When Chris Martinez called in January and told me about his new race, I had no other option than to partake. You see, Martinez is the race director for the ever-popular Moab Red Hot 50-Kilometer Trail Race; a race that sells-out and attracts some of the best ultra and trail-runners during the sleepy month of February in his hometown of Moab, Utah. He now wanted to put together a race that wouldn't intimidate the masses, but would allow for runners to experience the country he loves so much. He described his course over the phone and I turned around and put the Amasa 10K & 9.5-Mile Race on my race calendar.
Race day approached, I packed up the truck and began the road-trip north to Moab, Utah from Flagstaff, Arizona. I hadn't done this drive in a long time. Though it used to be a fairly regular occurrence for me as I used to live in Moab and my Dad lived in Flagstaff, I looked forward to refreshing my memory of the sites along the way: Monument Valley, Comb Ridge, the Abajo Mountains, the La Sal Mountains and the slickrock wonders of southeast Utah.
Watching the sunset against the spires in Monument Valley.
Monument Valley ala Forrest Gump.
100-mile long Comb Ridge near Bluff, Utah.
Snow covers southeast Utah's Abajo Mountains.
A study in contrast: red desert slickrock and snow covered peaks. The lofty La Sal Mountains signal your arrival into Moab, Utah.
Travel partners help pass the time. Hint: Do not leave peanut butter covered bagels sitting on the seat while you day dream about the passing scenery with a travel partner like this one! Licky-lick! Ick!
The Amasa 10 Kilometer and 9.5-Mile Races are the brain child of Chris Martinez. A good friend of mine who runs these trails on a daily basis. This was the inaugural event. He hopes to turn the race into a popular venue like his successful Red Hot 50K. The courses offer the runners a bit of everything. You get fast hard packed dirt, technical four-wheel drive/jeep trail, narrow mountain bike single-track and very, very technical rocky single-track. All of your running skills will be tested on this course! The views are to die for: Sweeping, breath-taking views of redrock country set against a background of snow-covered 12,000 footers. Here's a pictorial of the race course while Chris and I marked the course the evening before the race and few race day photos. Here's race day's Garmin Data for the course and elevation gain.
Race Director and course creator Chris Martinez (right) stands next to official course timer Nick Jefferies (left).
The course climbs the very popular four-wheel drive route, Cliff Hanger. You can see this guy ran into some difficulties on the way up. Hopefully, runners wouldn't encounter similar issues on race day, like broken axle rods!
Typical course terrain. Footing: technical!
Broken slickrock...Moab's finest!
Views from the top of the course. Looking down into Jackson Hole.
The trail (and course) skirt some vertical relief.
These guys provided the race's aid station at the four mile mark. Not your typical aid station crew vehicles!
The last climb on the course, straight up the slickrock. Note Martinez's silhouette at the top of the climb.
Now on the Rock Stacker Trail...a fast decent on single-track.
The last three miles of the course traverse above and overlook the Colorado River.
Some rough going on the way down. (l to r) Amasa, Chris and Zoroaster mark the course.
Looking out across The Fins.
A shot from the finish looking back along the course. The last two miles of the race traverse on rough single-track across the cliff bands shown before you.
Chis Martinez presents race awards at the finish line.
Your race winners: (l to r) Ramona May (Ladies' 10K winner in 1:02:58), RD Chris Martinez, Greg Poettgen (Mens' 9.5 Mile winner in 1:14:31), Bryan Lechner (Mens' 10K winner in 56:41), Heidi Rentz (Ladies' 9.5 Miler winner in 1:24:25)
Congratulations and thanks to Chris, all of the selfless volunteers and all of this day's contestants. Plan on being here next year! You won't regret it!
Ummmmm...more peanut butter pleazzzzzze!