by Deborah Sexton
Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA
June 24, 2006
Well, in about 30 minutes from now, I was envisioning myself running into Placer Stadium. Instead, I timed out at Duncan Canyon, only 23 miles into the race and 20 minutes over the limit.
Tears ran down my face as they cut off my wristband and as the other 25 people who also did not make it saw my misery I got multiple hugs and comments of support from other runners.
I plopped myself into the dirt, utterly miserable that I could not even make it to Robinson Flat, where my crew was waiting. Never in my worst case scenario thoughts did I imagine that I would be pulled so early.
The most frustrating thing about it was I felt great. I was not bothered by the heat or altitude (although they slowed me down). I was well hydrated, had been regulary taking electrolytes and was not even tired. But my main fear from the beginning was my slow pace and this is what got me in the end just as I feared it would.
The climbs were steep and many and this year they reopened up a section of the trail that had been closed for the past five years due to fire. It was littered by a lot of debris including at least 15 full sized trees that had to be climbed over. I just could not pull it off in the time allowed. On the front end of the race, the cutoffs are compressed allowing runners more time at the end. I was running well despite the snow fields, gushy mud, and multiple run off streams that were on the trail but not fast enough. I came in to the second aid station 40 minutes behind the 30 hour cutoff. I was freaking out to say the least.
The next aid station was eight miles away and I had 1 hour 45 minutes to make it. If it had been flat, clean trail, I could have made it, but with the steep climbs with the fully exposed sun beating down on me, I basically crawled up them. It ended up taking me 2 hours and 10 minutes to do that section of the trail. It was tougher than any section I had done on the whole trail.
As some of you have read on the ultra list, this year is looking to be the lowest finishing rate ever. The temps supposedly reached 109 in Auburn yesterday. A record number of people are said to have dropped at Robinson.
Jay Freeman missed the cutoff at Robinson Flat by 4 minutes. Doug Ryan got dehyrated. He was throwing up and in very bad shape. They made him sit at one aid station for a while and iced him down and made him drink. Then they sent him off forgetting to refill his water bottles! By the time he got to Michigan Bluff he was so dehyrated, he couldn’t go on.
Aid stations were running out of ice, which was critical in the high heat. There was no ice at Duncan when I arrived.
I was told that Dave Emerson dropped at Devils’ Thumb I have not talked to him or Lynn.
Drew Meyer made good time in the first half of the race but slowed down on the second half.It’s now 10:40 a.m.. Last report Drew had made it to Highway 49 (less than 7 miles from the finish) with two hours to finish. I have called Char, Doug, and Jay Freeman on cell phones to see if he has come in yet and no word yet. So he has a good chance of doing it.
I will try and get back on the computer later with another update.