Although there are a number of (at least semi-) goal races between now and Summer 2011, if I wanted the least-hassle route of keeping the Western States 100 as an option for next year I needed to cash in on my top-10 status from this year by registering and plunking down my $370 before the end of this week. So I did.
There is a good chance I'll be back at Western States in 2011 (not the least of the motivating factors being the matter that my $370 is non-refundable) despite the fact that I will almost certainly be entering another conflicting (in my mind, at least) lottery sometime soon (cough-Hardrock!-cough).
While the aesthetic and ethic of the Hardrock 100's course is much more my style (unending gigantic alpine passes), the chance to re-engage with the top long-course mountain racers in the world at Western States is pretty hard to pass up. For better or worse, it seems that WS and the Ultra Trail du Mt Blanc have become the two can't-miss stops on the international 100 mile circuit if you are truly interested in racing the best in the world.
I, for one, know that virtually every time I run up Green Mt., an image very much like the one below flashes through my mind at least once:
A crazed yeti chases a diminutive mountain-slayer through the snow at Robinson Flat,
WS100 2010. Rickey follows behind, documenting the moment on video, while I'm
sure Geoff is just out of the frame somewhere. Photo: Mike Redpath.
But Western States and the Hardrock 100 are only the beginning of the lotteries I plan to enter in the next couple months. The Miwok 100K, Wasatch 100, and UTMB all hold their lotteries this time of year too and are all options I would very much like to have remain in play for next year's racing season.
|Like Hardrock, even the best are relegated to a hike on the|
climbs at UTMB. Kilian grunting his way up to La Flegere,
the final crushing ascent of the UTMB route, in 2009.
The scenery can't be beat, though.