Monday, February 25, 2013

Chimera 100

The Chimera 100 is an ultra marathon set in the Saddleback Mountains in the Cleveland National Forest southeast of Los Angeles, CA.  The website boasts over 24,000 feet of elevation gain over the 100 miles of trails.  That's more than both Leadville and Western States 100 milers.  The course is very technical in several areas, extremely steep on most of the climbs and is covered in rocks from pea sized gravel to head sized rocks and everything in between.  Throw in extreme weather changes due to elevation variations and some rain and fog and it makes for one hell of a difficult 100 mile train run.

This was my first 100 mile ultra marathon that I did not plan to have a crew or pacer for.  I basically just popped out to CA to do the race with my good buddy Lambo who lives outside LA.  I planned on using the two drop bag locations as my "crew" and just hoped like hell I didn't need a pacer in the middle of the night.  I did take my phone with me and took a few videos, which was probably more to keep me sane than anything else.  The progression of videos is pretty funny as you can tell a change in my articulation from the first day, that night and into the next day. I also got enough signal a few time to call Dani and give her some updates.  It was awesome to hear her voice since I was basically out there flying solo.  There was plenty of adventure to be told in such a grueling 100 mile trail race, but I'll keep it short and sweet and let you enjoy the videos and spare you the turn by turn description.  It was brutal, tough, hot, cold, steep, rocky, foggy, windy, lonely, mind numbing, cruel, unforgiving and one hell of a great time.

They spelled Jim wrong, it should be S-H-I-T.

There were some very long climbs on the course.  It seemed like we were either climbing forever or descending forever.  And while descending may sound good to most, when running for over 20 hours straight, the down hills become just as bad, if not worse than the uphills.  Here are a couple videos of one of the worst climbs up Holy Jim Trail.  The total climb was around 11 miles and started just below the trailhead and finished at the top of Santiago Peak.  This is the first video I shot while climbing Holy Jim section.

And here is the second clip of the same section.  It's around an hour later and I'm still on the same climb.  The view backwards shows how far down the start of the climb is.  It was mind boggling.

This one is a video I took while climbing back up Santiago Peak the second time from the other side.  It was about a 5 mile climb that we had to go back up after just having descending it a few hours earlier.  It was very wet and nasty and the rocks at this point felt like nails.  You can also tell I'm getting a bit tired and I was starting to ramble (more than normal anyway).  I even had to cut the video short to get it to send from my phone.  Note the late night sarcasm about it not being rocky.  

This last video was the next day and I was headed for the finish line somewhere around 92 miles in.  After running the whole day prior and all through the night, my mind was getting pretty mushy.  

Being how hard the race looked on paper, my goal time was 30 hours.  I was very excited that I managed a time of 25 hours 56 minutes on such a brutal course.  I definitely missed having a crew and especially having my awesome crew chief Dani with me, but that also added to my sense of accomplishment knowing I did it all on my own and was still able to remain sane and kept it together in tough conditions on a very hard course.  I would recommend this race to anyone looking for an extremely challenging 100 mile trail run.  

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