As Andrew moves into the final throws of his taper, we were reflecting whilst lounging by the pool in Auburn that the depth of running talent centred around this area is immense. When you factor in the number of endurance athlete hubs around the Sierra and Rockies such as Boulder and Silverton, that amounts to a considerable depth of running resources the US can deploy at any race.
We all know that access to the WS100 is a lottery, but for those unlucky to be able to run this year will put their energies into helping the participants fulfil their goals. Take for example the runner Andrew and I bumped into when running the final sections of the WS100 course from Highway49 over the No-Hands Bridge and up into Auburn and the finish at the track.
His name is Jacob Rydman and he will be pacing hot favourite Nick Clark this year. We got to spend an hour hearing Jacob’s views on running, how he got into the sport and what he saw unfold at last years race when Kilian just pipped Nick for third place. Jacob actually pointed out to to us the actual hill that Nick first passed Kilian in the last 10kms and the reaction from Kilian will go down in ultra history (you need to know a few French swear words to understand).
Jacob sums up the depth of talent in this area alone. His results in the 50 milers to date are awesome and he will no doubt learn some lessons later this year when he attempts his first 100 miler at the Tahoe Rim 100. We wish him good luck and look forward to the day he toes the line at WS100 and another young up and coming talent will be pacing him from Foresthill School.
As for our views of the last sections of the course to the finish. Well it is definitely a race that will keep you honest until you put that first foot on the hallowed running track in Auburn. The last few miles have a couple of nice little hills to keep you racing until the very end as Nick Clark found out in his duel with Kilian.
Next stop for us is to move to Squaw Valley today, where things will start to feel very real !