Crosscut 25k recap – are you sure this is a trail?

Crosscut 25k recap - 25k trail race in the Bridger mountains

I have officially completed my longest distance race. I’m still not sure what to say about it, so…I’m just going to start this Crosscut 25k recap and see what comes out of the keyboard.

Crosscut 25k recap - 25k trail race at Bridger Bowl ski area

The race start/finish is at Bridger Bowl ski area, and one of the lodges was open for warm ups/bag check/bathrooms. I timed my drive perfectly – meaning I had just enough time for using the bathroom, putting on sunscreen, warming up, and going outside for the race start. I’m not into standing around before the start any longer than I have to.

We started out running on the road, then within a minute or so turned onto a trail and started going uphill. For the first couple miles we ran on the trail for a bit, then hopped on the road to cut over to a different trail, repeat. And then there were some parts that were just climbing uphill without a trail:

Near the start of the Crosscut race

Around mile 2 we left the road/trail situation and headed off along some single track, still going uphill. Half a mile later the trail started downhill and continued that way through the first aid station (mile 3.5ish?) all the way to the second aid station around mile 6.

Here the course crossed into Bohart cross-country ski area and we started running on the cross-country trails. The next 3 or so miles could be described as rolling hills, but that’s not really an adequate description. The ski trails were bumpy – think potholes for your feet – but covered in mown grass so the bumpiness wasn’t obvious. Looks benign, makes you think rolling an ankle is a when not if proposition:

Bohart ski trails in Crosscut 25k

But I and my ankles survived the ski trails and made it the third aid station, where I downed a drink then tried to head off in the wrong direction. Thank goodness for volunteers. (I later learned that a lot of people got off course – there were flags at every turn, but there were a LOT of turns through the ski trails.)

After the aid station the trails headed up through a disc golf course and back towards Bridger Bowl. Then I kept running/walking up and up and up and…I started feeling a bit deceived by the course description. To be fair, this wasn’t the fault of the description. It said there was a “second major climb” on the way back to Bridger Bowl from Bohart. My mid-race brain interpreted “second” to mean “shorter”. Yeah, it did not say that. This uphill turned out to be 4 miles long. I have conquered longer uphills before (example: my most recent race), but I’m used to trail races where you climb all the way up then run all the way back down. So that’s mostly how I trained, and my legs felt the unfamiliarity with a long uphill preceded by a long downhill.

I reached the final aid station around mile 12.5 and finally started heading downhill to the finish. Part of this downhill was about a 20% grade with loose rocks on the trail, so I was not going as fast as I would have liked; but still ecstatic to finally be running downhill.

I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 40 minutes. I expected to take around 3:30 to finish, but I also expected to have roughly equal uphill and downhill distances. The actual split was about 9 miles uphill and 5.5 downhill. Taking that into account, my race looks more positive now than mid-uphill slog (does anything look positive mid-uphill slog?) Oh, and if you’re doing the math, yes, 25 km is closer to 15.5 miles than the 14.5 I ran. So either the course was short or I took a wrong turn after all.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my race. And the scenery didn’t hurt, obviously. For future races I would run higher mileage, train some on the course (ahem, ski trails), and have some “rolling” hills – but my main goal for this race was finishing, so mission accomplished. Reading back through this, I think I have to categorize this Crosscut 25k recap as my most rambling race recap yet. My thinking got a li’l foggy during the race (see: my interpretation of “second major climb”…and I didn’t even get into the weird math I was doing to figure out how much time I had left), so consider this your peek into my brain during a long trail race.



What’s the worst terrain you’ve run on in a race?

Longest hill (/mountain) you’ve run up?


Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday & Coaches’ Corner

15 Comment

  1. Way to go on finishing with an awesome time despite a confusing and challenging course! I would totally be lost in the wilderness if I was to try 😛
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…How to Balance Work and Life Without Going CrazyMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! There were plenty of flags marking the trails, but yellow was maybe not the best color for them I think 😛

  2. When you have something in your mind about what a course will be, it’s SO hard when it’s something different. Our brain plays all kinds of tricks on us. But you still rocked that race, congrats!
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Fitness Products I Couldn’t Live WithoutMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thank you!

  3. CONGRATS!!! 9 miles uphill is no easy feat. Way to go!!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…Total Body Rowing WorkoutMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply


  4. Rachel says: Reply

    Hahaha, I love your title. Are you sure this is a trail?! I’ve been on some doozies before, thankfully never for a race, though.

    Nice work!!
    Rachel recently posted…Protein & Fiber Energy BallsMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      After this, I don’t think ski trails count as running trails 😉
      And thank you!

  5. Congratulations! I guess you don’t need my posts on hill training, huh? I feel like you’ve got it covered! And how beautiful is the scenery! Definitely better than my race this weekend!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! I will still take your posts though, always need more hill training here!

  6. Huge congrats! What an awesome accomplishment!!! I have never actually done a trail race before but I do run a road race here called the “mountain goat” but it’s not nearly as pretty or as long.
    Annmarie recently posted…DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Track & Core WorkoutMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thanks! And any hill “mountain goat” worthy sounds plenty hard to me!

  7. Ingunn says: Reply

    Beautiful course! I’m intrigued by the Montana landscape.

    I’m training for a 25K now but things keep getting in the way…at this point, I just hope I survive. Heh.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      25K is definitely survivable!

  8. […] long it’s been since I’ve run farther than 6 miles…actually, I have record of it here, it was July. And this radar was displaying my speed, you know, just in case I was running in excess of 25 mph. […]

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