Finally, Bighorn ultramarathon is within sight

9 May
Bighorn Mountains, Sheridan, Wyoming

The Bighorn Mountains tower over an old barn near Sheridan, Wyo. Photo by Betty Jo Tindle, Creative Commons license, via Wikimedia Commons.

The moment of reckoning for my “A” race in 2014 is rapidly approaching.

Every year, I set a running goal that takes me out of my comfort zone, as I wrote about in this blog post. This year, my stretch goal is the Bighorn Trail Run 50-miler.

I completed my first ultramarathon last year when I ran the nearby  Potawatomi Trail Run 50. So while I was sitting around this winter, it seemed like a good idea to tackle another 50-miler, this time in the mountains of Wyoming.

Why the Bighorn race? I used to live in Montana, and my sister and family lived in Sheridan, Wyo., which is the main headquarters for the race. I love Wyoming. I love the Bighorns. And it just seemed like a worthy stretch goal.

I’m not going to bore you with the usual rundown on my training. My hamstring hurt, my mileage has suffered, yada yada yada. The altitude worries me, the elevation gain worries me, yada yada yada. If it was all easy, it wouldn’t be a stretch. In about a month, I’ll know how big of a stretch it was.

I signed up for the race on the day that registration opened (Jan. 10), so I’ve been eagerly pointing toward June 2o ever since. That’s given me plenty of time to research the race and the area. If you’re interested in learning a little more, here are some useful links:

  • Bighorn Trail Run home page. The race features 30K, 50K, 50M and 100M distances.
  • Course description
  • Elevation profile
  • Here are a couple of reviews on the race, one by Sherpa John and another by Greg Redding. Both of these posts are about the 100, but it’s an out-and-back course, so the 50 starts at the midpoint for the 100. Here’s a post from Ultrarunning magazine.
  • Barb is on the waiting list for the 30K (18 miles). Here’s a good blog post about that run.
  • Here’s a link to Sheridan, Wyo., and a map locating Sheridan, and a map locating Dayton, which is the actual finish for the race.
  • Since the 50 starts on top of the mountain at nearly 9,000 feet, weather has been a concern. Here’s a link to several weather stations on the mountain. If you hover your mouse over the blue dots, the name of the station will appear. Look for the dots northwest of Sheridan. “Bald Mountain Campground” is near the start line. The race proceeds to the east from there, and ends in the valley in “Dayton.” We’re still a month out, so the weather will change a bunch, but right now, it’s still snowing on the mountain.
  • If you like to read novels or watch Westerns, the Bighorns may seem vaguely familiar. Perhaps you know them as the stomping grounds of Walt Longmire, the sheriff of the fictitious Absaroka (Wyo.) County. The books, by Ucross, Wyo., author Craig Johnson, are engrossing, and the A&E television series is entertaining.

Closer to race day, I’ll post a link that will allow you to follow my progress — maybe. I’m just not sure how well everything is going to work in the backcountry.

Wish me well on my last few training runs and say a little prayer on June 20th.

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7 Responses to “Finally, Bighorn ultramarathon is within sight”

  1. Jim Brennan May 10, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    Good luck! You will make it, I’m sure of it. You have the right stuff, in the legs, but more importantly between the ears and in the heart.
    jim

    Like

    • msmidt May 10, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks for the kind words, Jim. I am really looking forward to the challenge.

      Like

  2. RIck June 7, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    Good Luck, be out there behind you somewhere slogging along.

    Like

  3. Betty Tindle April 11, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

    Thank you for using one of my photos! Was surprised to see it here. (It is ok, just don’t think anyone has ever used a picture of mine that I recall.) Anyway, just wanted to say thank you. Betty J. TIndle

    Like

    • Mark Smidt April 12, 2016 at 8:06 am #

      The photo did a nice job of capturing the Bighorns from the valley and really helped place the area for readers. Thanks, Betty!

      Like

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