Muleshoe Bend 60k
Spicewood, TX (Muleshoe Bend Recreational Area)
Overall #29 / Ultra #8
This was the second race in the Capt’n Karls summertime race series. It had been three weeks since Pedernales Falls, and I remember spending the week and a half after the race ill-feeling, unable to run or workout, full of body aches and running a low grade fever, and that nagging cough was killing me!
Unlike my experience at Pedernales Falls, this was the first time in which it was sunny outside. Muleshoe Bend is a local recreational area located about 45 miles NW of Austin off SH 71 right before entering Marble Falls. Locationwise, it’s literally the next “bend” next to Pace Bend park where Paleface was held. It was probably about 95 degrees with moderate humidity…
But… it was beautiful out there. Humid and suffocating but beautiful, overlooking this dilated segment of the Colorado River.
I was happy to see the RGV folks down in McAllen (the ones from Sole Racing) come out again. Now THEY are dedicated.. Driving 6-7 hours up north just for the race.
The race started at 7pm and as usual, the fast people took off and I was one of the last in the pack doing a combination of hiking and jogging. This course was different in that it’s mostly single track, very technical with rocks, and had a lot of small dipping up and downs. There was a segment of granite that was just…. man, awful is the most generous word I could use! Also, when there was daylight, I managed to fall (lucky me right?) twice, scraped my left knee and my hands kinda hurt! But I kept on going.
On my return from the first loop, it got dark…
And then the real journey begins, and it’s only been 1/4 of the way.
Muleshoe Bend is a 9.88 or something like that – loop course. Those doing the 30k would do it twice, and those doing the 60 would do it… that’s right. FOUR freakin’ times!! There were 2 aid stations about 3.5 miles apart in between that were fully stocked, which was something that I’d look forward to. Now I had mentioned it was technical, but there were occasional segments that can be ran.
The course just seemed like it’s gonna last forever. Here’s something encouraging along the way to see as I returned each time to the start/finish – the reflection of the moon on the beautiful Colorado River at Muleshoe Bay. The course is heavily wooded, which means it was difficult for me (and many others too) to perspire. Every time we came back onto the start/finish… we felt that warm breeze that would come gushing in and we all be like “aaaaahhhhh”…
Onto the fourth loop. I have to admit, I felt pretty lonely and vulnerable, even though I know people from the last race who are on this course. I was by myself. There was nobody around but me and my light. I started to have a grumbling attitude towards myself and even asking God why am I doing this. I know that I am not going to quit this race, but I wanted to quit this series. After all, if this is overall #29, then Chicago will be #30 anyways! Also, I had justified to myself that although I paid for all 4 races in the series for $370, if I just do TWO, then at least I’ll feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth.
I got to the last aid station, and the guy manning the station (his name was Bill) asked me if I was doing alright.
I told him, “I’m tired man, I’m ready to get this over with”
Bill: “You’re almost there man, are you going to do Colorado Bend in 3 weeks?”
me: “Heck NO man!! I’m tired, exhuasted, and I think I’m the last one on the course, this is depressing, I think I’ve gotten my $$’s worth, so I’m done, no more Colorado Bend”
Bill: “What about Reveille Peak?”
me: “NO, I am done after this…”
Bill: “Well, I tell ya, this course is a tough one. There were quite a few people who DNF’d and dropped out. There were plenty of people who came through this aid station all nausead, vomiting, and feeling cold.”
me: “feeling COLD??? Really??!!”
Bill: “Oh yeah, dehydration that what it does to you… And there was one girl who tripped, scraped her skin off and pretty much exposed her kneecap.”
me: “So, you’re saying I’m NOT the last one to finish this race? How is Colorado Bend and Reveille Peak compared to this one” (feeling a little better about myself…)
Bill: “No you’re not, you’re hanging it in there. Colorado Bend is probably the toughest… You’re starting out at the bottom of a canyon though, that can get up to about 110 degrees with the humidity, and the first two miles are solid climbing. Then you go all the way back down to the river where you will be running on sand, and coming back up. Reveille Peak is just rough on your feet running on granite rock, it’s like running on enchanted rock, and a combination of the techincality as this one.”
Me: “So… if this one is hard, then I dunno about making it to Reveille Peak nor Colorado Bend…”
Bill: “Well, you never know until you try. I’d say you rest up after this race and re-consider coming out there. We’d really hope to see you out there in Colorado Bend.”
Me: “Thanks man, I’ll think about it…”
And I left the aid station with food for thought for the last 2.5 miles or so… For the entire latter half of the race, I felt defeated, run down, discouraged, and un-motivated to continue… To compound this feeling, I was getting desperate and feeling down/anxious about not having a job lined up after my fellowship. After my encouter with Bill at the last aid station, during the wee-hours of the morning (probably around 5 am), I was left with a little bit of hope and encouragement. I still didn’t feel like doing Colorado Bend or Reveille Peak.. but I was like, what if I just do the 30k and get some of my $$’s worth…. Whatever.
I can see the skies lighting up in the background as I made my final approach back to the start/return aid station just before 6 AM on 7/17/16…
When I finished, the start/finish looked a lot emptier for everyone had packed up and left. The last thing I wanted to do was rest. So I laid down on the bench for a brief moment. My finish was 10:54 ish, but I knew that I had chitchatted a bit with Bill talking about the other races.
This was a tough one, both physically and especially mentally. But It’s over. #29 in the books. Colorado Bend was still up in the air. Reveille Peak… oh it makes my brain and legs hurt thinking about it at that time!! Lol