The Swinging Restoration

The Last Piece of the American Fire Puzzle

The Swinging Bridge is finally back in business! The bridge, which spans the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River at the base of the Devil’s Thumb climb, has been restored and brought back from the ashes following the 2013 American Fire.  This was accomplished jointly with USFS employees and WStrail.org volunteers. The USFS did a stellar job in getting the bridge done exactly one year after the American Fire was contained. As Craig Thornley, WSER RD, stated, “This USFS team did exactly what they said per our recovery plan in late 2013 — they delivered in a big way — huge thanks”.

The bridge work was completed over 5 days, but many days of planning, procurement, logistics and staging happened before the actual helicopter drops of material and equipment into Devil’s Basin.  We had a large volunteer crew on the ground watching the material being dropped into the canyon on Monday September 15th. “This is actually amazing how good these helicopter pilots are — pin point precision”, stated Bryan Cowger, WSTrail.org volunteer. Monday with the big volunteer crew along with USFS Engineer Ryan Mack’s direction we got the material staged at the bridge in 4 hours. Tuesday construction started with a small crew of USFS personnel and several volunteers. The days were long and there was a lot accomplished through Thursday. The bridge was nearing completion when the plug was pulled Thursday 9/18, and the crews removed due to safety and air quality concerns brought to us by yes another fire — the King Fire.

The King Fire was a fast mover, and actually moved very fast from Pollock Pines along the US 50 corridor to the north, and went all the way to the 2001 Star Fire burn, which in 2001 decimated 14 miles of the historic Western States Trail. The firefighters did their amazing magic, and with the luck of mother nature — a rain storm — the fire has been controlled (the King fire is 98% contained as of 10-3-14)

As the King Fire was reaching containment, and with the air quality improved, USFS personnel and a small volunteer crew were allowed to go back to the Swinging Bridge re-build on Monday September 29th. After another long day this crew got the job done and the bridge was historically restored. All the equipment and some of the old burned up materials were removed. These materials are being stored at the WSER Warehouse for historical safe keeping.

This was the final piece in a very long trail year that mainly focused on American Fire Recovery. Volunteers along with our strong USFS partner made this happen. Thanks to all who have helped either with sweat equity, planning, leadership or financial support. These volunteer and agency assets allow us to keep this precious resource, the Western States Trail, open.

Big Thanks… Put a fork in it — it’s done!!!

WSTrail.org

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The Monday Helicopter Drop Volunteer Crew

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Matt Brownlee, USFS American River Ranger District Trails Manager

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From top left Joe Larkin (WSTF volunteer), Ryan Mack (USFS), Luke Haworth (USFS), Dan Manry (USFS), Mark Lambert (retired USFS), John Catts (WSER volunteer), Dave Noxon (USFS), Craig Thornley (WSER volunteer), Matt Brownlee (USFS)

2014 Brief Race Recap

June 28-29, 2014

  • 376 Starters, 296 Finishers = 78.7% Finish Rate
  • 129 Silver Buckle Winners, 167 Bronze Buckle Winners
  • Champions: Rob Krar 14:53:22, Stephanie Howe 18:01:42
  • Andy Jones-Wilkins and Erik Skaden earn 10-day Buckles
  • Tom Green earns 1000-Mile Buckle
  • High Temp in Auburn on Saturday 89 Degrees (weather history)
  • 1700+ volunteers

Full Results and Splits

And here is our 2014 Sizzle Reel from our friends at UltraSportsLive.tv

Next year’s race is June 27-28, 2015

Ultra-Trail World Tour Press Conference

MEDIA ALERT

CONTACT: John Trent, media relations, (775) 842-4871, president at wser.org

WESTERN STATES 100, ULTRA-TRAIL WORLD TOUR, TO ADDRESS ‘STATE OF THE SPORT’ AT PRESS CONFERENCE ON JUNE 27

AUBURN, Calif. – Media are invited to attend a joint press conference, “The State of the Sport,” sponsored by the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and representatives of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) on Friday, June, 27 in Squaw Valley, Calif.

The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will be held at the Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Several of the world’s finest ultra runners, along with representatives from the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, UTWT, and WS 100 presenting sponsor Montrail will be on hand to discuss this year’s Western States 100-Miler, the UTWT and its impact to date on the sport and upcoming events on the UTWT 2014 schedule. The UTWT is a series of 10 races held across the globe with rankings for runners of all abilities who finish the races. At the culmination of the year, the title of “Ultra-Trail World Tour Champion 2014” will be awarded to the top male and female finishers.

Western States is the only North American stop on the UTWT.

WHAT: Press conference, “State of the Sport,” sponsored by WS 100 and UTWT.

WHERE: Squaw Valley Conference Center, Squaw Valley, Calif.

WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Friday, June 27.

 

2014 WS 100 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: John Trent, media relations, (775) 842-4871, president at wser.org

WESTERN STATES 100 FEATURES DEEP ELITE FIELD, TRIUMPHANT RETURN FROM ‘AMERICAN FIRE’

AUBURN, Calif. – The 41st running of the world’s oldest and most prestigious 100-mile trail race, the Western States 100-Mile Endurance, promises to be one of the most memorable in the event’s long and venerable history.

More than 360 runners, from throughout the United States as well as 25 countries, will toe the starting line in Squaw Valley, Calif., at 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 28 with a clear goal in mind: the finish line 100 miles distant at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif.

The field includes several of the top names in the sport of ultramarathoning, including last year’s women’s champion, Oregon’s Pam Smith, as well men’s runner-up Rob Krar, 37, of Flagstaff, Ariz. The deep competition at the front will be augmented this year with the presence of several international ultra standouts, competing as part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT), a series of the world’s most prestigious ultra runs. The first-year tour has one North American stop: Western States. The group of international stars running at Western States includes such notables as Miguel Heras of Spain, who was second in 2013’s Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), France’s Thomas Lorblanchet, the 2012 Leadville (Colo.) 100-mile champion, Ryan Sandes of South Africa, Western States’ 2012 runner-up, and 2013 IAU world trail champion Natalie Mauclair of France on the women’s side.

As has been the case for the past several years, the depth of the men’s and women’s fields has been deepened thanks to the race’s ongoing relationship with presenting sponsor Montrail and the Montrail Ultra Cup, a nationwide series of trail ultras which guarantees top finishers a spot at Western States. The Montrail Ultra Cup’s men’s and women’s champions will also be crowned during race weekend.

Race Director Craig Thornley said if the talent at the front is any indication of race success, this year’s edition of Western States has the potential to continue the string of recent memorable runs at Western States, such as the “Unbreakable” duel and course record-breaking performance of Geoff Roes in 2010, Timothy Olson’s course record breaking run of 14:46 in 2012, as well as Olson and Smith’s courageous and scintillatingly fast runs in near-record heat in 2013.

“We have a great group of returning runners, some fresh faces we haven’t seen before and some faces we haven’t seen in a couple of years,” Thornley said. “It should add up to an extremely exciting and competitive race. Western States continues to be the most competitive 100-mile race in the world for both men and women. This year is no exception.”

In addition to Krar, who finished in second in 15:22 in chasing Olson (15:17) to the line in 2013, top contenders include: Ian Sharman, 33, of Walnut Creek, Calif., fourth in 2013; Dylan Bowman, 28, of Emerald Hills, Calif., fifth last year; Nick Clark, 40, of Fort Collins, Colo., sixth last year and gunning for Mike Morton’s master’s record of 15:45; Jez Bragg, 33, of Blandford, Forum, Great Britain, and a past top-five performer at Western States; and Max King, 34, of Bend, Ore., one of the most talented and versatile ultra runners in the world who will be making his 100-mile debut at Western States.

On the women’s side, Smith’s run of 18:37 in last year’s oppressive conditions where temperatures topped out well above 100 degrees, remains one of the most impressive efforts in recent memory. The 39-year-old pathologist from Salem, Ore., will be pressed by three-time Western States champion Nikki Kimball, who finished second in 2013; the ageless Meghan Arbogast, 53, of Cool, Calif., fourth last year and generally considered the finest over-50 runner in the world; Emily Harrison, 27, of Flagstaff, Ariz., seventh last year, as well as two young, talented ultra runners who will be marking their Western States debuts: Stephanie Howe, 30, of Bend, Ore., and runner-up to Harrison at the highly competitive Lake Sonoma 50-miler in April; and Kaci Lickteig, 27, of Omaha, Neb., who has third at Lake Sonoma and second at the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler in Texas earlier this year.

An added wrinkle to this year’s race narrative is the course itself. An iconic and historic section of the trail from Last Chance to near Devil’s Thumb was hit hard by last August’s American Fire. The fire, which raged from Aug. 10-29, consumed more than 27,000 acres, involved more than 1,900 firefighters and had a footprint of nearly 30 square miles. Western States, working in collaboration with the Western States Trail Foundation/Tevis Cup horse ride, mobilized a motivated group of volunteers who throughout the winter and fall accumulated more than 6,000 hours to bring the burned areas of the trail back.

The effort included installation of a new bridge where the Pacific Slab Mine Bridge once stood heading into the Deadwood Canyon section of the course (pieces of the new bridge were hauled nearly one mile into the deep, steep canyon, carried on the backs of a group of 50 volunteers), as well as mitigation efforts on burned areas such as the Pucker Point loop near the historic site of Last Chance.

Thornley said he was pleased to report that the approximate 10-mile stretch of the trail that was affected by the fire will be open, with no re-routing of the runners other than a river crossing by safety cable at the bottom of Deadwood Canyon at the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River.

“What our volunteers and the joint trail team between Western States, the Tevis Cup and our partners from the Forest Service have accomplished over the past few months has been really remarkable,” Thornley said. “The community of ultra runners and trail team workers has really come together to accomplish something very special. The Western States Trail is back and open for use. We couldn’t be prouder of what our people have done to help make this happen. A big ‘thank you’ to all of our volunteers.”

This year’s Western States will feature several special events leading up to the race start on the morning of June 28. Here is a brief recap of the week’s schedule:

Tuesday, June 24 and Wednesday, June 25:

8 a.m.-5 p.m., First Annual Medicine in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference in Squaw Valley, led by Western States Medical Research Director, Dr. Marty Hoffman;

Thursday, June 26:

10 a.m., Trek to Emigrant Pass for annual flag raising at Watson Monument. Program begins at noon;

6:30 p.m., Veteran’s Panel hosted by Andy Jones-Wilkins, Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Friday, June 27:

9 a.m.-1 p.m., runner check-in and drop bag drop-off, Start Line Arch at Olympic Plaza in Squaw Valley;

10 a.m., Montrail 6K Uphill Challenge to High Camp;

1:30 p.m., pre-race meeting and briefing, Squaw Valley Conference Center;

2:30 p.m., Ultra-Trail World Tour Press Conference featuring several of the sport’s stars, Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Saturday, June 28:

5 a.m., race start  from Start Line Arch, Squaw Valley;

Saturday evening: Men’s winner expected to arrive at Placer High School track, 7:45-8:15 p.m.; women’s winner expected to arrive at Placer High School track, 10-11 p.m.

Sunday, June 29:

5 a.m., last sub-24-hour silver belt buckle finisher has finished;

11 a.m., last official finisher has finished;

12:30 p.m., awards ceremony at Placer High School track.

2014 Runner Update #3

This email was sent to all entrants on June 10. If you are an entrant and did not receive this, please check your spam folder. 

Presented by

montrail

Dear Runner,

As you may have seen on our Facebook page or in our Twitter feed, the Western States Trail is now completely open with the exception of the Swinging Bridge just below Devil’s Thumb. What that means for you is you get to ford the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River with the aid of a cable at about mile 46 as runners did on Memorial Day weekend. It is currently above shorts level, but it may drop by race day. It will feel very good on race day.

Research

We can still use some help to assure our research will be successful this year. Here’s what you can do:

1. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to go the link http://goo.gl/KXEH4X to complete a short survey related to the psychology study.

2. Please consider participating in the study on gastrointestinal (GI) distress by contacting Taylor Valentino (taylorvalentino@gmail.com) or Dr. Kristin Stuempfle (kstuempf@gettysburg.edu).

3. Please consider participating in the study on cardiac function by contacting Dr. David Oxborough atd.l.oxborough@ljmu.ac.uk.

4. Please plan to get a blood draw after finishing the race. You will get an email within a few hours providing your results.

5. Please find us in the finish line medical tent if you have had vision issues during the race.

6. Please complete our post-race questionnaire on GI distress and hydration that you will receive by email after the race.

Details of each study are available at http://www.wser.org/2014/05/21/2014-research-activities/

Course Preview

This year there will be live video feed from many cameras on the course. In addition to the live feed, here is the course preview created by our friends at UltrasportsLive.TV

Montrail Ultra Cup

Western States is the final event of the 2014 Montrail Ultra Cup. 21 runners have gained entry into this year’s race by finishing top three (or four) at one of the five qualifying races. If you finished at least one of these races and have not signed up, you still have time.

http://blog.montrail.com/2014/06/2014-montrail-ultra-cup-standings/

General Information Form

If you haven’t filled out the general information form, please take a moment and do so right now. It feels good to hear Tropical John Medinger thank your crew and pacers and say whatever you want when you run those final 250 meters around the track at Placer High School.

http://www.wser.org/runner-information-form/

Race Program

Here is a link to the 2014 WS Race Program. A printed copy will be available for you at Squaw Valley when you arrive.

Enjoy the countdown to the race. I won’t tell you how many days until Dr Lind fires the shotgun because you probably already know.

I will send you one final email the week of the race.

Craig Thornley
Race Director