Sunday, May 31, 2009

Challenging the Mountain

Yesterday was the Evaro Mountain Challenge in, on and around the wonderful ranch of Bob Hayes in Evaro (NW of Missoula on Hwy 93). It lives up to the name; and, is, in fact, a rightfully challenging race.

The 5K is a pretty basic out and back with an uphill grade going out and a nice downhill grade coming back in.

The 10K is a modified loop and is much more challenging than the 10K. It's a mix of challenging climbs in the first half, a wide variety of footing (dirt roads, single track trails, double-track jeep trails, and self mad forest trails on dirt and grass). It's amazing to realize that the course records are really quite fast (both held by the Hunts (Ray and Nicole) from 2002 and 2003 I believe). The men's record is 32:54 and the women's is 38:38. If you've run this race before, you'll realize that those are stellar performances.

Well, the records are still safe after this year; but, some of the Missoula speedsters came out and made a run for them.

On the men's side, Jimmy Grant and Keifer Hahn went out hard and fast, taking advantage of good spring fitness. They clearly gapped the rest of field within the first couple of hundred meters and never looked back. After a close race for the duration, Jimmy prevailed by 10 seconds over Keifer, 33:20 to 33:30 with Jimmy missing the record by a mere 26 seconds.

Third overall in the men's race, and first master was your very own Muddy Buzzard. Not really the performance that I'm really hoping for; but, every event seems to be a bit of an improvement. So, I guess I just have to be patient. Not really even being in the same race as Grant and Hahn, I was almost 5 minutes back of them, finishing in 37:55. My only real solace is that I was under Nicole's record. Hey - we have to take the small victories wherever we can !!!!

On the women's side, Rye Palen went out hard, setting her sights on the record. Fighting the footing over the 2nd half of the race, Rye missed out by 36 seconds with a 39:14. 2nd women was Jennifer Sauer in 45:40 and 3rd overall (and 1st Master) was Pam Schiemer in 46:26.

It was a great morning for racing. Mostly calm, with overcast skies; and, maybe in the low 60's. And the setting is fantastic. Great forest roads and trails and the Haye's property is a real gem. It also has a history that is connected to running from back in the Native American days (Jimmy Grant made mention of this as we were talking post race) - here's a link to a story on a Montana history blog about the run -

It was a fun, old school race that I would recommend to anyone in the area.

The Muddy Buzzard.

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