core temp under control despite the warm conditions. I did start to overheat towards the very end, but I dialed it back and reset my pace a little bit and that got me to the finish.

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

Be smart in the heat. Start conservative and make sure you are well hydrated before you get to the start line. Keep drinking throughout the race and have some sort of cooling strategy ready. Be aware you will likely be slower if you’re not used to running in high temps. Good lights make a big difference on this course. There’s quite a few rocky and rutted sections that you will want to be able to see well once it gets dark.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I thought I could get away with my current headlamp, but I will have to get something more substantial for future races. Other peoples’ super bright lights were casting shadows over me and my little headlamp, which made it a lot harder to see what was in front of my feet.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s rocky and rutted in places. Even though it’s a fast course as far as trail races go, it’s easy to get caught by some loose sharp rocks. I saw quite a few people eat it and/or turn ankles. Be ready for it to still be warm even with a late start.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Typical Texas hill country, although it would normally be greener at this time of year, it’s a pretty area. Not a lot of views on this course, but once the sun goes down the stars are amazing!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

No, not a tough course at all. Potentially a very fast course. Uphills are very modest and downhills are gradual so you can really rip it. The hardest thing for me was the heat.

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

Well run. Tejas Trails put together an excellent race. Course was well marked, very smooth packet pick up, plenty of port-o-potties, race results posted quickly.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Much larger race than anticipated with some good runners. There are several different distances racing at the same time so it gets a little hard to tell who you’re racing against, but I thought there were plenty of good runners to keep you working hard.

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.

Easy to sign up for. Not too far out of town so an easy drive. Camping and day pass comes with registration so you can camp out after the race if you like. Plenty of parking. Great race for locals.

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

Seemed like standard fair. Only one aid on the 10k loop, and I’m not totally sure what was there since I didn’t stop on either of my two loops, but the start/finish aid was well stocked. Tailwind and water, oranges, cookies, chips, all the good stuff.

Weather and typical race conditions

Normally a little bit cooler this time of year. This just happened to be one of the hotter days we’ve had in this La Nina summer of hell. I think 104 was the daytime high, and as mentioned…around 96 at race start. I would think normal race conditions would be mid 80’s.

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

Good lights, plenty of water and a cup for aid stations (cupless race).

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Yep. Very easy to get around the course. Plenty of stuff going on at the start/finish, and a kids race (my girls were upset that I did not take them once they found out there was a kids race). Food trucks and beer also, nice chill atmosphere with plenty of people hanging around.

How’s the Swag?

Pretty medal. Not much else.

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

I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Well run event, kind of pricey for what it is. Not the most challenging or aesthetically beautiful course, but it’s what we got. Great event to get some miles in, distances all the way up to 60k. Solid local race.

Frank is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with him, check out his coaching page.

bandera 100k race report

Bandera 100k Race Report – Ricke Harris

Race: Hoka Bandera 100K

Runner: Ricke Harris

Race Date: 01/09/2021

Location: Bandera, TX

Results: 15:17:15

Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/Lm0OWzDcedb

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

  1. COURSE – The beautiful vistas and challenging terrain. Two loops with a lot of rocks and steep climbs with sotol cactus plants growing in the most inconvenient places make this two-loop course a very rewarding sucker-punch you’ll want to do again!
  2. SUPPORT/ORGANIZATION – The race volunteers are all super awesome. I wanted to hug the guy making pancakes and bacon – but that would have been awkward and, you know…the virus. Even with the challenge of racing in a pandemic, this event was super-organized.
  3. VALUE – Tejas Trails runs an early-bird special if you can get on to their mailing list. Travelling to Texas and planning/paying for the supporting logistics can run up the bills. But having a chance for a deep discount on your race registration is a big help. Even at full price, though, you won’t be disappointed.

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

Okay, this is not really a negative this year. But, the topic of aid station water was a negative for me at this race last year so I’ll address it here. There is no water available at the Hill Country State Natural Area, where the race is ran. The RD has to bring in all his water for the aid stations and this is provided by a race sponsor (Crazy Water). This is an interesting spring water with minerals and (I think) electrolytes that are supposedly naturally-occurring when it is pumped out of the ground (I’m not sure about anything I just said and I hope I don’t get in trouble for using a band name here 😉 – I suggest you Google it). But, last year it was a negative because it tasted weird when all I wanted was just cold water. But, it didn’t bother me at all this year. What made the difference? Simply put, I expected it. I didn’t mix my own Tailwind so sweet and took more of the Tailwind offered at the aid station. I think because I both expected it AND I didn’t have the juxtaposition of an overly sweet beverage in my second water bottle, I really didn’t notice it that much. In fact, I went through a full bottle of it in between each aid station with no issues. So, just consider this if you run the race.

bandera 100k race report

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

Dude… a bunch of people are running two 50K loops through rough terrain with plants that leave hundreds of tiny paper cuts on your legs and are loving it. THAT’S WEIRD!

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

  • PR!!!! Thanks Coach Erin!!!!
  • A conservative first loop.
  • Hiked any climb that I had to raise my head above normal running posture to see the top.
  • Held back on the descents to save my quads. Didn’t bomb the downhills. Okay, I did bomb one of them… sorry coach… but you DID tell me to “have fun”! 😉
  • Considering my nutrition and resupply needs before arriving at the aid station so I could get in and out with very little wasted time. I went a little long at a few aid stations later on, but most stops were well below my planned aid station turnaround time. The average time at aid stations was still faster than my plan.
  • Compared to last year, didn’t have to power hike until much later in the race. Focusing on good form and taking it bit by bit kept the speed of advance better than last year.

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

  • Of course, don’t forget to SMILE, even when you don’t feel like it. Your face will tell your brain what to think even when your brain thinks its down in the dumps.
  • Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to tweak it mid race for the right reasons. I like to have an A, B, and C goal. A – aiming for the moon. B – what I think I can do. C – what I feel would define, for me, not wimping out. A plan never survives first contact with the enemy, but you need to have something to help shape the point from which you deviate when you have to problem-solve an issue or to let you know when you’re either smoking the course or about to run the wheels off. Don’t let “the plan” get in the way of having fun, though.
  • Set your watch to beep every mile and take a drink when it does.
  • Salt

bandera 100k race reportLessons you learned that will help you next time around

Unlike last year, I didn’t include salt tabs as part of my nutrition plan. I honestly don’t know why I blew that off – maybe because I didn’t use them as much in training. In the second loop, I noticed that I only wanted Pringles and pickles at the aid stations. It occurred to me that I needed salt (duh). The temp at the start was in the 30’s, so dehydration was insidious. Next year, I’m packing salt tabs.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Very hilly and rocky. Consider shoes with a rock plate or enough stack height to protect your feet. Make sure your shoes perform well in descents; jamming your toes around in too large of a toe box will leave your toenails behind. First year I ran, I used Altra Lone Peaks. Still love them and they did great, but the two box was just a bit sloppy for me (and my toenails). This year, I ran in Altra Timps. Also love them and they did great as well. No rock plate and the tread is a little less aggressive than my Lone Peaks, but the shoe grabbed my foot well while still giving my toes room to splay. No blisters and I still have my toenails. Everyone’s foot is different; this is just my own experience.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Beautiful course!!! Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the views (unless, of course, you’re shooting for a WSER golden ticket or are on the cusp of a cut-off!

Difficulty – Is Bandera 100k a tough course?

YEP!

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

YEP!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

It’s a Hoka WSER golden ticket race and any finishers less than 17 hours earn a lottery entry to the WSER. So, there is plenty of competition if you’re looking for it. But there are plenty of first-time 100K-ers as well (even a few first time ultra runners!).

bandera 100k race report

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.

All the information is available on the Tejas Trails website. I didn’t have trouble finding a hotel within a month of the race. Last year I stayed in Hondo (not much there but closer to the race). This year I stayed NW of San Antonio in Boerne (much more there but plan on nearly an hour to the start). There are hotels in Bandera, which is the closest you can get without camping; Bandera is a small town venue. There is also primitive tent camping and RV camping at the start.

bandera 100k race report

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

Listed on the website. Tailwind and Crazy Water for hydration. Typical fare including cookies, chips, candy. Most aid stations also had pickles. A few had S-caps. Every other had either broth, ramen, quesadillas, etc. (or several).

Weather and typical race conditions

Last two years were cool (30s/40s) at the start and 50s during the day. Put a shell on after sunset and that worked for me.

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

If you’re a hiker tend to spend longer on a course like me, learn to use poles. They may save your face on some of the descents after dark when you’re tired.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Most aid stations have road access for crew and friends.

How’s the Swag?

Quality shirt and NICE buckle!

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

5 out of 5 stars

Looking to run your first ultra? Check out our 7 Steps Towards Running your First Ultra!

Bandera 100K Race Report – Rick H

Race: Bandera 100K

Runner: Rick H

Race Date: 01/11/2020

Location: Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, TX

Results: 15:54:31

Strava Activity Link:  https://www.strava.com/activities/3004736853

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

  • Challenging course.
  • Beautiful landscape.
  • Positive volunteers and well-supported.

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

  • Due to a new course change, the course map and elevation profile was hard to interpret pre-race.
  • No plain water. Since there is no water available in the state natural area, it had to be brought in. Each aid station had a choice of soda or tailwind, but the only water was a mineral water provide by a race sponsor. The flavor of the water started to make me feel sick to my stomach around mile 40.

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

Maybe not weird, but I saw Billy Yang filming at the start. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that he probably wasn’t there to see me. But you bet I’ll be looking for his Bandera 2020 video!

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

I ran my own race. The first couple miles were crowded as everyone got compressed into the single track quickly. But, staying patient paid off as I was able to maintain a steady pace for the first lap to make it through the first loop 30-minutes ahead of my A-goal. I stayed efficient at aid stations and didn’t linger unless I had something to do; this gave me more time to work through the course.

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

  • Run your own race; not someone else’s.
  • If you’re not actually taking aid at an aid station – leave.
  • Travel light and use your drop bags; there’s no use carrying gloves all day when you won’t need them until after nightfall.
  • Stay positive – whenever you think of or hear someone say something negative, turn it into something positive; instead of, “there’s a monster climb ahead”, remind yourself, “it will feel AWESOME to conquer that next monster climb.”
  • SMILE. It actually makes you feel better.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • Cross train/train for climbing
  • More real food. Less gels.
  • Mt. Dew comes straight from heaven. So does bacon.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

  • VERY rocky. Have sturdy footwear. I ran in Altra Lone Peaks which incorporate a rock plate in the sole and has deeper tread lugs than my other favorite (Topo Runventure).
  • Wear calf sleeves or high compression socks; if not for the compression, then to protect against the sotol cactus leaves cutting your legs up. You CAN’T avoid the sotol.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

BEAUTIFUL!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It depends on your background. For a flatlander from Florida like me, it was very challenging. For someone who is used to vert, it may be somewhat middle-of-the road.

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 very well-run race.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Its a Western States qualifier… ’nuff said. 😉

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.

Everything is available on the website.

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

If you want water that doesn’t taste like minerals, bring your own. The tailwind does well to cover up the flavor, though. Everything else was standard with the addition of bacon, quesadillas, and hot ramen in the evening.

Weather and typical race conditions

2020 was nearly perfect. Mid-40s gave way to a clear blue sky in the mid-60’s. A lot of the course had at least some shade except for when the sun was directly overhead, which was helpful. Mid-30’s that evening was cold when not moving, though.

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

My poles proved invaluable for the last 20 miles. They saved me from a couple near-falls on the descents after nightfall when my legs were spent.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

All aid stations can be reached by car.

How’s the Swag?

Awesome buckle and comfy long sleeved shirt.

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

5/5 stars. Highly recommend the experience. If you’re not up for 100K, there are shorter options

rocky raccoon 100

Rocky Raccoon 100 Race Report – Alan V

Race: Rocky Raccoon 100

Runner: Alan V

Race Date: 02/02/2019

Location: Huntsville State Park, TX

Result: 36th- in 22hr 19min

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2121133949

rocky raccoon 100

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

  1. It was pretty close to home. Last year I think I traveled out of state for all but one.
  2. The entire course is runnable and covered. You can run the whole thing, no big climbs or downhills.
  3. Seeing some familiar faces and the volunteers. Everyone was super nice and helped me out.

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

  1. The entire course is runnable. You can outrun yourself early on and be walking a lot. It’s good and bad at the same time.
  2. The mud and roots. My feet took a beating from these two. I changed socks on every loop and they would be steaming like crazy. I also kicked roots and cursed.
  3. Humidity. It felt like it was about to rain most of the day and night. It did rain a few miles up the road. It only got up to 65 but I did sweat a whole lot. Some people where shivering uncontrollably at night when the temps dropped.

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

It’s not rocky like the name says. Petition to change it to Rooty raccoon!

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

Finishing…I’ve had trouble finishing a 100 so this one felt good. Also, I kept my stomach together the whole time.

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

Look out for roots and check the weather. There are some speedsters that usually show up so run at your pace.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Take it easier the first loop to finish better. Also, I changed my shoes the last loop which I shouldn’t have; my Nike kigers were doing so well all day with no issues but I wanted to have dry feet and that led to some nasty blisters.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

It’s fast and rooty. It’s four 25 mile loops so you’ll be able to see your crew a lot and get an idea of how far things are.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yeah, but it all kinda looks the same.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Yes, most people get hurt by the roots and fall, and you can outrun yourself. There were a few huge mud puddles that were ankle deep.

rocky raccoon 100

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

Yup, Tejas Trails has their shit together and always puts on top notch events.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Yeah there are always a few speedsters every year. Usually the winner is around 12:30-14:00.

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.

Nope, you could sign up last minute and get a hotel with no problem.

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

Pretty standard stuff you’d expect.

Weather and typical race conditions

You can’t predict Texas weather. It could be hot or cold or both

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

Depending on the weather,

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

People mainly stay at the aid stations.

How’s the Swag?

The shirt is nice. The buckle is cool too.

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

5/5. I’ do it again.

rocky raccoon 100

bandera 100k race report

Bandera 100k Race Report – Olin Berger

Race: Bandera 100k

Runner: Olin Berger

Race Date: 01/05/2019

Location: Camp Eagle, Texas

Results: 13 OA, 9:59:51

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2062630903

bandera 100k race report

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

  1. Set in beautiful hill country
  2. Great course markings and use of a small space for a big race
  3. Great support from RD’s and volunteers

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

Felt like 80% of the course was on rocks or hard pack. The feet took a pounding.

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

Nothing much out of the ordinary here.

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

Not a great race for me. I tried to enjoy the scenery and learn lessons for the next one.

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

  • Respect the course. I thought the minimal (in relation to many other ultras of the same distance) elevation would make Bandera much easier. But you still feel the climbs at the end and the hard pack and rocks really wear on you.
  • It’s January, but it still gets hot in TX, especially if you’re used to running in temperate climates.
  • An extra pair of shoes can be a big help. Just as a comfort for the feet or to switch to in case of a blow out.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

  • No matter how good you feel coming in, it’s going to feel bad at the end, be prepared.
  • Pacers can help you push yourself harder than you might on your own. Try to learn how to do the same without one.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Learn to run on rocks.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

  • Yes, beautiful Texas hill country. The course fits in a good amount of scenery in a small space.*
  • * – 2019 not run on the normal Bandera 100k course

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Coming into the race, I’d say no, especially in comparison to other courses with more elevation and/or technicality. But, at the end of the race, I’d tell you it’s plenty difficult.

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

Impressively well put-together, especially considering the very last minute venue change.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Very much so. Being a Golden Ticket race for Western States brings out the speed.

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.

Texas is big and races there can hold a lot of runners, so getting into the race is fairly easy. But the location is somewhat remote, so you’re either camping onsite or in for a longish drive the morning of the race.

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

Standard

bandera 100k race report

Weather and typical race conditions

Freezing in the morning, pretty hot (esp coming from Seattle in January) in the day, and back to cold as the sun starts to set.

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

Shoes that can protect you from pounding on rocks all day.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Absolutely. The course loops through most aid stations multiple times and the aid stations are a short distance (not via the course route) from each other.

How’s the Swag?

Standard. They go big for the top prizes though.

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

It was certainly a different course than my standard and would be a good entry ultra given the lack of technicality. But it’s way out there in Texas, so you either have to really want to get to this particular race or have it be part of a larger trip.

rocky raccoon 100 matt urbanski

Rocky Raccoon 50M/100M Race Info

Summary: Rocky Raccoon 50M and 100M are popular trail races for beginners looking to complete their first ultras or veterans looking for a PR in either distance. All runnable trails on soft pine needles, wooden bridges and minimally technical, yet sometimes rooty terrain, with minimal elevation change. Loop course with generous cutoffs, and includes a 100k on the day of the 100m and a 50k on the same day as the 50M. In 2016 the course was adjusted to accommodate construction, and in 2018 was changed from 20 mile loops to 25 mile loops because of damage from Hurricane Harvey.

Race Details

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • It’s more rooty raccoon than it is rocky, with tons of roots to stub your toes on and trip over, and the later into the race, the more likely you are to trip on them. Pick up your feet, know that you’ll stop picking them up as well as the race progresses, and stay positive in spite of stubbing your toes along the way.
  • Not a hilly course, but not many flat sections. Constantly rolling along and the small rollers feel like big hills by the end.
  • With it being a loop course that you repeat 4 times (2 for the 50), this has its benefits of learning the course and knowing what’s coming, but also the mental challenge of taking on the exact same loop several times.
  • Weather is incredibly unpredictable, as previous years have seen freezing temps, snow, torrential downpours, heat and humidity, and everything in between, even as the race progresses. Have drop bags and/or crew with lots of different clothing, gear, and fueling options to adjust with the weather.
  • Have a good headlamp – you will start in the dark and nearly every runner will run several hours or more in the dark, so have a good headlamp to see all the roots to trip over.
  • Make sure crew has chairs to sit on at Dogwood; otherwise they have to sit on the ground. A tarp will work too.
  • Some sections of forest roads along the park border, which are more runnable. If it’s been particularly wet, this can be a muddy mess, and if it’s been particularly dry, it can be a sandy, dusty mess. Again, weather plays a big factor in this race.
  • If it’s wet, the mud can be more like clay, which gets very slick
  • The first loop will be the most crowded, then it thins out and it’s nice to see people on the out and back portions
  • This is a CUPLESS Race! No cups given for cold food/drink (cups given for hot food/drink at night). You are required to stay at the aid station with any paper and/or styrofoam cups/bowls and risk being DQ’d if you leave the aid station with them.
  • There is a $5 park fee to be paid upon entrance to the park for anyone over 12.
  • No dogs allowed on course or at any aid station.

Elevation

Total gain/loss: ~11,128 (100M), ~5,564 (50M)

Ft/mile gain: ~111

Total climbs: Countless rollers per loop, anywhere from 20-80 feet with a couple of 100 foot climbs

Elevation profile / Course Map

 

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 7 per loop – Dogwood (start/finish), Nature Center, Gate, Damnation, Far Side (water and gels only), Damnation (again), Nature Center (again)

Furthest distance apart: 4.27 (100M), 4.27 (50M)

Locations:

100M:  3.78, 6.5, 9.5, 14, 18.3, 21.3, 25.1

50M: 3.78, 6.5, 9.5, 14, 18.3, 21.3, 25.1

What’s available: Typical aid station fare plus Tailwind, Vfuel gels, and Saltstick. Depending on the weather, cold stuff when it’s extra hot and hot stuff when it’s cold. Not all aid stations will have the same foods. There will be meat & vegetarian options with no claims to gluten free or vegan needs.

Crew access

Access at all locations. No parking at Gate, Nature Center, Damnation, or Far Side. No tents at the Start/Finish, but pop up shelters allowed.

Link to list:

100M – https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55a8251be4b08d94f1f6db9d/t/5b22c759aa4a99c446cf459a/1529005914144/A.S.+Chart+RR100+2019.pdf

50M –

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55a8251be4b08d94f1f6db9d/t/5b22c858f950b7dfe1891aaf/1529006168642/A.S.+Chart+Rocky+50+2019.pdf

Crew instructions/directions: Best places to crew are at Dogwood (Start/Finish) and Nature Center. There is one road in and out of the park, Park Road, and the distance from Dogwood to Nature Center is about 1 mile. No parking at Nature Center, so it’s best to walk/run/bike, as you have plenty of time to get between the two aid stations.

Pacers

100M – Allowed to start from any aid station after 50 miles. Only one pacer at a time, no muling, if age 60+ you can have a pacer the entire race

50M – Allowed to start from any aid station after dark. Only one pacer at a time, no muling.

Race qualifiers

100 miler is a Western States qualifier

100 miler is 5 UTMB points

Race reports

Alan V’s 2019 100m race report

Stephen D’s 2018 100m race report

Matt U’s 2017 100m race report

Julie U’s 2017 50m race report

http://hotrockhoppers.com/2018/02/rocky-raccoon-2018-race-report-by-eric-lamkin/

http://www.irunfar.com/2014/02/matt-layes-2014-rocky-raccoon-100-race-report.html

http://sharmanian.blogspot.com/2015/02/rocky-raccoon-100-usatf-national.html

http://sharmanian.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-to-train-fora-flatter-100-miler.html

 

Strava activities and GPX files

100M

https://www.strava.com/activities/1431259790/overview

https://www.strava.com/activities/1393767741/overview

 

50M

https://www.strava.com/activities/1401501310/overview

 

Race Website

http://www.tejastrails.com/rocky100/

http://www.tejastrails.com/#/rocky50/

 

100 Mile race document

50 Mile race document

Bandera 100k Race Reports and Info

Summary: Taking place in the self-proclaimed, “Cowboy Capital of the US,” the Bandera 100k always brings a fast crowd because it’s a Western States Golden Ticket Race. The most often mentioned feature of the race is the plant life along the trail, which promises to bite, scratch, and sting. The terrain is varied, with few switchbacks and lots of short, steep, climbs and descents, along with rocks and plenty of runnable trails along the way. The 100k distance runs two 50k loops and there is a 50k and 25k race as well.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Cupless event so make sure you have your own cup/water bottle, but they will have cups for hot food
  • TX winter weather is incredibly unpredictable – bring several clothing options no matter what the forecast says leading up to it
  • In more years than not, race reports talk about it being cold, at least in the morning and evening
  • There is an out and back section early on, so be prepared to pass runners going the other way, particularly the faster folk out front, as this race draws fast runners
  • Climbs are short and steep, many with loose rocks, so have good shoes and be patient
  • You run through some deep trenches (3-4 feet), so a bit different compared to other trail races
  • The Enchanted Forest looks cool in pics, but it also looks difficult with the shadows that the leafless trees cast on the ground – be careful with footing, especially since there are lots of rocks
  • You can hear the finish line when you still have one more climb left, so be prepared for that and not discouraged with it happens (twice!)
  • Rocks, rocks, rocks. If you stop paying attention, you will likely clip a toe and fall!
  • TONS of intersections, so know the course, know what markings to look for, and pay attention and don’t just follow who is ahead of you.
  • Lots of sunshine and exposure on the course – wear a hat and sunglasses
  • First 5 miles and last 5 miles of each loop are some of the hardest sections due to climbing
  • Patience is huge with a two lap course – lots of people don’t leave anything for lap #2
  • The trails are still quite technical even though they are runnable, and the climbs are short, steep pop ups, but they wear you down
  • Consider wearing knee-high compression socks or long pants if it’s cold or because of the sotol cactus plants alongside the trail
  • That being said, the sotol is fairly hard to avoid, so embrace the pain!
  • You can go from super techy to suddenly very fast and flowy, so being able to transition gears is big.
  • Compared to 2016, the current course is about 1.8 miles longer with an extra 1500 feet of vert, so expect some slightly slower times.

Elevation

Total gain/loss: 6500,6500 (estimate based on several Strava activities)

Ft/mile gain: 104.8

Total climbs: N/A, the entire thing is rolling with gains anywhere from 50-350 feet at a time, but they feel relentless

Course Map/Elevation profile (Old elevation profile with new one still in the works, but still similar to the current course)

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 11 plus start/finish

Furthest distance apart: 6.58 miles (twice)

Locations: Miles 4.7, 11.3, 16.3, 22.2, 26.5, 31.4 (start/finish), 36, 42.6, 47.6, 53.6, 57.8

What’s available: In addition to typical aid station fare of salty and sweet foods, they offer Tailwind and Saltstick. See this page for more info on what’s typically available and special foods for hot/cold weather.

Aid Station Chart

Crew access

Access Locations: All aid stations, though parking is only available at the Lodge, which is the start/finish and halfway point. No vehicles at other aid stations; walk, bike or run there.

Crew instructions/directions: See Hill Country State Natural Area Map

Pacers

Allowed after runners complete one 50k loop

Race qualifiers

Western States Golden Ticket Race

Western States qualifier (under 17 hours)

Race reports

Hoka Bandera 25k Race Report – Frank Fisher

Race: Hoka Bandera Endurance Event 25k Runner: Coach Frank FisherRace Date: 01/08/2023 Location: Bandera, TX Results: 18th, 2:26:31 Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/8360705673/overview 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? It's a super cool weekend with the 100k being a Golden Ticket race, so the ...
bandera 100k race report

Bandera 100k Race Report – Ricke Harris

Race: Hoka Bandera 100K Runner: Ricke Harris Race Date: 01/09/2021 Location: Bandera, TX Results: 15:17:15 Strava Activity Link: https://strava.app.link/Lm0OWzDcedb 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? COURSE - The beautiful vistas and challenging terrain. Two loops with a lot of rocks and steep climbs ...

Bandera 100K Race Report – Rick H

Race: Bandera 100K Runner: Rick H Race Date: 01/11/2020 Location: Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, TX Results: 15:54:31 Strava Activity Link:  https://www.strava.com/activities/3004736853 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? Challenging course. Beautiful landscape. Positive volunteers and well-supported. Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t ...
bandera 100k race report

Bandera 100k Race Report – Olin Berger

Race: Bandera 100k Runner: Olin Berger Race Date: 01/05/2019 Location: Camp Eagle, Texas Results: 13 OA, 9:59:51 Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2062630903 3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most? Set in beautiful hill country Great course markings and use of a small space for a ...

Strava activities and GPX files

https://www.strava.com/activities/1344423001

Race Website

https://www.tejastrails.com/#/bandera/

Thinking about running an ultra? Check out our 7 steps to get started!

Rocky Raccoon 100 race report

Rocky Raccoon 100 Race Report – Stephen D

Texas weather is unpredictable. It was dry for this race all of about 2 hours. After that – it rained hard, then just sprinkled for 4 hours, rained hard again, sprinkled some more, got foggy, then sprinkled some more. I saw some of the gnarliest falls – from trips and falls. First mile this old guy tripped, broke his glasses, and tore up his elbow. Saw the same guy later in the race do a Charlie Brown fall when Lucy pulls the football away. The Dude’s feet went up over his head, it was awesome – but only because it wasn’t me and he didn’t get terribly hurt…

Rocky Raccoon 100 race reportRace: Rocky Raccoon 100

Runner: Stephen D

Date: 2/3/18

Location: Huntsville, TX

Results: 28:38:5

3 Bests:

  1. Texas people are very nice people. And they have their crap together. It made everything really fun and entertaining.  
  2. The trails are actually pretty nice trails, they are soft, covered in roots and very runnable.
  3. Because you do the loop multiple times –
    1. You know exactly how far you have to go
    2. You know when you are getting close to an aid station
    3. You know when you are getting close to finishing a climb or descent
    4. You know when you are getting close to the finish itself
    5. You can have a planned pace and easily check your pace throughout the race
    6. You actually get a firsthand glimpse into what is happening at the front of the race since they will come flying back by you (multiple times)!
    7. BONUS: if you see a root that looks like a snake – after the 3rd time you are freaked out by it, you might (and I say might – since late in the race you might hallucinate a snake) realize that stupid root you’ve seen 6 times now is NOT really a snake.

Not so much:

  1. Texas weather is unpredictable. It was dry for this race all of about 2 hours. After that – it rained hard, then just sprinkled for 4 hours, rained hard again, sprinkled some more, got foggy, then sprinkled some more. I saw some of the gnarliest falls – from trips and falls. First mile this old guy tripped, broke his glasses, and tore up his elbow. Saw the same guy later in the race do a Charlie Brown fall when Lucy pulls the football away. The Dude’s feet went up over his head, it was awesome – but only because it wasn’t me and he didn’t get terribly hurt…
  2. The mud or more so, the clay. I personally love wet and environmentally demanding races, but didn’t seem to manage well here. It was so freaking slippery. Water on dirt is fine, unless that dirt is clay. I’d  say 2/3rd of the route we ran this year was covered in clay type dirt and it was very very slippery. So slippery in fact that I tore my calf muscle due to slipping going up a small incline.
  3. As I ran the first mile I said to myself – these roots aren’t so bad, then I saw that old guy go down, then in a matter of 20 more minutes watched multiple more people trip all over the place. I got really worried that would be me later in the race. Luckily I was relegated to a crawl with my busted ass calf so didn’t get the opportunity to actually run much past mile 65 but if I had, I am sure the roots would have been calling my name. Tripping sucks, and I saw plenty of bloody knees and elbows to know that I don’t want to trip.

Weirdest thing:

  1. There are some seriously impressive people that run these races. It was great to see a very large assortment of people running. There was a 14 year old kid, an 82 year old man, large people, small people etc. Sometimes I would see people that were absolutely crushing the race, and I would continuously ask how the heck they were so fast! At the same time, I know a lot can happen in a hundred and any given day people can have a race of their lives or a tough outing. That is what makes these races interesting. Anyone that has the guts to step out on a race course is simply an awesome person regardless –even when they are faster than me
  2. Other thing I saw was people taking naps at aid stations. Hadn’t seen that before, and I wanted to but didn’t.

Highlights

  1. Seeing the race develop, it was inspiring to see the leaders come back at me each time on the loops, some of them are very intense
  2. Running with my buddy Dan. I had a great time, and they provided the exact amount of motivation I needed to keep me going, without ever going back into the Demon cave (I was in the pain cave from mile 65 on).
  3. Running my second 100 miler and completing it as well as getting to see Dan finish his first 100 miler.
  4. Having my dad not have to worry about logistics. He knew where to go each time, since it was the same!
  5. I did take my lessons learned from my last race and executed them well.
  6. Seeing 2 sun rises is fun, but they weren’t true sun rises since it was more cloudy and rainy.

Lessons for next time

  1. I think I will plan on having my feet taped before the race ever starts. My pinky toes, my insteps and my heels. For whatever reason I can run 50 milers and 100k’s no problem, but with 100 miles I get blisters. Having your feet taped mid race eats up time.
  2. I would have liked to not have pulled my calf. Not sure how to prevent that though… Stupid calf.
    1. The only thing I can think of is not running two 100 mile races within 3-4 months.
  3. I feel like I started well, I was perfectly on the pace I wanted to be on. I think I hit 50 miles at almost 11 hours perfectly. If it weren’t for my calf, I was really happy with my performance until that point. Plus I finished, and to me that meant a lot. My dad told me at one point, you can go home and people will say “yeah a torn calf –that sucks, stopping makes sense” or “DANG! You finished 100 miles with a torn calf!?” Not sure if that was stupid or not, but darn it my dad has a way of motivating me to keep going…
  4. The other thing is that there are a TON of people that run this race. The first loop was extra crowded because the volume of people. Just be patient, it thins out pretty quick.

Most Important Course specific knowledge

  1. Don’t go out too fast unless you are Matt Urbanski. It’s easy to do. Don’t do it.
  2. They say the roots come out at night. To hell with that! They are out all day long. All day, all night. They don’t go away. Even when I had been relegated to a walk they were still there, making you look down constantly. Just waiting to take one of your toenails off, or worse take you down to the ground.
  3. Keep your attention on the trail, and what I mean by this, is don’t turn your head around to look back and try to keep running. I saw more people trip or slip this way. It is silly and an easy way to get hurt.
  4. Fix small issues early. If you have a rock in your shoe. Stop and take it out, don’t let it manifest and cause bigger problems later. I did wear gaiters which I would recommend.
  5. If you have Verizon, cell coverage is actually pretty good. My buddy Dan ran with his Garmin and its live tracking feature told my dad and Dan’s parents exactly where we were at all times. That was pretty slick and made things really convenient for them. It was great.
  6. This year we did a weird loop that was not the normal course, but the out and back for the 3rd aid station was a turn around point. It only had gels and water, so if you plan on needing more food or calories, pack extra when leaving Damnation.
  7. ALWAYS check in with the aid station to make sure your number was captured. There was some drama of someone cheating because their number didn’t get captured. He was actually DQ’d. So just make sure someone gets your number at each aid station and everything is good.

Aesthetics

  1. Yes this is sort of a pretty course. It had some nice features like running by a lake. BUT, compare this to something like Whistler Alpine Meadows, then this race is lacking. The big draw is the speed, convenience, and ease of crewing

Difficulty

  1. This is not a super easy course for three reasons (they say this is a great beginner 100 miler, and I tend to agree mostly due to the atmosphere this race provides).
    1. There is NOTHING easy about 100 miles. Period. I don’t care if it were bone flat, 100 miles is a long friggin distance!
    2. The unpredicatability of the race
      1. Getting wet, cold, frozen, overheated, dehydrated are all potential issues. It all depends on the weather
    3. The trail
      1. Roots – need I say more. These aren’t your normal roots, these are big ass roots. WA trails have some roots, but the saying that everything is bigger in Texas fully applies here.
      2. The trails were never really conducive to getting some good speed going. There was not really a place where I felt like I could easily get a flow going. There are lots of turns and no real straightaways. If there were, unfortunately they were so muddy we could hardly get anything going on them.

Organized and well run

  1. Very well run. Tejas trails has got this race so well-greased, it was amazing, they had so much food, water, drinks, aid station help, and folks providing the most amazing aid it was fantastic!
    1. They even had feet people at multiple aid stations (the main one and damnation) that took good care of my feet.
  2. I liked the half-way point aid station Damnation – it was a music party and the folks there were genuinely having fun but being super helpful!

Competition

  1. This is a USATF trail 100 mile championship race – or something like that. So it brings with it some speed. Interestingly it doesn’t bring a ton of sponsored runners, but there was still some solid speed out there.
  2. I on the other hand was far too back to really care about the competition aspect for myself so it didn’t matter to me. (Other than wanting to know how I am doing)

Logistics

  1. It is relatively easy to get to. It’s about 45 minutes from the Houston airport
  2. There are no hotels immediately close nearby, so me and my dad (and Dan) stayed at an air bnb within 20 minutes of the race.
  3. There is a 5 dollar charge for entry into the park, so on race morning, there is a huge line that builds to get into the park – plan to leave 20 minutes earlier than normal to wait in line. THIS IS DISCUSSED IN THE RACE PACKET BUT PLENTY OF PEOPLE MISSED IT.
  4. Drop bags for Damnation were supposed to be dropped off the day before the race at packet pickup. I missed that fact, but it didn’t hinder me much since the aid stations were so good.
  5. Drop bags for the main headquarters were dropped by the runner on the morning of, and it was labeled by bib number.
  6. There were no trail work requirements or prerequisites to run this race, which made things simple.

Aid Stations

  1. Great aid stations.
  2. They really were efficient at the aid stations, if you wanted to get in and out, the aid workers were really good about helping folks out. If you wanted to chill and recover, they would help with that too.

Weather and typical race conditions

  1. This is what I discussed earlier – it was WET, MUDDY, and mid 50’s, but variable every year.

Gear

  1. A vest is good here, but I saw plenty of folks just using a hand held water bottle.
  2. A sock change is recommended every loop unless your feet are bullet proof. If you start getting blisters – take care of that stuff early since it will do nothing but get worse as you go along.

Spectators

  1. This is not a super spectator friendly course, but I am not really sure what 100 miler is… Your family and friends get to see you at the HQ and that is it. You start and end at the HQ, and you go through it at least 1 time each loop. This race makes sense if your crew has a tendency to get lost, or you want to make it easy on them.
  2. The packet says your crew can meet you at other aid stations so long as they walk. My dad actually hiked out to another aid station which was great and was really helpful. His watch said he put in about 40 miles by the end of the day.

Awards

  1. Everyone that finished the 100 mi got a nice chrome buckle. If you go sub 24 hours, you get a bigger fancier one that says you did it sub 24.

Overall Score

  1. I give this race an 6.5 out of 10.  It was right up my alley in terms of difficulty (from an overall difficulty due to 100 miles) but by the fourth loop I hated the course, I hated the mud and well, I hated my calf especially. Seeing the race happen live was pretty cool and it was inspiring to see the top people going so fast especially in those conditions.  I’d be interested to know what the regular course is like, but really don’t have a desire to go back down there. It was a nice set of trails (when they were dry) and the course was fast, but 100 miles is a long way, and I am looking forward to some more mountains on my next one. On to Cascade Crest!

Capt’n Karl’s Night Trail 60k Race Info

Date

6/24/17

Avg Temps f.

68/97

Gain/Loss in ft

2600/2600

Furthest Aid

4.6 miles

Highest Elev.

1260

Start

7pm

Surface

Trail

Time Limit

12 hours

Sunrise/set

6:32am/8:39pm

Longest Climb

300ft/5.8 miles

Summary: The Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series takes place on the hilly, steep & rocky trails of Pedernales Falls State Park along the Pedernales River, which is 9 miles east of Johnson City & 43 miles west of Austin, Texas. The terrain is run along lots of challenging, technical single track along wooded trails & (seasonal) creek crossings. It is a 2 loop 30k course that starts and finishes at the same location.

Race Details

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Cupless race, at least for cold drinks
  • 1.5 miles into the race you’ll cross over a field of boulders running along the Pedernales River, followed by about 5-6 miles in a straight, gradually inclined line next to a wired fence that seemingly never ends.
  • Have a good headlamp!
  • The course is runnable for the most part, around two-thirds of the trail is mainly dirt and light rocks. The other third of the trail can be very technical (rocky) with slippery rocks, interspersed throughout the course.
  • Big difference between the first loop and second loop not only because of daylight for most of the first loop, but also because 2nd loop is quite isolated with runners being spread out.
  • The course was marked well for the most part, but there were some long stretches where you couldn’t spot a marker for what seemed like forever; keep your head about you as best you can in the dark and in the latter miles of the race in order to pay attention to where you are and not freak out if you don’t see a marker.

Elevation

Total gain/loss: 2600/2600

Total climbs: 4×300 feet, but with lots of rollers within those climbs and in between the climbs. None of this race looks flat.

Longest climb: From miles 1.5-7.3, gain 300 feet with lots of false summits along the way, from miles 10.9-12.4, gain 300 feet with false summits. Since it’s a loop course, you’ll hit these same climbs at miles 19.7-25.6 and 29-30.6. Otherwise, lots of hills from 50-100 feet of gain.

Steepest climb: Countless climbs of ~100 feet in .2-.5 miles throughout

Link to Elevation profile: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/817706714/share/0?lang=en

Link to course map: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_Yt0o5uqgY6cEpIck9KdDh6TEZSVkVBck1ldnFVRDFaSjN3/view

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 9

Furthest distance apart: 4.6 miles (twice)

Locations: Miles 4.5, 8.75, 11.75, 16.35, 18.6, 23.1, 27.35, 30.35, and 34.95

Aid Station Chart: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55a8251be4b08d94f1f6db9d/t/584caa9246c3c416aab286d8/1481419411073/CKTS+%40+Pedernales+Falls+60k+AS+Chart+copy.pdf

What’s available: Fruit, salty items, sugary items, sweet items, water, ice, basic med kits, and supplemental nutrition items sponsoring the race like VFuel and Tailwind. Some examples of typical options are saltines crackers, pretzels, Pringles, chips, cookies, trail mix, M&Ms, P.B.&J sandwiches, oranges, bananas, tortillas, gummy bears, peppermint candy, etc.  

Crew access

Locations: At the start/finish, miles 4.5, 16.35, 18.6 (which is the start/finish), 23.1, and 34.95

Crew instructions/directions: Interactive Park Map

Pacers

None

Race qualifiers

None

Race reports

http://runningmyselfintoacoma.blogspot.com.co/2012/06/captn-karls-pedernales-falls-60k-race.html

Strava activities and GPX files

https://www.strava.com/activities/62531780

https://www.strava.com/activities/621007079/overview

Race Website

http://www.tejastrails.com/#/ck-pedernales/

rocky raccoon 100 matt urbanski

Rocky Raccoon 100M – Matt U

What aspects of the race did you like the most? I love the loops. The predictability of this race make it really manageable both psychologically and logistically. The weather. We had a perfect day. Chilly in the morning, not humid during the day, and generally overcast. This made for fast running conditions. Positive vibe. There is a good feeling at this race. I’ve been here five out of the past seven years and it’s just a fun place to race. It’s not that Huntsville, TX has anything special I like, but when I’m in the state park at this race, it feels good, both as a racer and as a crew/support person.

Race: Rocky Raccoon 100

Runner: Matt U

Date: 2/4/17

Location: Huntsville, TX

Results – 14:04.08 (3rd place overall)

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

  • I love the loops. The predictability of this race make it really manageable both psychologically and logistically.
  • The weather. We had a perfect day. Chilly in the morning, not humid during the day, and generally overcast. This made for fast running conditions.
  • Positive vibe. There is a good feeling at this race. I’ve been here five out of the past seven years and it’s just a fun place to race. It’s not that Huntsville, TX has anything special I like, but when I’m in the state park at this race, it feels good, both as a racer and as a crew/support person.

Relying on the kindness of crew, Eric Schneider. Photo: Alan Velazco

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

  • We still have to wear this darn ankle chip timing device. It cuts up my skin and was my biggest race “wound” I had to recover from. It’s time for them to catch up with technology advances and get some better timing devices. And while I’m on this topic, given that they have us a wear a timing device, it would be really nice if they had more tracking check points for spectators at home to follow. It’s a small park and it seems reasonable to have more checkpoints than just every 20 miles.

 

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

  • I managed this 100 mile race better than any 100 miler I’ve ever run – this was my 10th attempt at the distance. I stayed in control all day, I pushed myself but stayed within my capabilities, and I worked hard all the way until the finish. I had a huge PR and I finished 3rd in the race. I have felt for a long time that I was capable of this and it was so awesome to finally put it all together on race day. I remember a specific spot on my way back to Damnation aid station on loop 5 when a Macklemore song I’d never heard before came up on my mix – Ten Thousand Hours. I got goosebumps and wanted to pump my fists in the air as certain lines totally clicked at that moment with me. The gist of it is that people that do well at their craft do so because they put in the time and they work hard to become what they want. I felt it all coming together out there this year at Rocky and it felt awesome!

 

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

  • It’s not flat and there are lots of things to trip over. Train on trails and learn to pick up your feet and maneuver through uneven and rooty trail so that when you’re tired during this race, you don’t kick a root, fall on your face, or tweak something and ruin your race. And while there are no big climbs, it’s rarely flat. There are constant rollers that are runnable (I ran the entire course), but most people will likely need/want to walk at some point, so be ready for this and don’t let it mess up your mental game when the little hills don’t feel so little later on.
  • Along the lines of my first point, have a good headlamp so you can see the roots well. I love my Petzl Nao and never felt like I had trouble seeing the rocks and roots. The first 45 minutes is in the dark and there will be dark before the finish so do yourself a favor and make sure you have a comfortable and highly effective headlamp!

 

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

  • It’s nearly all in the woods of SE Texas. If that’s your thing then it’s pretty. I don’t run this race for the aesthetics. 🙂

 

Difficulty – is it a tough course

  • It’s 100 miles, it’s all runnable, but running for 100 miles is difficult.

Come and get it! Tailwind, we’ve got your tailwind here! Photo: Alan Velazco

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

  • They’ve got this race down. It was smooth and I had no logistical problems whatsoever.

 

Competition – is there a strong field?

  • Fast times. Some years are faster than others. It’s been the USATF national championship race for the past few years so it typically brings at least a few fast folks.

 

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.

  • I don’t think it sells out. Packet pickup is straightforward. Crewing, aid, drop bags – all that stuff is standard with no weird rules to abide by.  

 

Aid Stations

  • I feel really good about how I handled this aspect of my race, and as such, I can’t comment much on the aid stations. I heard others saying how awesome the aid stations and their volunteers were, but I only utilized them for refilling Tailwind at Damnation aid station each loop. I drank most of my calories, but had crew handing me new bottles at all aid stations except Damnation, so I rarely had to stop. I ate my own food, primarily Pringles, along with some Clif Bloks. I had a couple ginger chew candies early on and three gels total on the day, but all of this was from my crew. I also had big hits of Starbucks Coldbrew coffee through the middle three laps which tasted great and gave me some caffeine. My stomach was good all day. At one point I pounded too many calories and had to wait to eat again for longer than normal. My fingers got a little puffy at one point so I backed off on liquids for a bit and ate more Pringles. And on lap 5 when I got to pushing myself harder, I went with gels and Tailwind so as to take less risk with food and stomach issues while I pushed it to the finish. Super happy with how this big logistical piece played out.

 

Pacers –  

I was able to have one for the last 40 miles. My teammate Alan was there for me for the final loop and it was really helpful having him there with me. I told him ahead of time how I work with pacers and what my expectations were and everything went according to plan. We literally said maybe 30 words to each other the entire time, I ran in front of him, and I even kept my headphones in. However, his presence those final 20 miles definitely helped me to stay on my game and to work hard all the way until the end.

 

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

  • I wore my Salomon 12L vest (more comfortable than my 5L) – it was nowhere close to fully packed. I wore my Salomon compression shorts, my compression racing shirt, and Nike Wildhorse 3 shoes. Everything went smoothly with gear and I didn’t have to change anything out all day. As always, I recommend practicing with what you’re going to race with and to go with what gets the job done and is most comfortable to you. For me, it’s my tight clothes and my pink compression socks!

 

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

  • Depends on how much they want to move around. They can be at Mile 0, 3, 16, and 20 of each loop if they want to make the effort to move along the main road in the park. They could also just camp out at the start/finish and catch you every 20 miles. And while there aren’t a ton of spectators on the course, there are so many loops and out and back sections that I was always seeing runners and giving and receiving support that it didn’t matter that spectators weren’t overly plentiful.

 

Awards –

  • Altra giftcards for some of the top finishers along with some yard art. Belt buckles for all finishers. There was cash for some of the top finishers if they are USATF members.

 

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

  • 5 out of 5 stars. I love this race, and I love it all the more now that I nailed a 14:04!
julie urbanski rocky raccoon 50

Rocky Raccoon 50M – Julie U

Highlights of your race: I finished. At mile 20 I really, really, really wanted to pull the plug. I was already a big sweaty mess and it was only getting hotter and sunnier and I could feel my stomach starting to revolt what little nutrition I had put into it. When I mentioned it to Matt, he gave me this look that said he wouldn’t even consider it and said, “Nope, you’re not quitting. Get back out there. Walk out of here if you have to, but you’re going to finish.”

The Race: Rocky Raccoon 50

The Runner: Julie U

The Date: 2/11/17

The Location: Huntsville, TX

Results – 9:34:13

3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most

  • The Atmosphere – This is our 5th time at Rocky Raccoon (1st time for the 50 since it’s been on a separate weekend from the 100) and the atmosphere is why we keep coming back (it’s certainly not the weather!). The aid station people are great, the race director and coordinators are great, and it’s a really supportive atmosphere of runners and spectators
  • The course – I like loop courses and out and back sections, so some people might hate this. I liked how I could see other runners ahead and behind me, how I could run the first loop and then strategize for the next two loops as to where I could go faster/slower, and it was so easy to remember aid stations and when I’d see my crew
  • The aid stations adjusted well to the heat – they had tons of ice on hand (I had them put it down the front and back of my sports bra), lots of cold water, and they would pour the cold water over me any time I asked.

 

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

  • The heat – Out of the 5 times we’ve been at Rocky (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017), one out of the 5 years has had great weather (last weekend for Matt’s 100), one had pretty good weather (Matt’s 16:26 in 2015), once was crazy humid (Matt’s DNF in 2014), one had crazy thunderstorms and rain and mud (both my and Matt’s redemption finish in 2012) and one was 19 degrees at night and not much warmer in the day (both my and Matt’s DNF in 2011). The weather is such a gamble that it’s a reason I’m not tempted to return for quite some time.
  • 83 degrees with humidity
  • Did I mention it was hot?

julie urbanski rocky raccoon
Matt talking me into not quitting at mile 20

Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race

There are alligators in the park. When we ran the race in 2012 we visited the Nature Center and found out there were 40 adult alligators living in the park at the time, but we were assured that in the winter they hibernated and didn’t come out. Still, with it being 83 degrees outside, the thought crossed my mind that I might see one.

 

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

I finished. At mile 20 I really, really, really wanted to pull the plug. I was already a big sweaty mess and it was only getting hotter and sunnier and I could feel my stomach starting to revolt what little nutrition I had put into it. When I mentioned it to Matt, he gave me this look that said he wouldn’t even consider it and said, “Nope, you’re not quitting. Get back out there. Walk out of here if you have to, but you’re going to finish.” Of course I did just that and let myself walk out of each aid station, drinking Ginger Ale and eating Pringles for about 5-7 minutes before I’d run (shuffle) again, and that’s what got me through.

julie urbanski rocky raccoon
At the finish, aka, “What the hell was that!?!”

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

-Be ready for roots, for rollers, and any kind of weather and pick the right clothes and food to accommodate at the last minute

-It’s really helpful to have crew, as crew can be at miles 3, 12, and 16 of each loop, and they only have one road to walk/run/bike on a 2 mile stretch to see you (not supposed to drive because runners cross this road and there’s limited parking). It’s also easy to have drop bags but I love the support of crew and it really motivated me knowing I’d see Matt and Paavo so often

-If you do have crew, it’s nice for them to have at least some chairs to sit on at Dogwood (the start/finish) and Park Road, as there’s not seating (there are benches at Nature Center), and some crews set up pop-up tents at Dogwood (enclosed tents are not allowed), along with plenty of food for the day. It’s a long day for them too and it’s fairly inconvenient to leave the park and go to Huntsville for provisions like coffee and food, so having everything they need for the day is helpful.

 

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

-Tailwind doesn’t work for me. I tried drinking it several times throughout the day and I just couldn’t stand the taste or smell.

-Still need to figure out nutrition. Tailwind didn’t work, only ate 5 blocks the whole time, along with a handful of Pringles and some Ginger Ale. And I puked out everything at mile 43. Had I been able to keep eating in the heat I think I would have been able to have a better time. Then again, the heat contributed to my stomach issues, so who knows.

-I think it’s time to close the chapter on Rocky for a while. We’ve been here 5 out of the last 7 years and as I was running it, I thought, “This is the last time I want to think about Damnation aid station for a long time.” It’s been good but it’s time to move on before coming back again.

 

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

-The course is quite rooty, so be ready to pay close attention and pick up your feet (especially with the first hour in the dark). That being said, there are some nice stretches of long forest roads that are smooth and easy to run on.

-The course was more sandy than I remembered, perhaps because it was so dry (it rained once the whole 2 weeks we were there)

 

Course Description

0-3 (Dogwood to Nature Center) – Tiny rollers, rooty sections of the course, run on wooden bridges along the water, some important turns to pay attention to

-3-5.7 (Nature Center to Damnation) – Starts with tiny rollers and rooty single track trails, then finishes with a rolling forest road to Damnation aid station (you can see runners ahead of you on this road coming from Damnation to Park Road)

-5.7-9.3 (Damnation to Damnation) – Out and back starting on a dirt forest road and then turning onto a wide single track with some roots that will definitely grab you if you’re not paying attention. Lots of out and back traffic here so I was glad it was wider, and this was a pretty exposed section that got very hot, not much elevation change

-9.3-12.3 (Damnation to Park Road) – Mainly rollers on the forest boundary road for the park. Feels like you can see for miles and sometimes feels never-ending. Turns into more of a single track path for the very last bit into Park Road aid station

-12.3-16.7 (Park Road to Dogwood) – Starts out with single track, not super rooty, then follows power lines for a bit as it rolls, then turns on the same trail as you went out on to Nature Center, along the water, along the wooden bridges, along some of the rooty trails, and up a little hill. The trail then parallels the road and you have two road crossings until the finish (which is the turnaround where you do 2 more loops). Once you actually reach the finish, which I call the “landing strip” you thank your stars that you don’t have to go out for another lap

 

Aesthetics – is it a pretty course

Not really, but I’ve also been to UTMB, a course that makes everything else look not as pretty. It is at least all in the park, it’s mostly shaded, nice weather can certainly help, and it’s all trail and/or dirt roads, so no pavement other than the road crossings.

 

Difficulty – is it a tough course

On paper, no. It’s minimal elevation gain, it’s not overly technical, and times are fast. In reality those rollers along the dirt roads can seem endless, the roots can seem downright diabolical, and the weather can really mess with things.

 

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

Very well organized. The new RD (2nd year as RD) did a really great job, aid stations were great (I think Liza Howard was at Damnation and it made my day to have her pour ice in my sports bra because she’s such a badass), and though the RD changed, the supportive atmosphere did not.

 

Competition – is there a strong field?

Not like the 100 brings out. The winners were fast but there wasn’t a deep field (I placed 3rd female, which I’m certainly proud of, but had there been any depth to the field I would have been nowhere near 3rd).

 

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.

Nope, just sign up online in time. The race used to be on the same day as the 100 but they split them up to accommodate more runners and I don’t believe they sell out anymore.

 

Aid Stations

Full aid stations at 3.1, 5.7, 9.3, 12.3, 16.7 of each loop (3 loops)

julie urbanski rocky raccoon
The best crew a girl could ask for

Weather and typical race conditions –

All over the place. I believe typical weather is in the 60s for highs and 40s for lows, which is what it was the weekend before, but not our weekend.

 

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

It is a cupless race, so I wore my Solomon vest with a flask and a collapsible cup, the flask for water and tailwind and the cup for Coke and Ginger Ale. Sadly, I dropped my cup somewhere on the third lap (RIP Green Cup) which makes me sad because Matt carried it on UTMB and it’s been one of Paavo’s favorite all-time toys, and it’s his travel bath cup (ok, ok Amazon can fix that)

 

Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends

Yes, as they can see you at miles 3, 12, and 16 of each loop. They can see you at other spots, but it takes a little more work to get to them, so check the course map for other spots.

 

Awards –

Top finishers and age groupers get locally made art. I got a huge metal butterfly, along with a $100 gift card for Altra Running gear. Score!

 

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

4 out of 5, with all the important stuff being 5 out of 5, and it’s the people and great atmosphere that have kept us coming back. I’d say the volatility in weather and the fact that I’ve been there so many times and am a bit tired of the course is what’s going to put me on a little Rocky hiatus for a while.

Rocky Raccoon 50M – Josh B

Share your pro-tips: Have each loop planned out in advance. From goal time, food, water, and clothing. This is a course where anyone could get a PR if the plan is in place. The temperature each year can fluctuate drastically. They have had snow years and years in the 80’s. The race can be cold at the start and hot during the day. Plan your clothing and hydration accordingly.

Race: Rocky Raccoon 50 – http://www.tejastrails.com/Rocky50.html

Runner: Josh B

Date: 2/13/2016

Location: Huntsville State Park, TX

Distance raced and other options: 50 miles. 100 mile race is the weekend before.

Results: 14:24

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

  1. The people. Texas trailer runners are a super friendly group.
  2. Volunteers. At each aid station there are super friendly trail runners to assist and encourage you.
  3. The course. Being a loop course makes it easy logistically for the runner and the crews. Your crew can basically follow you the entire race.

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

  1. Out and back section of the course. This is not a usual thing but due to construction this year there was an out and back section.
  2. Repeat sections- The course is set up in loops. For the 50 mile race you do 3 loops. In each loop there are sections that you go past multiple times. For example, one section I ran through a total of 6 times.

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

  1. Texans- You meet some crazy fun people. Like the guy who wore very short american flag shorts and a collared shirt with the sleeves cut out.

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

I think I paced the first loop pretty well and in general had a good nutritional plan, at least until late in the race where I got tired of taking in gels.

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

Have each loop planned out in advance. From goal time, food, water, and clothing. This is a course where anyone could get a PR if the plan is in place.

The temperature each year can fluctuate drastically. They have had snow years and years in the 80’s. The race can be cold at the start and hot during the day. Plan your clothing and hydration accordingly.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

It’s definitely not a mountain scenic course but is pretty in its own Texas way. The parts by the lake are nice.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I think most people would call this a runnable course. The roots make it somewhat technical especially in the dark and late in the race. Overall, it is runnable and a place to aim for a distance PR.

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

Tejas Trails is a very well organized company. They have been around along time and know how to organize great events. Most of their races have been around along time and are very well marked and have volunteers who have been around for years.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

The 100 mile race typically has a very strong field and is sometimes the US 100 mile championships. The men’s and women’s 100 mile trail american records are on this course. The 50 mile is not typically a stacked field but still has very fast times.

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.

Rocky Raccoon is very easy to get into. For both races you can register day of. Logistically you can fly into Dallas and drive a few hours south to Huntsville or fly to Houston and Drive an hour north to Huntville. There are plenty of hotels in town and Huntsville State Park also allows camping.

I would recommend camping as this avoids race day parking. The park has little cabin like shelters for rent for a good price and hot showers available. The park is only 15 minutes from Huntsville if you need any last minute supplies.

Aid Stations

The aid stations have all the typical stuff and a decent selection of hot food including quesadillas, hot dogs, burgers, pancakes, and BACON.

Weather and typical race conditions

The weather can be hot or cold. In the past few years it has varied from 30-80 degrees. On average though I would say it is perfect running conditions.

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

With the heat on race day I had bad chaffing problems which I think came from the excess sweating. Have a plan in place for chaffing.

Be ready for drastic weather changes. it could be cold at the start and hot in the afternoon. Have the right clothing in your dropbags.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

This is a great race for spectators. Crews have access to almost the entire course. I recommend having your crew bring a car or even a bike to get back and forth between the aid stations.

Awards – Each finisher gets a pretty nice medal and the overall/age group winners get custom awards. Usually something crazy Texas like. This year’s looked something like this:

 

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

On a 1-10 scale I would give this race a 7. I would recommend this race for people wanting to run a PR and for people looking to escape the winter cold/rain and run in nice weather. I think everyone should run a Tejas Trail race once in there life. If not Rocky Raccoon, consider Bandera or Cactus Rose.