Warning: the following words and images will allow you to vicariously see the world with the eyes of Sultan. Read at your own risk. The name Sultan has many meanings, but derives from the peak Sultan Mountain in Silverton, CO!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pitchell Report by: Adam Hill

The Pitchell 100k+ and the FAC 50k are two of the toughest ultra courses around. In the 3rd running of the Pitchell and the 2nd running of the FAC, a handful of incredibly determined adventure runners took it to task and came out on top. There is certainly no "beating" these mountains that the course goes over...mountains that those of us who are local look at day in and day out. One can only hope to fall into place in these majestic mountains, then feel the flow. From Asheville, one can look to the west and see Mt. Pisgah looming in the distance with its distinct tower. It is here, below this tower of flashing red lights, that 7 runners started off to tackle this beast of a trek! If one looks to the east while cruising through Asheville, you might catch a peak of Lane Pinnacle and the Craggy's. These are the "in your face" mountains that Pitchell and FAC runners will share in their quest to reach the summit of Mt. Mitchell!

Friday night, October 5th, came quickly this year with promise of warmer temps and less fall colors. We all gathered at my house and sorted gear and aid, and appropriately scarfed down some much needed nourishment. The FAC runners headed off to get a nice night's sleep, and the Pitchell runners ditched their cars at the Folk Art Center and carpooled up to Mt. Pisgah. The runners were Brian Beduhn, India Coleman, Mohammed Idlibi, Charlie Roberts, Stu Gibeau, Kevin Lane, and yours truly. With a staggered start we made our way at our own pace down the summit of Mt. Pisgah, and encountered quite a thick cloud of fog that made finding your footing tricky. Before we knew it we were all down and across the French Broad River with the help of some aid drops and Sarah Almodovar who was meeting us between aid drops. Arriving at the Folk Art Center, I was a little bit behind schedule, but was trying to take it easy and leave some bounce in my step for all of the climbing up ahead.

The FAC runners had started at about 6:30 am, and I had missed them by about 30 minutes. Those runners were Matt McFee, Rob Rikoon, Mike Piercy, Steve Parrish, and Andrew Moore. I enjoyed some much needed coffee provided by Matt McFee (wow...thanks), and munched on some egg and cheese bagels brought by Steve Parrish (amazing!). The easier pace paid off and I ran quite well through the first aid station until the climbing got steep up Rich Knob. It was over the next few bumps and up Lane Pinnacle that I started to crash. Stu, Mohammed and I arrived at the second aid station at Bee Tree Gap together, then left together to tackle the next 5 rocky miles to Greybeard Overlook. I arrived at Greybeard Overlook to hear the cheers of Matthew Johnson and Jon Snow. Shortly after I arrived, Stu arrived, then Mohammed pulled it a few minutes later. Unfortunately, this year I would not have the mental fortitude to continue on, and after examining a nagging tendonitis problem in my foot that had slowed me to a crawl, I decided that this would be the sorry excuse that I would use to explain my demise. I hope that my negative energy did not wear of on Stu, because he decided to call it quits too. We didn't exactly try to hide our pain, in hopes of bringing another foot soldier down with us....however, Mohammed was too strong and displayed a will to continue despite the circumstances. His solution was to take the Parkway the rest of the way, and we bid him farewell and well wishes for the remainder of his journey.

The word on the street was that everyone up ahead was doing quite well, and that Kevin and Andrew were kicking butt and taking names! We sent ahead all of the positive thoughts that we had left, then hunkered down and waited at that third aid station for Brian and India. When they arrived, we figured that they might fold...however, they informed us that they would go on. India had heard that no other female had completed this foot odyssey between Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Mitchell! She wasn't about to stop until that title was hers! Go girl! After a car drop scenario was set up for Brian and India to finish on their own, everyone headed off of the mountain to bid farewell to an amazing day spent on the trail...

Amazing efforts were made by all, and the Pitchell had more finishers than ever before. A trend that I hope to see continue! Matt McFee completed an impressive first ultra on what is certainly one of the toughest 50k courses in the country! Kevin set an impressive mark for the Pitchell that will be hard to eclipse in upcoming years. Hopefully we will have some folks go after his mark next year...great job Kevin, and great job to all the runners! Thanks a ton for sharing a beautiful day out on the trail, and I hope to see you all out for the next fun run! Thanks also go out to our incredible volunteers! Sarah Almodovar for helping through the night stretch...Matt Kirk for getting us all through the Folk Art Center...Mike Jackson for aid station 1...Todd Bray and his father in law for aid station 2...Matthew Johnson for aid station 3 and his summit work...Jason Hayward for aid station 4 and for dropping off coolers where needed...and Jon Snow for aid station 5! You guys rocked the house...thanks for sharing in this adventure with us!


Finish times:

Pitchell 100k:
Kevin Lane 15:18!
Charlie Roberts 18:11
Mohammed Idlibi 19:00
Brian Beduhn 23:50
India Coleman 23:50
Stu Gibeau DNF @ 55 miles
Adam Hill DNF @ 55 miles

FAC 50k
Andrew Moore 8:29
Rob Rikoon 9:??
Steve Parrish 10:30
Matt McFee 10:30
Mike Piercy 12:10

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