Pacing RDL100

RDL100 for those of you don’t know means Rio Del Lago 100 … 100 as in ONE HUNDRED MILES … yes 100 miles, no typo there my friends. 100 miles on foot.

So about one month ago, my cousin Edd sent me a text and asked me if I was going to be around the weekend of the 5th and 6th to do some pacing. At that point he wasn’t sure the distance, since he had numerous friends that have helped him in the previous 3 years he has done the race … yes he has completed more than one 100 mile race.

On race day, Edd started the race at 5AM at Beal’s Point, which also was the finish line area. During the week of the race we had a collective of text messages and facebook group post that helped dictate which times his various pacers should be ready for action. Originally my assigned time was around approximately 11PM to be up at ADO (Auburn Damn Overlook) from there Edd and I would travel to Rattle Snake Bar about 9 miles on trails and I would hand him off to another pacer for the final 16 to Beals. On paper this what was was supposed to happen … no let’s get into how it really happened …

So when the race came about a lot of online tracking was being done to get the latest progress of Edd during this run. For the first 19 miles he was killing the course, pacing to run a sub 24 hour, which changed everyones planning and time to be prepared for their duties to assist Edd on his day on the course.

With some exchange of text with Jennifer, Edd’s wife and crew captain, we decided getting out to Beal’s to meet her earlier was a safer decision than the previous estimated time. However, during this time Edd was out on the Way Too Cool 50k loop, which had zero tracking available during that time. So during this time frame it was about hurry up and wait.

9:30PM rolled around … No Edd … 11:00 PM, still no Edd … at this time I decided to take a quick nap as this was the most sleep I would get for a couple of hours.

When 1AM rolled around we got word that Edd should be rolling in shortly in ADO. Here it was it was go time to help Edd get to however far he needed to get in order to get it completed.

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Edd getting crewed / aid at ADO.

Once Edd got some fuel in his stomach and his new shirt on, it was time to get moving along … From here it was up to me to assist Edd in whatever he needed on the course, primarily company since most of the stretches would be just him and I along the single track. In regards to pacing, it wasn’t about hitting times for each mile it was making sure he was moving, walking, shuffling, running as much as he could, it was about just getting him to move forward, closer to the finish with each step.

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It gets dark out on the trails at 3AM

Yes there is a time goal and official closing of the finish line of a 30 hour cut off, but with how he was moving it was without a doubt that finishing would ever be in jeopardy. The focus from a distance standpoint was about getting from aid station to aid station. Some being as close at 2.4 miles to as far as 8.7 miles between aid stations.

As the hours passed and the distance to the finish decreased we got to Rattle Snake Bar, where I was scheduled to pass Edd onto his next pacer, however with the set back he took between miles 45 and 74, it created for additional time into the evening. His next pacer started to feel fatigued as most of us were up all day and now working into Sunday. So it was an at the moment decision that Edd told her to get some rest since I was warmed up and awake. I had the legs in me to go the 24+ miles to the finish from ADO where I picked him up.

So back up Rattle Snake we went with a couple of aid stations to go … The first was Horseshoe Bar about 2.8 miles out … we started to really pick up some movement and got some “running” into the mix over the long distances of power hiking. We got in and out of Horseshoe Bar pretty quickly and started to slingshot other runners at this point in the race. The next aid station would be the furthest one we would have to travel, but with enough fuel in our packs, we were ready to make our way to Granite Beach aid station … the final aid station before the finish line at Beal’s Point.

During this stretch we started to pick up a lot of ground with our movement. Passing a handful of runners and their pacers during this stretch. Finally after a couple of hours in the leg, the sun was starting to come up, this was much different after several hours of pitch black dark with the exception of our headlamp and handheld flashlights.

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Hey look there is actually some natural light! 

As we got into the Granite Beach area, Edd was excited to see his teammates from Folsom Trail Runners that would be welcoming him into the aid station which they managed.

In true Edd fashion he threw back a margarita at the aid station before we headed off … I told him you are 96 miles into this race you deserve that …

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Edd throwing back a beverage before the final 4 miles. 

Just like that we were on our way to the final 4 miles with about 2.5 hours until the official cut off of the course. We had it in the bag it was just about moving forward and making sure he looked fresh as can be for his finish line photo.

As we got closer and closer to the finish line we were able to see more faces along the trails cheering people on the course. In fact as we got to about 2 miles from the finish we could actually see the finish line area just across the levee tops. The skies started to fill with clouds and a light mist started to come down, this was fairly pleasant getting a little bit of a cooling feeling as it started to warm up a tad during the run.

Finally, less than 1 mile to go along the Granite Bay levee near Beal’s point and tons of people would be cheering and encouraging runners to enjoy every step as they got closer to the finish line.

With a quick stop to grab his 4 grand kids to cross the finish line with him, Edd would finish in 28 hour 44 minutes and grab his 4th RDL100 belt buckle!

This was a long but awesome experience. Having been part of a pacing team here at at Western States 100 along with numerous 50 milers, it is a wonderful feeling to be part of these journey’s these endurance runners make. As I posted on Instagram, being a pacer for distances that I have not covered myself, is probably like always the bridesmaid never the bride saying.

Hmmmm I wonder when it will be my turn to take on something long? Currently I have completed one 50k (4:36:09) and two 6-hour endurance runs (covering 39.75 miles and 36.2 miles). Any suggestions on which ones I should look at, as I think about getting into the Ultra Running scene? 

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From my Strava dashboard of the area we covered.

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