One of the oldest and toughest ultra endurance events in the world is set to begin on June 26, 2010 in Squaw Valley, USA. The 36th annual Western States Endurance Run starts at the west end of Squaw Valley at 5am Saturday and ends in Auburn, covering 100 miles. Yes, that’s 100 miles running on foot through wilderness areas and steep river canyons on rocky dirt trails. The run follows the trans-Sierra portion of the historic Western States Trail, which stretches from Salt Lake City, Utah to Sacramento, California. The trail was first used by the Paiute and Washoe Indians and later the '49ers and their horses and mules. For many years, the trail was the most direct route between the gold camps of California and the silver mines of Nevada. Most of the trail is still in its natural wild state as the last intact crossing of the Sierra Nevada and passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.
Listen to these lung busting stats. The trail rises from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, runners continue west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn. Wow! You have to arrive in Auburn no later than 11am Sunday morning to be eligible for an award. That’s 30 hours from the start time the day before. Most runners won’t take that long but many will be pushing 24 hours. That means running at night with flashlights over treacherous terrain while you’re nearing your limits of exhaustion with no sleep. A lot of runners find this to be the most difficult part of the run. The men’s record holder is Scott Jurek in 2004 with a time of 15:36:27 and the women’s record holder is Ann Trason in 1994 with a time of 17:37:51. Read more about this unique event at www.squaw.com and www.ws100.com.
Most of us won’t be participating in the Western States Endurance Run. It takes a special athlete and months of training and preparation to complete this event without the risk of serious injury. It’s not for the casual runner. The participants deserve your support, though, so you could set your alarm and get up early (or stay up if you’re so inclined) to be on the starting line at 5am Saturday, June 26 to send them off. Then go back to bed and rest up for something a little less strenuous like a day at Squaw Valley's Swimming Lagoon & Spa that’s open from 11am to 4pm daily. It’s located at High Camp, elevation 8,200', and is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking places in the world to relax, with views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. The only endurance event here will be how many times you can swim across the pool after a couple of those drinks with the little parasols, or you could just hang out at the Olympic Village Inn pool so you won’t have as far to go to your room.
Summer’s back and one of the yearly summer events we look forward to in the area is the annual Heart & Solstice Festival. It takes place June 16-20 in Tahoe City and is put on by the Tahoe City Downtown Association. It starts with the Solstice Stroll Classic Car Show on June 16 and ends with Concerts at Commons Beach Opening Day on June 20. There are many other events each day. You can see a full schedule and read more about it at the Tahoe Weekly.The week looks warm and dry with a cooling trend mid week, perfect for a pool party or your own endurance event. Take a more challenging hike than you normally would, ride your bike a little farther than you normally do, you’ll feel stronger and more confident for it. Olympic Village Inn is the perfect home base for all the activities and events taking place this summer in the Tahoe-Truckee area. Check out our new Summertime 7 day special olympicvillageinn.com/rentals that began on June 11. Have a great week!