I got awfully nostalgic following the Pinhoti 100 on twitter this weekend. It was my first 100-mile race last year, and man, was it fun. I can't believe it all happened one full year ago.
Even though Leadville was the ultimate goal for my ultrarunning hobby, now that I've done both, I must say that I much preferred Pinhoti to Leadville. It was such a beautiful course. It was so informal and intimate. And while I'm not in a hurry to do any more 100s any time soon, part of me was wishing I was out there this weekend, trudging through the forest and kicking rocks once again. Funny how soon we forget how much these things hurt.
Neal Gorman won the race in 17:06, an impressive time, but well off Meltzer's course record. It's a tough, tough course. Not Hardrock tough, but harder than Leadville, at least for me. There's no Hope Pass, but there are significant rollers the entire way, and the terrain was a minefield of leaves, rocks, and roots for more than 80 miles. Plus, since the race is in November, you are forced to do a lot more night running than is common for other ultras, especially if you're in the 24-plus hour range. If I were to do it again, the one thing I'd change is to try to go out a lot faster, because once night falls, wandering around that dense forest in the dark is no easy task.
But if you love single track, and you love ultras, I can't recommend the race enough. Most people don't think of Alabama when they think of great trail running, but ask anyone who's done Pinhoti -- this race qualifies.