Tahoe 100k Race Report – Andrew K

Race: Tahoe 100k

Runner: Andrew K

Race Date: 09/14/2019

Location: Lake Tahoe, CA

Results: 12th OA, 1st AG http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=61893#id395043

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2709342899

tahoe 100k ultra race report

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

1. Course – This runs mostly along the Tahoe Rim Trail and you get to see straddle the Nevada/California ridge line. To the east you see flat, high desert plateau of Nevada, West is forests of California. It has vert but nothing brutal, just challenging over the course of the full 100K. Long downhills make it runnable in sections. Going through a pass at 9.7K feet was great.
2. Tahoe 200 weekend – Lots happening and running the opposite direction of the 200 milers you get a great sense of ultras, high fives, seeing pacers with runners on Day 2. Big aid stations etc.
3. Running into the early evening is great. Brings on the adventure of having headlamps etc.

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

I didn’t like having to drive to the finish to get a bus to the start so early. It’s a fairly new race and communications were a bit sparse.
Aid stations were spread out to make some far apart (15miles) while others were short (7 miles).
Drop bag strategy wasn’t tight. I finished at 7pm and they told me if I wanted my drop bag from mile 45, I’d need to wait until midnight even though that aid station closed. It’s on the small side so I get that they are short handed.
BATTERIES! I didn’t change my headlamp batteries and it cost me. I had to run the final 2 miles with my phone flashlight. DUH.

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

Nothing weird.

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

1. Nutrition. Since you share aid stations with the Tahoe 200, you can really afford to pack less, rely on the stations.
2. This was my first 100K, so I was still learning to run v race it. I just stayed steady, not pushing too hard but constant. I’m happy with 12th, and in retrospect, my pit stops cost me about 5 places but just not rushing. That’s okay, now I know.
3. Mental. Anything over a 50K for me is about Fitness, Nutrition and Mental all working in concert. The siege mentality if a real thing and just hanging in there. I didn’t use any headphones, music, etc for 13 hours. Just me, my mind and the trail. It was great.

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

1. Aid station strategy. Figure out your plan and drop bags, especially if you are faster. You’ll possibly have to wait at the finish.
2. Miles 20-35 of the course were the long climbs, exposed in the sun. Bring a hat. There were streams and a lake so you should stop for the 60 sec, dunk your head in and keep going to cool down.
3. I stayed in South Lake and flew into Sacramento. Reno is closer for flights. I’d still stay in South Lake given the amenities and central nature to the course.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

1. Bring fresh batteries for the headlamp. 🙂
2. It was dusty/hot that day. I drank 7 Liters of water. Sipping constantly was key if you aren’t from a hotter climate.
3. Sun block. I didn’t use it and my shoulders paid the price.
4. Cold start but once the sun pops up, it gets hot quick. Once the sun goes behind the mountains, temps drop and it gets dark in the forest fast.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

The course is really 3 climbs in the first 35 miles. They are long, never super steep but the length makes it hard. The downhills are very runnable. Miles 40-53 were really nice, long, gradual downhills. The whole course is mostly singletrack.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Yes. You see Alpine forest, ridgelines, lakes, streams.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

I’d give it a 3 of 5 on hard. I found White River 50m harder in vert.

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

It’s run by Destination Trail and they know what they are doing BUT it’s a new course AND since the Tahoe 200 is going on at the same time and the premier event, you feel a bit like plan B for them.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Well…I didn’t win, so yes? Just kidding. The winner weren’t pros but were solid runners who beat the field by hour plus.

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 registered 2 weeks before on the deadline. South Lake Tahoe has a variety of hotels, Airbnb, etc so I had no problems. Flights to Reno are more expensive with less carriers but Sacramento is just as easy but 45min more to drive. South Lake also is a fully stocked mountain town geared towards winter and summer activity so lots of grocery, outdoor stores, Patagonia store, etc.

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

Standard stuff. Full gels, water, Tailwind, Oreos, fruit, PB&J, etc. Veggie options. Miles 35 onwards cooked items like quesadillas etc.

Weather and typical race conditions

Hot and dry CA summer. But the day after we ran, it snowed.

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

Recommend good headlamp, running vest with enough to carry 1L, I had a 2L bladder. You can download the course via CalTopo for your watch.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

You cross two roads which make good ‘hi there’ points and all the aid stations had cars. The website tells you directions to each and their ‘rules’.

How’s the Swag?

Finisher medal is wooden so that is cool. T-shirt was fine (wearable logo & color). They sold more stuff at the end.

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

I still give this a 4.5 of 5. The course is well marked, really nice. The atmosphere of a 200miler is great and all the volunteers were great. Lake Tahoe as a late summer vacation spot also is great and lets you do anything you want.

tahoe 100k ultra race report