Dec 14, 2009

Chimera 100M

This past weekend was the first annual Chimera 100-mile endurance run. With 48000' of elevation change (24K up and down), this race has an impressive elevation profile, and if there's a second (and third, etc.) annual event, this race will almost certainly build a reputation as being one of the more difficult 100-milers in the country. And, it doesn't hurt when it attracts a mega name, in ultrarunning circles, Karl Meltzer.

This course is near and dear to my heart because it is located only a 20-minute drive from where I grew up in San Juan Capistrano, CA. We lived in the shadow of Santiago Peak, locally known as Saddleback Mountain. This race climbs over the Santiago Peak.

Check out this thing I dug up from over ten years ago (!!). Santiago was the first non-trivial mountain I ever climbed.

Anyway, I was talking to my parents on the phone on Friday, and I brought up this race because it's still close to where they live. They suggested that it might be canceled due to weather. Yes, rain is unusual in Southern California, but come on - it takes more than a little (or even a lot) of rain to cancel a 100-mile ultra. There are only a few days per year when this peak gets snow (there are only a few peaks in Southern California high enough to get snow, and this is probably the lowest of them), and when I found out that there was snow up there this weekend, I got really excited.. and told my parents about how that wouldn't cancel it either. After all, I've seen (and been) races with truly nasty conditions that weren't canceled. And check out the weather/snow in some of the scenes from my favorite ultrarunning video:

(if you can't see the video above this line, please click here to view it.)

However, in an incredible event of bad luck, Chimera was indeed canceled but not due to rain or mud. Apparently, two aid stations set up along the ridge were torn apart by 50-mph wind. Given the climate of the area, it can't be more than a one or two-day per year event that would give sufficient reason to cancel this race. However, when Meltzer (who is in the above video in some of the nastier conditions) agrees with the decision to cancel, you know it must have been nasty as hell up there.

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