Until now, I had been registered for the "CCC" (Courmayeur Champex Chamonix) 100K trail race, which is run prior to the 100 mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in the heart of the Alps in two weeks. The CCC is considered the junior varsity version of the UTMB, and if I had gone over I'd planned on switching over to the varsity UTMB team in order to get my full meal deal of experience in the Alps. As it is, I can't go over this year to run either race; I just can't get the time off as it is the fist week of the fall semester. If the race were one week earlier I would have been carbo loading on escargot and stinky cheese with the finest American contingent of ultrarunners sent over the big pond. They will be running one of the hottest contested international events in years, beyond anything that has been run on US soil thus far. I will be following closely online rooting for the Yanks to bring it home.
Lately, this evolution in long mountain running has been truly cool to experience. The North Face 50 last December saw a decent set of Euros come over. WS 100, although very limited in accessibility to elites or anyone, was as international as anything yet put on. Hardrock, even more limited than WS, did an okay job of representation of internationals. Unfortunately, the US side of ultrarunning is only getting increasingly limiting, as the supply of races is not meeting demand.
I would love to be ten years younger to be able to fully embrace this change; as it is I am trying my best to maintain the highest level of running given the cards I am dealt, and still can usually show a full house to those assembled at the poker table. Still got a bunch of tricks up my sleeve to come. That said, the next long mountain running game is the Waldo 100K in Oregon. It is high time to get up north to check this one out, and the only other Northwestern race I have run so far in the White River 50 years ago. This race has been on my list for five years now, and should be a decent turnout with a few other fast guys showing up.
The UROC is five weeks later out on the East coast; I will surely be there for a whooping in the hills of Virginia.
Training-wise, recently I found that I thought was a 1500 foot ridge just to the West of our place in Novato is actually 1800', which means I have been training 20% more vertical than what I thought! This is kind of like finding that old $20 in your jeans pocket, a real find which adds value to your day. This explains why I had been feeling a bit more beat up that usual this summer, and now I'm sure I was overtraining as I did several days of multiple laps on this hill in the heat. This is fine with me, as the long-term benefits may pay off.
UTMB.. maybe next summer!