Mudfest, magic shoes and two golden tickets at Black Canyon 100K
On January 1st, SCOTT Running launched its new, innovative, state-of-the-art trail shoe called the Supertrac RC. Less than two months later, on February 18th, three SCOTT runners—Alex Nichols, Elov Olsson, and Eric Senseman—sported the lightweight, radially lugged boot at the Black Canyon 100k in Arizona, USA. The result? The SCOTT Running team navigated the muddy course nimbly and swept the podium in dominant fashion, with Nichols and Olsson earning coveted spots to the 2017 Western States 100. We caught up with the three harriers to learn more about their race experiences.
What did you think about the competition at this race? Did you think the SCOTT team had a chance to sweep the podium?
Nichols: I knew this would be a tough race based on the talented athletes who were entered. Both Senseman and Tim Freriks came into the race very fit, but Elov was really a wild card. I only found out about his entry just days prior to the race. Suddenly there were four major contenders for only two Western States spots.
Olsson: I thought it looked like a strong starting field. In my mind we three were among the top runners. It’s amazing we took it all.
Senseman: It’s always a harrowing experience to look at a start list. Big names definitely jumped off the page at this race. I knew I would need my best possible race. My teammates are talented runners and I was not surprised to see them go 1-2.
You finished within less than 10 minutes of each other. As teammates, what was it like to race against each other?
Nichols: I had to play catch up during the first 14 miles but once I caught Eric we had a chance to run together and talk. Tim and Elov were well off the front already. We both wondered if they could sustain such a fast starting pace. But we began to catch them, and for the entire second half, Eric, Elov, and I were within minutes of each other. I never expected any 100k to come down to such a close finish.
Olsson: I got help from Eric and his crew with the ride to the start. And then Johan Lantz, another SCOTT runner who crewed for me, started pacing me [at mile 42]. It was a nice race, very intense from the [halfway point] to the finish line.
Senseman: I think none of us wanted to be beat by a teammate! I think each of us wanted to prove himself the best SCOTT runner on the day, and that’s what fueled each of us to run as well as we did. It was very exciting to race so closely during the second half and very painful to push so hard for a top-two spot.
The conditions were very muddy. How important was footwear in this race?
Nichols: The Supertrac RC's performance in those conditions can't be overstated. Once the rain came down the trail turned into a rocky, muddy mess. The grip was crucial to get through the mud, but I was equally grateful for the protection the shoe offered against stones over a long distance.
Olsson: I had to chose between Kinabalu 3.0 and Supertrac RC. Because of the rain, it was a good decision to take the Supertrac RC. It has very good grip. I love that shoe.
Senseman: There is no doubt that without the Supertrac RC, we would not have run nearly as fast. If other elite runners in the race had worn the Supertrac RC, the SCOTT team might not have swept the podium! It was truly the best shoe to wear in those conditions.
Nichols and Olsson, you'll now have the chance to represent SCOTT at the 2017 Western States 100. What are your goals there?
Nichols: I never like to get too ahead of myself, but now I've had a chance to think it over and I think a top 3 spot is a good goal for me. It is always one of the deepest races of the year but I think the 100-mile distance suites me fairly well and with enough purposeful training I think I can be in the mix.
Olsson: I'm excited to run 100 miles again. I think Western States will suit me well and I’ll race for the win for sure.
Senseman, what did you learn from this race that might help you gain entry to Western States in the future?
Senseman: I need to run high volume in training like I did in preparation for this race. I made a move a little too early in this race and ran out of gas, so I’ll try to be a little more patient over this distance next time.