Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jorge Maravilla is ULTRA'S new rising STAR! - Whiskeytown 50K 2011

Greeting Jorge Maravilla before he goes out and destroys this awesome new WT50K course.

I was ultra lucky to put this race on my schedule. I will call this a tame trip compared to earlier roadies this year.

Located in Whiskeytown near Mt Shasta in Northern California, why hadn't anyone told me how good of a run this is?

Having already made a trip through this area to Ashland for Hal and Carley's Pine to Palm 100 (my blog posting) race in September, I was excited to go back. (Notice Rogue Valley Runner Visor in photo :)

Speaking of road trip... If you were to start at the Calexico or Mexicali borders and work your way up to the Calore or Orefornia borders, you will simply noticed one major change - more TREES! One of the nice things about ultrarunning, expecially on hot days, its nice to have the trees to protect you from the direct sunlight. It's also nice to have them for the simple sake that they are stunningly beautiful while emanating forest freshness we all love. And depending on the type of trees, they can shed needles or leaves to make your trail running experience even softer than you already experience.

This race occurred  on October 22nd of this year. That's 5 plus weeks ago. Yah yah, I know, later and later with my blog releases. :-)

The reason I wanted to make sure I got this blog out this week is to not only promote this race for upcoming years, but to further publicize the rise of Jorge Maravilla. With The North Face Endurance Challenge looming  in a few days, and a $10,000 first prize, I had to write this so you can root for one more person. Let's call him a dark horse, a midnight racing thoroughbred badass. My monopoly money is on him to win it! Why the prediction? Cuz everyone else is doing it and I wanna play the game too.

My favorite ultra race prognosticator (as probably yours too) is Karl Meltzer. He has posted odds for many races over the years.  Bryon Powell ( always seems to get a good contest going around Western States. This time its AJW (ala BP) with a prediction game for a  new  Pantagonia Christmas sweater  (ok...Holiday Sweater) . Roes and Wardian are the obvious picks, and right they should be. But this is great time to bet on a longshot on home turf. Local superstar Dave Mackey is  recovering from being sick too much recently, and 50K Course Record GOD (see ultrasignup finishes), Leor Pantilat isn't running (only one 50 mile - 6:01 Quicksilver 50- under his belt and just set CR at Quad Dipsea). Whoah nellie... if Pantilat was running, I'm picking him.

Back to Jorge. He has had a Kentucky Derby like year with wins at Tahoe Rim Trail 100M (his first 100M), Bishop High Sierra 100K (his first 100K), and most recently, Whiskeytown 50K, a course record 4:01 with 7,900 feet of gain and a crazy uphill snaking rocky creek crossing for a mile and a half. Besides, this dude is chill, cool like the other side of the pillow. I first met Jorge at TRT at the awards ceremony, and thought to myself how is cool is this guy to come around and congratulate other finishers that he had never met. Then, I literally ran into him at Headlands 100M a month later where we are both pacing runners. His runner reversing direction and in the lead, stopped to say hi while his runner was in first place by only a few minutes at mile 80 or so. When it really comes down to it, I'm gonna route and pick the ones I know and want to see succeed. Jorge is as down to earth and most runners you meet, and always smiling.

And, my second pick is Ian Sharman (The North Face), holder of the fastest 100M on trail in the US and other costume oriented finishes.  This Brit is a straight up gentleman and always sincere. How can you not root for him either?

"Go get uze sum of dat" cash brutha's.

Now that I got that out of the way. I want to highlight the crazy river crossings I was referring too earlier. Around mile 20, we started a 2-3% climb on a mossy single track that kept crossing over the creek 17 times. It looked something like this...

After running 31 miles with an elevation gain of 7,800 feet, I couldn't believe what I saw on the board when I arrived... Jorge's 4:01. A new course record on an equal or harder course. Impressive regardless.

Quicksilver RC's runners...
Greg, Pierre, and Dan.
...a little tricky with water and boulders, but this is why we do it, right?

Roxanne Woodhouse, Jenny Capel, and Luanne Park... chatting it up before race.

1. Jorge Maravilla 4:01
4. Pierre Couteau  4:49 Quicksilver
6. Dan Decker 5:04 Quicksilver
19. me
The Ladies
1. Roxanne Wooodhouse 4:59
2. Jenny Capel 5:12
3. Bev Anderson-Abbs 5:30

Luanne Park won the 30k
Lisa Decker got 5th. Good luck with you first 50K, Lisa!
I, once again, shared this experience with Pierre Couteau and Dan Decker of Quicksilver RC. The three of us previously road tripped to Tahoe for TRT and successfully climatized, camped and finished what we started. Again, go read that blog for good entertaiment value. A little twist this time... Dan's wife, Lisa made the trip with us. So, for obvious reasons, we left the heavy boozing, strip clubs, and crack house stories for another time. Lisa helps me tye this to The North Face this weekend, as she is running it too. While not the 50 mile for all the money, she will be running her first 50K. Therefore, she ran the 30K at Whiskeytown with great success... Go Lisa!!!

Dan and Lisa before the start of the race.

Lisa video shot.
This race is put on by SWEAT Running Club - Shasta Wonderland Elite Athletic Team. As far I as I can tell from the SWEAT RC website, this was the 12th edition of this race. However, this year they changed the course. People that I spoke to after said this was a welcomed and most enjoyable modification. They kept the stream crossing part.,.. of course.  About mile 18 or so we came upon an area of wild apple trees with  guided groups plucking apples, drinking wine, and picnicing.

Here are some of the volunteers and SWEAT runners that made this a perfectly executed event. Get there next year!

And then we have the awesome photos from the run...