A few months back, my Father asked if I would be interested in the West Virginia Trilogy (3-day stage race). I took one look at the website and was in. At a very affordable $175, it was well worth traveling for. After the long season I have had, I thought I was more than ready to handle three days of running. I had no idea what I was in for.
Here is the quick and dirty version of the course description taken off of the WV Trilogy Website.
“94 miles or 151 kilometers to be traversed. The course is 93% trail, 6.75% dirt road, 0.25% paved. There are no extended rocky, technical trails — only intermittent sections. The only part that might qualify as “rocky” would be a mile or so of Huckleberry Trail on top of Spruce Mountain on Day Two. However this section is so beautiful you won’t mind a few rocks. These are typical “WV trails” (ie. wild and rugged) but not nearly as technical as Highlands Sky. There are some stream crossing on Day One and Two, none on day Three. The profiles below exaggerate the steepness, but they do indicate where you will be climbing. Total elevation gain/loss for each race is given with the respective profile.”
WV Trilogy Day One – 50k – 4871 feet gain
WV Trilogy Day Two – 50 Mile – 8328 feet gain
WV Trilogy Day Three – Half Marathon – 1464 feet gain
It could be that I am very spoiled with very dry and maintained trails in Colorado, but I thought this description did not do the course justice. No extended rocky trails – This is just laughable. The first day was littered with extended sections of slippery rocky trails. This is way outside of what I was used to. The added work made it even more fun.
Saying that there were “some stream crossings” is also a drastic understatement. I lost count of the stream crossings on day one. I was later told that there were 26! I welcomed most of them to rinse the mud off (shin-deep in may spots). I asked some of the locals and repeat offenders later if that mud was normal. They let me know that it is never as sloppy out as this past weekend. Finished every day wearing the mud as a badge of honor.
Finishing this race was one of my proudest moments. Waking up each day and running another race was a very special challenge that I have never experienced. 46 individuals went into the trilogy, but only 23 people were able to finish all three days. All the trilogy runners were also running against people running those specific races. This added a special element to the race. I heard every day, “I can’t imagine how bad you must feel.” No, they couldn’t 😉
This event was one of the funnest races I have ever participated in. The WV Mountain Institute is a very amazing place. WVMI is situated in a remote location deep in the WV wilderness. This made for a perfect isolated world of ultrarunners. It had a real family environment to it. We suffered every day together, followed by amazing home-cooked meals every night. After our meals, we swapped war stories over a few delicious adult beverages. Then we all got up the next day and did it again. All the suffering that I endured is a faint memory compared to all the fun I had with everyone. After getting a little taste for stage racing, I look forward to the next one!
Here are the final results of the WV trilogy.