In your best Sean Connery impression say out loud to yourself, "Welcome to the Quad Rock." Makes you smile doesn't it? Make sure you emphasize your pronunciation of ROCK. The chatter and the temps have been heating up in preparation for next weekends inaugural running. This will be the second ultra to call Fort Collins home alongside the one and only year of the Bluesky 50K. With that said I am looking forward to putting my "undefeated record in ultra races occurring in my hometown" on the line. It is equally impressive as my: Walk to Avo's, eat two tempeh burgers, talk smack with the boys, walk back home, FKT of 2:32:45. And there will be the X-Factor to contend with at QR. More on that later.
Here's a look at the boys in the 50 miler:
MIA- Mike Foote, Jason Schlarb
1. David Riddle- 2011 JFK 50 champ and CR of 5:40! Hands down the speedster and naturally gifted runner of the group. His strength is his speed. Most of his results are 50K's with a few 50M and 100K finishes. He wins nearly everything he has raced. The unknowns: his performance at "altitude" and racing a tough 50M with lots of up and downs.
2. Jacob Rydman- He's having a great 2012 with 2 bronze medals at the Cali Spring Classics of WTC and AR. QR will be the toughest 50 he's raced. Running on all cylinders he'll be one to watch.
3. Paul Terranova- he races a lot of 50K's with a few 50 mile/100K finishes. At Bandera he was right behind Clark this year. He could surprise a lot of runners.
4. Jason Koop- More long haul experience (races 50M and above)than the top three runners combined. He's running strong this year- 2nd at RTTM, 2nd at CM50K, and QR will be his 3rd ultra in 4 weeks. Jason and I battled it out last weekend, won't surprise me a a bit if we're side by side with only a few miles to go.
5. Corey Hanson- Bellvue's Best. He knows these trails better than anyone. His house is a 1/2 mile from the start/ finish. He's got the freshest legs of the bunch with QR being his first race of 2012. Reports from BG indicate that he's running strong. His high muscle glycogen stores are a result of years of GHB fueling.
6. Ryan Burch- (let's see if I can pull off this writing in the 3rd person awkwardness). He's put in consistent training this year with weekly track workouts, solid long runs, a 5K PR, and consecutive sub 30 minute PR's on The Hill. He's only raced one ultra in 2012 with a solid run at CM50K. Next to Corey he has the blueprint memorized for these trails. His best distance is 50 miles. The unknowns: is he fully recovered from CM50K to put forth an A effort? How will he handle the hometown pressure to put a W on the board?
7. The X-Factor. This contender can take out anyone racing next weekend in the blink of an eye. Going unnoticed in nearly every race this deadly force can strike at a moments notice. Look out for the Quad Rock Rattler! My Friday and Saturday runs saw my left foot come within 10 inches of two different rattlesnakes. Friday I was off the race course on the Foothills trail when I ran by a disguised rattler next to a yucca plant who started his battle rattle as I passed him. Way too close! Saturdays encounter was even more alarming. I was ascending the summit rock of Arthur's. 10 feet from the summit coiled up in a small depression on the rock I passed a small two footer who was eerily quiet in the shade. I "woke it up" to distance the snake from the most popular hiking destination in Lory and alerted the ascending groups of hikers on my way down. Needless to say...good luck and watch your step next weekend!