MORMON PIONEERS FOLLOWED THIS PATH
ALSO WITHOUT PAVEMENT.
On three hours' sleep, waking up at 2:00 a.m., I set out at 3:45. Good coolish temps, in stark contrast to what will oppress the afternoon (even an 11:00 a.m. finish will find the mercury at 90ish). Elevation about 5800 ft., 1.5 miles gently down led and then seven more miles up. Stars and crescent moolight gave a surreal view of the stark black asphalt with the sharp white edge lines.
The race started officially around the time I made the m5 turnaround. I started meeting lead runners during m5/6. After the m7 sign I turn right on Emigration Canyon Road (el. 5923) to begin a 1.4 mile climb up "Little Mountain."
Heading up Little Mountain, looking back where I've been
Several switchbacks lead me to the summit. My zig-zag ascent provides less of a struggle than I expected, especially at over a mile above sea level. I now have enough dawn light to discern the landscape. Eventual winner Jonathan Ndambuki passes me during m8 just before I reach the summit (el. 6227) and begin an eight-mile downhill into the valley, following the path the Mormon settlers took.
Steady and fairly steep downhill over the next couple of miles gives splendid mountain views. A sharp turn takes me back toward Salt Lake City. I have good daylight now and the morning air remains comfortable. In this case the mile-high sign just before m13 provides reassurance: I'm still headed down.
I make my first sock change at the m14 aid station. Soon after, the road becomes Sunnyside Boulevard. From here it becomes mostly just another city course.
At the University/Research Park the roads keep grinding upward—not terribly steep, but persistent. I take plenty of fluids but I can't slake the thirst. I feel some stump pain that warrants a sock adjustment at m18. A sharp downhill in m19 (below) gives a nice view of the city.
More downhill and a final sock change at m21 finds significant blistering. A series of 90-degree turns through residential areas leaves me westbound on North Temple. With the Days of '47 Parade underway I take the alternate route parallel through nondescript downtown. The blocks drag by as I slog toward the finish at Liberty Park (el. 4220).
They provide only water, PowerAde, and bananas. I know I'm here late in the schedule, but for such an otherwise well done event, the paltry provisions appall me. The temperature sits probably in the high 80's; it'll hit over 100 this afternoon. Glad I'm done.
Back at the hotel I shower, and treat my substantially blistered stump. I watch the Tour de France while waiting on my pizza. Having watched Lance and company careen along France's highways over the last three weeks, I feel thankful that I had only six and a half hours, only 26.2 miles.