written on 5/22/2011
Greetings 2011 Pocatello 50 Runners,
With less than a week to go before race day we want to provide a few key updates/clarifications. Please read on as this will likely answer some questions you may have.
2011 brings about a different format than previous years. Please be aware that ONLY the 50 mile race starts at 6AM from the Mink Creek Pavilion exactly as it has in previous years.
The 50 km race starts at the City Creek trail-head at 8:30 AM and ends at the Mink Creek Pavilion. So, a logical thing to do is park your car at the finish line and take the free shuttle-bus to the start. This way you’ll be running back to your car. The shuttle will depart from the Mink Creek Pavilion at 7:30AM.
The 20 mile race starts and finishes at the Mink Creek Pavilion. This event will start at 11AM.
Additional Camping Options
Camping at the Pavilion (start/finish line) continues to be free of charge to all runners and their family/crew members. If the hustle-and-bustle of a camping area with 200-300 other people is not your thing, consider camping at the Scout Campground a beautiful and quiet area just 6.8 miles and 20 minutes away. This is also the site of the new Scout Campground aid station on the third leg of the race. It is highly recommended that you reserve a spot if you decide you’d like to stay here. Camping here is not included as part of your race fee.
As I’m sure everyone is aware, the western half of the United States has been slammed with storms this past winter and spring. Record snow pack is sure to affect many trail races this year, including the P50. The Portneuf Mountains around Pocatello are some of the hardest hit mountains in Idaho, boasting 200+% of normal snow-pack, which means this year’s race course will be tougher than usual. As you’ve seen already we’ve re-routed the final 20 miles to avoid what would have been better suited for a Randonee’ race than a running event.
Be prepared for a real spring-time mountain run. This means beautiful scenery, challenging terrain, crazy weather, and flora/fauna coming alive. In the West Fork of Mink Creek today (5/23/2011) I admired a moose, startled a coyote, had a great conversation with a sandhill crane, and was audibly entertained by a family of woodpeckers. You’ll enjoy all of this while fjording numerous streams, post-holing up (and down) steep snow-filled gullies, and slip-sliding around in muddy sections. This is not your neighborhood turkey-trot 50 miler so if you don’t like it “wild and tough”, you might want to think twice about this year’s race….
- Midnight Creek is a mess with deep snow. This past weekend it proved to be nearly impossible to get to our usual aid station location. As such, we’re moving it up to the top of the City Creek climb (~5.0 miles after the City Creek Aid Station). The website maps will hopefully be updated soon to reflect this change. The new name of this aid station will be the Kinport Ridge Aid Station. This will be a well stocked aid station so be sure to leave it with adequate food and water to get you the ~9.5 miles to the Mink Creek aid station.
- Given the location of the new Kinport Ridge aid station the Ruth-Hara water drop, which has always been just 2 mile out of City Creek, is no longer needed and will therefore be eliminated. Plan accordingly. Again, it’s only 5 miles from City Creek to the new Kinport Ridge Aid Station.
The bottom-line is that it’s tough to say this far out. Today we’ve watched the forecast for race day fluctuate from 75 and sunny to rain and mid-50s. Note that this is the forecast for the city of Pocatello, which could easily translate to wildly different weather in the mountains. If you doubt this, find someone who ran in the 2010 event and I’m sure they’ll be able to convey what this means. Bottom line, BE PREPARED for just about anything.
A quick re-play of 2010 is in order: The day started out warmer than expected so many runners ditched their bulky 1-oz t-shirts at the start line in favor of a singlets and their favorite new Vibram 5-fingers. Less than an hour into the race, the weather took a dramatic shift for the worse quickly creating blizzard-like conditions up high and slick-as-hell conditions down low. Many folks were lost, most were hypothermic, and a full-on search-and-rescue effort was quickly initiated to find unaccounted for runners. It got real ugly real fast. The race was cancelled for the safety of the runners, a decision we never second-guessed.
The rules this year will be different. If weather is “bad” aid station captains will be given full authority to make decisions on whether runners are adequately prepared for the conditions or not. This means that we STRONGLY recommend you have fully stocked drop-bags at City Creek and Mink Creek with a full assortment of battle-ready gear. If conditions are poor you must have the following to continue on, there will be no exceptions. In the event of poor weather, it doesn’t matter who you are, how fast you’re going, or how great you feel, you will not be allowed to leave the City Creek or Mink Creek aid stations unless you have the following:
- Hat – not just a sun cap, this needs to be insulative
- Gloves – fleece, wool, or equivalent recommended
- Jacket – must be water resistant or waterproof
- Tights or pants
Please respect these rules and obey aid station folks. If the weather is “good” it will be a different story and you will not be required to carry all of the stuff listed above. It will be a judgment call by the aid station captains and RDs so you might as well just plan for the worst rather than risk being denied a chance to finish by not having clothing. We strongly encourage the use of a SPOT tracker. If you do carry one, please learn how to use it and pre-program it to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) should you need to call for help. And lastly, if you anticipate being at or near the back of the pack you will not be allowed to leave Mink Creek (the second time) after 7PM unless you have a head-lamp with you.
Okay, if we haven’t scared you off yet, great! We are truly thrilled for the 2011 race and have an unbelievable army of uber-dedicated volunteers to make it a great event. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday.