Peterson Ridge Rumble – 2012

This past weekend was the 2012 version of the Peterson Ridge Rumble. If you have followed this site I first competed in this race last year setting my personal distance record in the event. This year I have some longer races on the calendar, so I included this race as build up to the longer ones I hope to do later in the year. The Peterson Ridge Rumble is a low-key Ultra Marathon located in Sisters, OR. It is part of the Oregon Trail Ultramarathon Series of events. This year was the 10th year for the race, and I could tell there were more runners at the start line compared to last year.

[button url=”” style=”black” size=”small”] Last Year’s Race Report [/button]

One thing that is interesting with this race is the route is not exactly the same as last year. This makes it a bit difficult to truly compare this year’s performance to last years. This is due to the Sisters Trail Alliance is always adding new single-track trails to the area, and the race director likes to use these trails over the forest service roads when available. This year’s course was about 90% on the same course as last year. There was a lollypop of poor roads removed from the first loop, and it was replaced by some single track on the first loop and some better forest service roads on the second loop. Unlike last year where the first loop was 25 miles, and the second loop was 15. This year seemed a bit closer to even. I am not sure exactly how close as my watch mysteriously lost all my data. I am not sure about all these changes, but this is what it seemed like to me.

Me in the Back Right at the Start

The day was forecasted for sun and mid 60’s weather. I once again started out at the back to avoid going too hard from the start. Last year, I was much more nervous about the distance but starting out slowly I could manage my exertion and had a good race. It did not take long this year until my competitiveness took over, and I started to pick the pace up slightly. I had been running a little faster this year so the increase in pace got me closer to what I had been running this spring. The course follows some flat roads for a couple of miles before getting on single-track for the gradual climb up to aid station 3. This section is single-track through the Peterson Ridge Trails and has some amazing views of the cascades the higher you go. On this section I slowly made my way up through the field. I had to make a bathroom break at mile 5 and then another at mile 9 that set me back a bit so I had to pass some racers several times. I hope they were not too annoyed with me.

At around mile 11 is aid station 3 at the Three Creeks Road. Last year, this was the beginning of a 4-mile lollypop section which was my least favorite section of the course. This year they removed this section, which did not make me sad. I did, however, almost run through the turnaround as I figured that it was still part of the course. Thanks to the aid station volunteer who turned me around. =) At this point the course begins the slow descent back to where we came from. The trails are different than the ones coming up and really smooth. In this section I think I started running a bit faster than I should have been, ticking off miles at an 8:00 pace and passing a bunch of people. Near the bottom, we caught up with the 20-mile racers who were finishing their loop. Since their race started one hour after ours the racers I ran into were from the front pack which made for an interesting mix on the trails. There were some of the early 40-mile starters, regular 40-milers, and 20-milers. All three of these groups were running at different paces, which made for lots of passings and getting passed.

At Mile 20

Down to the road I was still feeling pretty good. My IT Band was really sore but other than that I was moving well. It felt like the race was flying by, especially since we were at the road a couple of miles earlier than last year. I ran until mile 20 and decided to take a second to try to stretch my IT Band, which did nothing. I also texted Melissa and pulled out my burrito. For this race, I decided to try some of the homemade energy foods I had made for my nutrition. I added a couple of gels in there and was going to have just water as my drink. At mile 20 I scarfed down half my burrito as I enjoyed the view of the stream. Every time I started to run again those first steps were extremely painful. My IT Band would throb for a couple of steps and my running form would suffer a bit as well. This section the course begins the second loop and climbs a steeper section of forest service roads before descending back into Sisters. The road section was not bad and walking some of the hills actually helped my IT Band a little.  Shortly before the last climb I remembered from last year the course took a left onto a new road that took us out a bit further and made up some of the lost miles from the first loop. It was in this section that I started to implement a bit more of a run/walk strategy to manage effort levels and pain.

At Mile 30

Once at the top of the climb the course turned onto the Metolius-Windigo Trail for the descent back to Sisters. This trail was part of the course last year and was much rougher than the other single-track on the course. The Metolius-Windigo Trail is a popular horse trail so it is a bit rough with hoof prints. Once on the trail I also decided to pull out my music for motivation on the way in. I was in a groove and trying to push through as best I could to the finish. At the last aid station, I knew I had only five and a half miles to go but also knew it would be much different than last year. At this point in the race last year I picked up the pace and finished strong. This year I had to walk/run this section. I even missed a turn at one point as the flags were low, and I was just plodding along. At about the time I was thinking I must have taken a wrong turn; I saw three runners coming toward me thinking the same thing. I turned around with them, and we backtracked until we saw the correct turn. It was a bit of a bummer, but it happens so no need to get flustered by it. I think I ran an extra mile which probably makes this course almost the same length as last years.

The last couple miles were a tough stretch, but I was able to manage the best I could. Once reaching the track, I could see the clock and knew I had beaten last year’s time, though I felt much worse. I was not able to sprint the track like I would have liked to, instead I kept my slow plod and finished in 6:39:12. This put me in 77th place out of 145 finishers. Right in the middle of the pack. All in all, I think the course was slightly shorter than last years and even with my extra mile thrown in there I would say it came in a half mile shorter. I still was able to beat my pace by a couple seconds which I was happy about. I still feel like my nutrition has some way to go. I need to take in more liquids and find something appetizing after 20 miles. It was hotter than I expected it to be and I did not adjust well enough. I did not have any stomach issues late in the race which was a good thing. While I carried everything I needed on my back, I would rather not have to do this as it definitely made me sore later.  Every race is a learning opportunity and at least there are a couple of things to work on. Thanks to the race organizers and volunteers for being out there and helping us through the day. This race has a great atmosphere and is worth doing if you want a fun race. The 20-miler even allows dogs! As always, your mileage may vary.

Add 1 hour, clock is 20-mile times.

Gear Used

  • Saucony Peregrine Shoes – No blisters and no issues over the whole course. My feet got tired as they are fairly flexible.
  • Mountain Hardwear Fluid 6 Pack – Has been comfortable for run up to 20 miles but did not fully agree with me today. I had to keep tightening the straps which is annoying.
  • GoLite 12″ Mesa Shorts – I like the full coverage but the tag left marks.
  • Columbia Omni-Freeze Ice SS Baselayer – Not sure if I can tell if the cooling effect is working.  Comfortable nonetheless.
  • Haglofs Intense Zip – Only had on for the first 5 miles or so.  I like this top, LS but not too warm.
  • CEP Running Compression Socks – No blisters and my calves felt good during the race, sore afterward.
  • Timex GPS Run Trainer – Loved the drink and eat reminders.  Gave good data until it paused on its own.  Missed a couple miles there and then all my data was erased. That may or may not have been my fault.

About the Author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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