Race Reports - The Portal Road
By Steve Matsuda
The following are comments from runners and their crews, primarily on the Mt Whitney Portal Road, on the morning of Day three of the 2007 Kiehl’s Badwater Ultramarathon.
Kent Moeller #79 – Thought it was great. Under 48 hours. It was so hard and so mean, I wanted to die. If not the sun, then the mountains or the finish. Everything was hard. It was the hardest I’ve ever done because of the (natural environment).
FINISH = 47:05:57 BUCKLE !!!
Erhard Weiss #56 – His crew says he got very tired but the race was going better than last year and he’s faster than last year. It took him over 57 hours last year. His feet hurt and he had a little problem with his stomach the last miles. He’s happy.
FINISH = 53:23:46
Ian Parker #75 – Crew says he’s doing OK. Hit a low point around the Olancha turnoff. He was feeling shaky when he got up and couldn’t walk so they drove him into the aid station in Lone Pine. He was slightly hyponatremic and his weight had gone up so he took some salt and he settled down and now he’s doing well. He doesn't have the "Whitney Tilt" as he usually does. He’s a Badwater veteran but this might be the first time he’s ever been “vertical” going up the Portal Road. He’s normally bend way over to one side. He says it’s a good year, better than last year when he finished with less than 20 minutes to spare.
FINISH = 53:26:44
Anne Langstaff #10 – Crew says she’s doing well. We’re gonna get there one way or another. Her biggest problem was with her eating, she can’t keep anything down. It’s been this way all along.
FINISH = 51:05:30
Kira Matukaitis #30 – Says it’s been a fantastic race, beautiful. She had a tough night the first night coming into Panamint. Stomach issues, felt physically really good but the stomach wasn’t able to process everything and hold it all in. She was ahead of schedule at Panamint and ended up sleeping there for 2 hours. The hotel room there provided by the race was fantastic. It was really nice to sleep and cool off in the air-conditioning. She started to be able to take in fluids at that point. The climb up Father Crowley is tough and it was just slow moving because she didn’t want to mess up her stomach again. They just kept trucking through the night. On the Portal Road, she’s not even thinking about a finish time, just excited to get there. Her crew will all be with her. They had a ton of fun and a lot of laughs, some high moments and some low moments. It’s been everything she could have hoped for and she’s just excited to share it with them even if it is at 59:59:59.
FINISH = 52:58:05
Scott Jacaway #72 – He’s had some highs and had some lows. Going into Stovepipe he was getting behind on sodium and was wiped out. He was taking too many breaks out on the course and losing energy. He went to the Medic instead of sitting there and trying to nurse myself back. One of the medics, Scott Snyder, was driving by and suggested they stake-out and go to Stovepipe. He went up there and they did a great job. “About 7 of them are hovering around you looking for ways to get you back in the race. They fed me some Oral Rehydration Salts and got my electrolyte level back up and my weight back up and that took about 3 hours able to go back and resume my race. They did a good job for me and I’m appreciative of that. Take it easy, stay ahead on fluids and salts and follow the advice of the guys that were there and it worked for me.” It was a very memorable experience. He was able to fuel up before he went into Lone Pine, getting calories into him to get it done.
FINISH = 51:33:11
Robin Smit #70 – He says, “The first day I almost died!” He almost went to the medical tent but didn’t. He’d lost 12 lbs and couldn’t move a muscle without going into spasms. This was early in the race, going up the pass to Death Valley. The wind in the face was tough. He took a little nap and just tried to shove everything down he could. It worked. He gained back 5 lbs and went on. He’d never had a rough time like this. Asked what he attributes the problems to and he responds quickly, “Old age.” He laughs and says he may do it again for his 80th birthday. He says if he keeps on this pace, he’ll set a new record for 70-year-olds.
FINISH = 55:52:24
Nikki Seger #45 – Her crew says she’s moving, on a mission now. They’ve named themselves the Badwater Brookies since they all enjoy fly-fishing. She’d originally hoped to go a little faster and has gone under 48 hours before. She had a lot of fatigue overnight and took some down time and now she’s rallying. She’s got a great spirit and is moving well. She’s been consistent walking between her breaks and adapted well to whatever has happened along the way. A hamstring injury hampered her training so she wasn’t able to prepare as well this time. Her crew claims that she was slowed some when she wrestled a coyote during the night and they all ate it for dinner. They say they wouldn’t let her eat it because they didn’t want it to upset her stomach. With the heat, they said they made jerky out of it. Crew hallucinations?
FINISH = 54:20:30
Monica Otero #22 – Her crew says she will be the first South American woman to finish the race. She took breaks at Stovepipe and Panamint but wasn’t able to sleep much. She got sick at night on that first big climb and had to take some breaks in the car, her first low point. Once the sun came up that morning and she got to the downhill over Towne’s Pass she really picked up the pace. At Panamint she was on pace to make the 60 hours as long as she could keep it up for another 67.5 miles! She started speeding up and passing a few other runners. Lone Pine really got her spirits up with everybody cheering her on. She’s on pace to easily go under 60 hours. She’s very happy. She was about halfway through the race when they got news of fellow Brazilian, Valmir Nunes winning the race and she and her crew celebrated in the middle of nowhere.
FINISH = 54:16:26
Manoel de Jesus Mendes #46 – He may just miss the belt buckle. He’s run Badwater twice before but hasn’t finished either time. Usually goes out way too hard because he’s a really good runner. This time he’s been smarter, took a lot of rest at all the main checking points and may still have time to get the belt buckle but he doesn’t care, he just wants to finish.
FINISH = 48:30:48
Stephen Hudgens #51 – Feels better today than the first day when he popped a tendon in his ankle and got dehydrated and passed out, 3 miles from Stovepipe. Spent 3 hours there resuscitating. But after that the 2nd and 3rd days were fine. He’s feeling good right now, about 9 miles from getting this race over. He can see that light at the end of the tunnel.
FINISH = 56:31:35