Psycho Wyco Race Report

What a way to kick off the 2011 season! A brutal 10 miles of snowy trails, hills, more hills and… Did I mention snowy hills?
Lessee… Words to describe this race… Insane? Awesome! Fun? …absolutely. If the rest of 2011 is anything like this, my number one goal… “Have Fun”, is in the bag…!
See, normally… When a race site gets over a foot of snow the race gets canceled. But Psycho Wyco is Psycho for a reason. First… It’s awesome. And awesome races don’t cancel for minor accumulations of snow… Second, it’s a trail race. Trail races DON’T CANCEL!! In fact… He gnarlier the better. And this one was gnarly…
The venue:
Wyandotte Park is just inside Kansas west of Kansas City. If you think that means “flat” … Well …yer stupid. The trails around the park are awesome. Twisty, turny, steep, rocky (so they tell me… There was too much snow to see many rocks) and heavily wooded, the trail winds around the lake. But don’t worry, you will never see any of that. To quote another famous race. If you look up… You will go down.
This day the trail was 98% snow covered. Some hard packed, some deep powder, some slick and snotty.
Let’s talk trail races:
This was only my second trail race and the previous months weather had made training impossible. I got as many trail runs in as I could, but had to admit to myself that I was WAY undertrained for this event. As such, I decided that my goals for the race were to simply have fun, race within my limits and finish. With that said, I turned to my race kit. The weather turned warm for the first time in ages and I was completely baffled by what to wear. I finally decided on midweight everything. Skull cap, single (heavyweight) New Balance, winter, wicking, long sleeved jersey, heavyweight NB tights, Smart Wool (best socks ever) socks, lightweight Asics gloves and NB trail shoes. I agonized before the race about wearing my YakTrax but listening to people talk about last year and hw the trail ate YakTrax for breakfast, I finally caved in and screwed my shoes…
I’ll leave that last sentence for you to play with…
What I mean is (ya perverts) I put 3/8″ hex head machine screws like cleats in the bottoms of my shoes. In hindsight I think the YakTrax would have been fine since we were in such deep snow. Still, the screws worked fine.
I wore my Camelback hydration pack and carried about half capacity of water since it was a short race as well as Clif shots and a Power Bar. I also stuck my wind shell in the pack, just in case but I didn’t need it.
My race:
I started out mid pack in a field of over 250. Not bad for a late February race in crazy conditions. The temp at race start was a balmy 31 degrees. When the horn sounded we took off at a shuffle through what would actually prove to be the deepest snow on the course. I really tried to force myself to just jog along and settle in. It took almost a mile for the pack I was in to spread out. I kept telling myself that, at this point, in these conditions, doing anything other than devoting my entire attention to what lay 3 feet in front of me was stupid.
The trail went up a hill in the first mile and then rolled along some high ground for a while. I cruised the ups, ran the flats and picked it up on the downs. I passed a few people, got passed a few times, but really didn’t care. I kept reciting my goals. I settled in a group and just let the miles come to me. In mile three we entered a twisty, turny section that I really wanted to sled on! For the first time in a race… I played. I slid down, ran too fast and grabbed trees and swung around them on tight corners. At one point I got way to close to the guy in front of me and just as he slipped. I just caught him and tossed him back on his feet! My good deed for the day was done!
The trail wound around a lot and then went down a STEEP hill. I went WAY too fast down it but I lived…! However, when I got to the bottom I went left at the sign that said “go left” but was so busy paying attention to the trail that I missed the sign guiding me from there and began a 7 minute detour up a SICK hill.
Crap.
My “race” was over at this point. The two poor slobs that followed me (including the guy I caught) eventually discovered the error of my ways and we got back on course, bit still… It was a little demoralizing. In my defense, I was just following footprints and it was obvious that MANY people had made the same mistake as the path was pretty worn in. No matter, it was my error and actually kind of funny. Nothing to do but keep going.
I hit the 5 mile mark and started to feel sore. The hill from the bottom of the dam to the top of the road was steep. But it was the only part of the race on the road so I pushed to the top. I joined a couple of my local running friends from Columbia on the hill and ran with them for most of the rest of the race. Miles 8-10 were a blur of tough hills with way too short a flat section or downhills between them… 😉 The guy I caught and I swapped places a lot so we talked a bit and he warned me to save myself for the last mile because there were big hills in it. I guess that was the karma in the catch because he wasn’t kidding. The hills weren’t long but they were STEEP! At the last aid station I started cramping up. My calves mostly, and not a lot, but I could feel them getting worse, especially on the uphills, so I backed off and just tried to run what I could. Downhills didn’t hurt so I pounded those and then walked the ups.
I managed to finish in 2:11 but if you take off the 7 minute detour it’s much closer to my secret goal of a sub 2 hour race. I’m good with that. I lived, didn’t get hurt and had FUN. So I win!
Would I do this race again… Yes. It’s well organized, well attended and the people are really fun.
Would I recommend this race to a friend… Yes. But you better be in shape… It hurts!
Conclusion:
My quads hate me. My calves are still pissed. But I had a great time. For a first race of the year…? I’ll take it!

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One Response to Psycho Wyco Race Report

  1. Wilhelm vF says:

    LOL, glad you had fun. Hope the year continues to be good for you and Hope!

    MJR

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