Mountain Mist 50K

1st place - 4:10:19
- Strava Data
- Race Results

I rolled down to Huntsville over the weekend for the 22nd Annual Mountain Mist 50K.  I'm writing a race report for the April issue of UltraRunning magazine, so my recap here will be brief, but check out UR for the full scoop.  It's a great publication moving in a really great direction under Karl Hoagland

Mountain Mist 50K Finish - 1st place, 4:10:19
Photo: We Run Huntsville / We Run Race Photos
Scouting out the Waterline climb on Saturday with JP.
Despite being concentrated a bit further northeast, Snowzilla still left its mark on northern Alabama.  The City of Huntsville and Monte Sano State Park weren't OK with the event going on as planned and wanted it cancelled.  However, the race's founder and director, Dink Taylor, talked them into a 24-hour delay as a last resort.  Not ideal for some folks who couldn't stick around for a Sunday race, but a much better alternative than cancelling for the first time in 22 years.

I had driven down with my friends and Quaff ON! Racing teammates Jeff Yoder and Travis Wheeler, and luckily these guys had the flexibility to stay the extra day.  Along with Scott Breeden (two-time defending champ), Alicia Rich, and Ron Brooks, we had a big Quaff ON! crew (with our Bloomington friends Miranda, Kimberly, and JP all racing too).

Trail conditions were not ideal for running fast, though I hesitate to use the word bad.  Because what is that—the trails were challenging and varied, which slowed things, but in some ways that made it way more fun!  The snow also made the mountain really pretty.  We ran over a mixture of ice, snow, mud, and standing water that made an already rocky/technical course much more technical.  I never fell, but I came close a lot.

Cruising with Breeden on one of the more favorable sections of trail (thanks to sun exposure!)
Photo: We Run Huntsville / We Run Race Photos
The short of it is I ran relatively conservatively early, deferring to Breeden on the tempo.  We still pulled away from everyone by the "half way" point of Fearns AS (technically more like 17 miles, but the back half is tougher).  But after that aid, I bombed the following descent to open up some space—and then just tried to keep pushing enough to maintain whatever gap I had.  I never really knew what my lead was, but I felt relatively strong all day.  My worst patch was actually a flat section of trail after the Waterline climb, feeling a bit bonky.  The most fun I had were the two big descents—to Land Trust (AS4) and then the Natural Well descent.

JP hopping the gate at Fearns, as required by tradition and Dewayne Satterfield (Breeden and I hopped too).
Photo: Travis Wheeler
I was pretty happy with my 4:10:19 finishing time considering the conditions.  Hard to say what it was really worth, but maybe 15-20 minutes faster on a normal year.  Race veteran Dewayne Satterfield was only 13 minutes slower than last year (though I don't know if his conditioning was better this year), but Brooks was 18 minutes slower and says he was definitely in better shape this year.  To get anywhere near David Riddle's 3:36 CR, conditions would have to be good and I'd also have to be quite a bit more aggressive than we ran this year.
Photo: We Run Huntsville / We Run Race Photos
Coming into the High Line Trail — the rocks are prevalent but pretty obscured by the snow.
Photo: Roy Simmons

The Quaff ON! crew had a great showing, taking 1-2-3 in the men's side (me, Breeden (4:33:10), and Brooks (4:34:52)) and the women's victory (Alicia (5:27:24)).  My buddy JP also rocked his first official ultra with an 8th place and sub-5 hour finish.  Winning the award for most badass full day, JP drove back to Mt. LeConte in the Smokies (where is the winter caretaker of the LeConte Lodge) and snowshoed up the mountain in 2 feet of snow.
Quaff ON! 1-2-3
Me and JP
Many thanks to Dink and all of his crew and volunteers for a great event.  I've wanted to go to Mountain Mist for a while and glad I finally got the chance to enjoy this winter classic.
- Salomon Fellcross (I thought about using the Spikecross, which would have been great on ice, but those would have been rough on the rock slabs that you encounter on the Bluffline Trail)
- Swiftwick Aspire Twelve
- Salomon S-LAB Sense Set (hydration vest)

- half a UGo Bar (Anutter)
- coffee

- 300 calories (2x 20 oz. soft flask) of Tailwind
- 300 calories of gels (Hüma)
- a few swallows of Powerade at AS1, Coke at AS4 and AS5, and an orange slice at AS6

Post-race (in one sort of continuous feeding/drinking frenzy):
- 10 pieces of pizza
- 10 beers
- 5 cookies
- 3 Krispy Kremes
(I got after it on Sunday.)

Photo: We Run Huntsville / We Run Race Photos