Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bogong to Hotham Preview

A big race like this deserves some decent preparation, and although I can't really say that I've been ticking all the boxes with my phycical preparation (terrible time of year for that!), I do at least have a bit of spare time to dedicate to the mental side of things.

I've been asking lots of questions from people that have done the race before, trying to get a feel for the race and the conditions. I've also had a really good look at the elevation charts and compared them to similar lengthed trail runs that I've done before.

This is the mapmyrun elevation profile of B2H

Minimum Elevation: 604m
Maximum Elevation: 1981m
Total Ascent: 2614m
Total Descent: -1409m

Compare this to the 43km Deep Space Mountain Marathon of 2010, my (previous) measure of all things painful (not including 100km+ races)

Minimum Elevation: 704m
Maximum Elevation: 1369m
Total Ascent: 1513m
Total Descent: -1478m

And it makes the 45km 6 Foot Track look like a real track race!

Minimum Elevation: 272m
Maximum Elevation: 1217m
Total Ascent: 1056m
Total Descent: -1227m

What I really like about the mapmyrun graphs are the coloured gradient scales. These are a much more accurate way of comparing the courses. Don't be fooled by the similar sized axis of the graphs either, take a closer look at the scales and you'll see why the gradient colour of the B2H literally go off the scale!

The first major climb in the B2H is The Staircase to the Summit of Mt Bogong, and this will no doubt be a massive test. It will suit the strong walkers in the field, and look out for guys like Damon Goerke to go well here. Damon literally walked away from me up Kedumba in TNF100 last year, and was able to put a significant enough gap between us to finish ahead of me, even though I started slightly ahead of him at the bottom!

The big decline taking runners down to Big River should be one of my strongest sections - I hope. I know my INOV-8 X-Talons will hold up well here too!

The next climb up Duane Spur is another 20+ gradient climb, although not as long as the first climb. After this climb the race elevation settles down a bit thankfully and its along here where the faster marathoners will come into their own.

One last viscious descent and a small ascent up to Mt Hotham and you are at the finish after 64km of running (and no doubt a fair bit of walking). The boys at Ultra168 have really talked up this race, and good on them for bringing exposure to the race for it. Personally, I think every runner on the day will be fighting their own personal battle on the day - it's going to be one of those races where just finishing will be the main goal!