Silver State 50k Race Report

Silver State 50k Race Report

It seems that some of the benefits of spontaneity ended up paying dividends for me this past weekend at The Silver State 50k in Reno, Nevada. I had a really fun time traveling to Nevada for my first time with Sean, Ashley, and Jeff, and it was great to get to know them better. Also, staying at Jeff’s place in Bend and meeting his wife, kids, and pets was a treat to say the least. Thanks for the hospitality! :o)

We left Bend Friday morning and drove about four hours and then stopped at a campground that Meissner knew about and we all went for a five mile run to loosen our legs and break up the ride. Man it felt good to run with no shirt on and feel the sun on our skin. After that we continued on for a few more hours into Reno and made our way to the restaurant that was hosting the race packet pick-up and race briefing.

After carbing up some more and seeing some familiar faces we headed out to the motel which was a five-minute walk from the starting line. Ashley and Jeff were running the 50-mile race and Sean and I opted for the 50k. Both races boasted big climbs and very exposed terrain, and the weather was looking to be in the upper 70’s. This race was a really good trainer for Bighorn (for Ashley, Jeff, and I), and the stage race in Moab that Sean has coming up.

Race morning around 5:30 a.m. after Jeff and Ashley left for their 6am start I called my niece Lydia on the east coast who was turning 7 years old. I wished her a happy birthday, chatted for a few, and then after a bit Sean and I made our way to the starting line. It was a little cool in the morning but sunny and I could tell that it was going to be hot. I lined up at the front and within moments we were off! I wore my bright blue Inov-8 F-lite 230’s. They were a great choice for a dry Nevada course and I even had some folks approach me afterward intrigued by the shoe and the brand.

The first few miles of the race were gently climbing and I held back as best as I could with a group of five or so runners. Surprisingly I was feeling really good considering I had not tapered for this race and had already run 65 miles for the week leading up to it. As we continued Chikara Omine and Peter Fain (the course record holder) dropped off and it was just Victor Ballesteros, Chris Knorzer, and I. We started hitting some long, decently steep climbs and the sun was really starting to beat down on us. Also, as we were climbing upwards of 6,000 feet I was starting to feel the lack of oxygen affecting my running (we would eventually climb to over 8,000 feet). It wasn’t much, but enough to leave me gasping a little as we climbed allowing Victor and Chris to pull away. I kept powering up though and never really let them too far out of sight. The climbs kept going and going and I reminded myself that this is what Bighorn 100 is going to be like next month. There were some epic views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range from the top and I loved the singletrack sections as always.

On the downhills I would open up my stride and just bomb! Eventually I would catch up to the two and we all must have switched out the lead like ten times. The next 10-12 miles were like a “cat and mouse” game with Victor and I as he would catch me on the ups and I would surpass him on the downs. Chris remained out in first just a little bit ahead and was looking strong and consistent on everything.

Around mile 18 there was another long, exposed climb and the cumulative miles on my legs combined with the heat had me feeling the burn as I hiked and struggled a bit. I just didn’t have a lot of power going up and I watched Victor just motor up the long technical hill and disappear. At this point I re-directed my thinking to Lydia and her birthday party and picturing everyone out on Nobles Hill in NY state having a good time. Then I started remembering when she was born and how much life has changed since then. Next thing you know I was at the top and feeling much better! :o) I knew that the majority of the way to the finish was downhill and that I was able to catch these guys all day on the downs. I popped another S-cap and gel and decided to get after it and run these last ten miles in honor of Lydia’s day of birth! :o)

Miles 21-31 I just hammered like a mad man! It wasn’t long before I swooped past Victor and then Chris, and once I passed them I kept laying the hammer down to ensure not getting passed back again. At one point (around mile 28) in a huge open area I took a look back up the mountain and didn’t see anyone for a long way. I knew that if I just stayed composed that I had it wrapped up. I had enough fluids on me and blew through the last aid station with my scopes on the finish.

Finally I made it into the finish area and read the clock. It said 4:02! Peter Fain’s course record was 4:25 and I had no intention of going after that…let alone smashing it…it just kinda happened! A couple minutes later I turned around to see Victor coming in to the finish who also came under the previous course record. Not long after that Chris, and then I was super excited to see Sean Meissner show up feeling good. Nice running guys!

I went straight to the kiddie pool that they had at the gazebo area, hosed myself off, and submerged myself in the pool. Next, I visited the complimentary massage tent and enjoyed a nice flush, and then made my way to food. What a great selection of home made meals with many vegan options and super friendly volunteers to serve you. My favorite item was the Spanish gazpacho…I went back a few times for more! :o)

After nourishing ourselves we knew that the 50-milers would be showing up relatively soon. Through “guesstimation” Sean predicted around 7:20-7:30 for Jeff to arrive and maybe another hour for Ashley. Literally about one-minute after Sean said that I look over and see a green Team Patagonia shirt way off in the distance! “There’s Bronco!” Jeff came in for the win in like 7:12 just missing the course record by 86 seconds. Ashley was next and she put forth a stellar performance coming off of Macdonald Forest 50k last weekend and placing 2nd in 8:20 behind superstar Joelle Vaught. I guess as a carload we did quite well and represented “Team Oregon” properly! :o) We all headed home with significant sunburns and good memories of a fun weekend.

This is a really well-run event and the race directors put a lot into it and were super friendly and funny guys. Thanks again! The course was marked superbly and it’s a great trainer for races like Bighorn 100, Tahoe Rim 100, and Western States 100. Speaking of Western States I recognized WS legend Tim Tweitmeyer come in the top ten of the 50k…and speaking of legends I was able to meet and talk with the man who created the now ever-so- popular Western States 100 named Gordy Ainsliegh.

This was a really cool weekend for me and I am learning that sometimes it’s exciting to just say forget the planning and structure (and the taper!) and to just be a little spontaneous in life and to just go for it! :o)

Check out the full results HERE

Next up…Bighorn 100!


From the time I could stand upright I was chasing soccer balls around with older children at the fields where my father...

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