Bandera 100km is two 31 mile loops which follows pretty closely what the 50km does with a few exceptions: it starts and finishes differently than the 50km and because it starts at a different point, the 100km and 50km packs are offset by five miles. This is enough that the fastest 100km runners wont see anyone until the back of pack 25km runners just before Lucky Peak. The slowest 100km runners will be caught by the fastest 50km runners around Ice Cream Hill and then the back end of the 100km and the leading edge of the 50km will merge. By this point its not much of an issue as everyone is well spread out.
Your race starts with a mile of jeep road to spread y’all out, all 300 of you. The leading climbs are Big Nasty, Sky Island, and Ice Cream Hill. Once you arrive at Nachos, it changes gear to an easy stroll from Nachos to Chapas to CrossRoads. The inside loop from Crossroads out and back again has a few good climbs on it, but after you get back, it’s another easy roll all the way back to Lucky Peak. Unlike the 50km though, Lucky is just the first of the final three kickers before finishing loop one. So, it goes like this: Lucky, Last Chance, Cairns, Boyles, Lodge. Then you get to do it all over again.
If you have already been here, then you know about the rocks. If you have not, it’s worse than you heard. If you trained for this, then you’ve strengthened your ankles in some form or another. This is one course where shoes are critical to your performance. Some people can run in sandals, but most veterans are wearing cushioned shoes: La Sportiva Wild Cats or the Hokas.
Most of you should carry at least one water bottle between stations and some of you might need two. It’s a time thing. The longer it takes you, the more water you will need. Some of you will carry hydration packs filled to capacity, but really this is a bit too much. With water stations every five miles, you don’t need to haul that much weight on your back. If you ran with a lighter load, it might not take as long. I understand you need someplace to haul your other necessities, and that is understood, and if the pack is the most convenient method, then wear it…without water, or maybe just one water bottle tucked into it. Just because you have a 100oz bladder does not mean you have to fill it. Also, if you must carry a pack, at least take it off now and again to rest your back. A good place to do this is when you do the inside loop from CrossRoads back to CrossRoads. Drop the pack and run with a water bottle. Then get the pack when you head to Last Chance.
The 100km offers up the use of drop bags at Chapas, CrossRoads, and the Lodge. Many people do not use this option, but if you do, just put a few basics at each: things like your nutritional needs or a change of socks and shirt. You will need a light, but trying to decipher when you will need it is more than you need to worry about. Just put a light in each drop bag and worry about it when you get closer to dark. If the weather is perfect, you’ll need much less than if the weather is bad. If the weather is nasty, you could use a fair amount of clothing. I like to think of drop bags as emergency kits when things go bad. So, start with your best kit (shoes, clothes, bottle) and plan to not change anything. But, if you do have an issue, you have what you need to fix it.
- Joe Prusaitis
Talk Bandera 50km
- Experienced Bandera 100km runners, what other tips would you share?
- Bandera 100km rookies, any additional questions?
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