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Stamper's Black Hills 100 Race Report

by Jason Stamper

It all started with a message from Tony Lushanko "I'm signing up for this." After some research checking out elevation charts and other important facts I was in. I have never been in a area with that amount of elevation so I was a bit nervous. 

With the alarm set for three AM in order to make it to the start by six. I actually slept really good the night before,which is unusual for me. I got up, ate some Stoked Oats, prepared my gear that was not in the drop bags, and went to meet up with my ride. David Olheiser agreed to give Aga,Tony, and I a ride to Silver City. 

The course started off with a little jog on the pavement and across a meadow. It did not take long to get my feet wet due to the amount of rain that had fallen recently. After crossing the puddle-filled meadow was the first of many big ascents. It did not take long before I was sipping off my hydration pack and gasping for air that seemed to be nonexistent around 5,000 feet of elevation. This would have been the a good time for one of Eric Olsen's stories to get my mind off the pain. 

The first aid station was 7.5 miles at Pilot Knob. I refilled the 22oz bottle with Heed and took one of many Endurolytes. Around mile 10 was when my ankle started acting up. From there I hiked the majority of the day. This section was 13 miles of ATV trails. This is when I saw the first and only snake. He was not a very friendly fellow either. I gently removed him from the trail with a stick. 

I must say that the ATV riders were very polite and encouraging. One of them asked "Are there any big hills?" I replied with "All of them!" One of them jokingly asked for a push start! 

The third aid station was at Dalton Lake, which had a drop bag waiting for me restocked with gels and a fresh pair of socks. This was when I caught up with Aga. We made the next big climb together before she ran off. I did not see Aga again until the Crooked Tree aid station at mile 27.5. She was icing her knee which was scrapped. 

Continuing on my own toward Elk Creek the fifth aid station. I lost count of how many times I crossed Elk Creek. These crossings were bittersweet. The cold water felt great on sore legs and temperatures in the 90's but it was hard to find your footing in the fast current. At its deepest points the water was halfway up my thighs with only a rope strung across to save me from being swept away to watery grave. 

This area is when I had a TURBO moment. If you have never seen the show Boundless you know what I mean. My mind was my worst enemy. I quickly shook off the feeling of doubt and hobbled on. I then saw my Dad, he walked out to meet me. Dave and my Mom were there to. While helping me get my fresh pair of Hokas on I was asked many questions. They were hard to answer. I was in a world of my own 33 miles in, farther than I had ever gone. "Where is Aga? How are you? Are you continuing?" followed by my annoyed replies "she said she was coming. I'm good. Can I continue?" 

The last comment was directed at the aid staff. She said yes (this was a second time cut off). I can't say enough about the volunteers. Polite very helpful and encouraging. A big thanks to all!!!! So I chugged on and on. That aid station gave me new hope I CAN DO THIS!! 

I carried on with good spirits for quite some time. I don't know how many times I believed too be off course. It was marked well enough that I didn't, but many people did. This really plays with your mind when you want nothing more than a Burger a Bath and a BEER! This thinking got me to the Bulldog aid station. It was near the end for me. I was making little headway stumbling, sleepy and disoriented from the day's events. I pushed on after being informed that I needed to hurry to make the next Cut off. At Alkali Creek I missed the cut off. I was told I could continue. . . It took some time for me to really decide. I had had enough. 13 hours and 40 plus minutes, more than 12 hours moving, my feet hurt hell there wasn't much that did not hurt at that point. It was time for all the B's mentioned earlier.

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