Monday, December 25, 2006

Thrifty Travel Plan for Wasatch Front 100 Miles

Wasatch Front 100 Miles is a point-to-point challenging but pretty course. It is in quite a few great ultra slam series - Grand Slam, Last Great Races, Western Slam, Rocky Mountain Slam, and All American Mountain Slam. I was attracted by its claim "The Toughest Footrace You'll Ever Love". I eagerly put it in my 2007 race plan at my second year of running 100 milers. Perhaps to save the efforts, this race has only one week opened for registration - from 1/2/07 to 1/8/07. I need to make decision by the end of the year, so I have been thinking about the logistics these days.

I just found it as easy as my local California 100 milers - WSER, TRT, AC, and San Diego. But don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about the course. According to its course profile, Wasatch, with over 53,000ft in altitude changes, is definitely more difficult. I think it may be second only to Hardrock.

What I mean is about travelling - how to get there and come back after finishing it. I remember clearly in AC100 FAQ about shuttle service from the finish in Pasadena back to the start in Wrightwood, "The most difficult part of the race (meaning AC100) is getting to the Finish area, not getting back to work on Monday". To me, nevertheless, it is getting to the race start from my home that I need to plan in great details. I have concerns about driving, travelling expenses, and environment impacts, i.e. air pollution.

I went through the same process for TRT this year and I successfully rode Amtrak without driving (thanks for the ride back from Ohlone Ultrarunners). It was a nice and fun trip that I enjoyed a lot. Besides, I was glad to spare the air and the wear on my car in such 500 mile trip - no way can we produce any bit of fossile fuel for it. In case I can not find a ride for the TRT in 2007, I'll be pleased to do the same again!

The Amtrak service to Salt Lake City, where Wasatch run is closeby, is on the scenic California Zephyr. The train goes 2,438 miles between Emeryville in California Pacific Coast and Chicago in Midwest, including touring the grand Rockies mountains. I love taking trains and California Zephyr is actually one of my dream rides. However, it takes almost 18 hours each way on this trip (check schedule). With the race on Saturday and the mandatory briefing on Friday, I obviously have to take more days off - Thursday and Monday. I guess this choice is probably only perfect for sightseeing, despite the fact that it helps environment and cheaper - only $67 each way.

Therefore, I checked the flights at Orbitz and found taking flights is so fast, convenient, and not much more expensive. I can leave on Friday morning for the flight and complete the pre-race meeting on the same day. Salt Lake City has a very wonderful public transportation system (Utah Transit Authority
), so I can also save the rental car expense. I'll be able to move around by bus and even get to the race start at East Mountain Wilderness Park near Kaysville (via bus 70 - schedule and map, or express 73 - schedule and map), where I plan to camp for Friday night before the Saturday race. When I finish the race on Sunday, I should be able to hitch a ride to downtown/airport, where there is bus. I'll be able to catch the flight home and stay with my family in a few hours and ready for work on Monday. It totally takes only three days, which is the same as how I went for TRT this year. So I conclude that going for Wasatch is about the same effort as those California 100 milers.

The following is my itinerary,

9/7/07AC Transit 232Home (8am)Union City (8:20am)$1.75
BARTUnion City (8:30am)Coliseum (8:30am)$2.95
AirBARTColiseum (8:30am)Oakland Airport (9am)Free
Delta 110

Oakland (OAK) at 9:41am

Salt Lake City (SLC) at 12:24pm$104
Bus 50 (schedule, map)Salt Lake City (SLC) (1pm)320 SOUTH WEST TEMPLE ST (1:30pm)$1.5
Bus 7 (schedule, map), or Bus 11 (schedule, map)100 SOUTH & STATE (1:40pm)2100 SOUTH & 1300 EAST (2:10pm)$1.5
Pre-Race MeetingSuger House Park at 4pm

Bus 70 (schedule, map), or Express 73 (schedule, map)Suger House ParkEast Mountain Wilderness Park$1.5
9/8/07Run 100 milesEast Mountain Wilderness Park at 4am
Wasatch Mountain State Park by 4pm
Hitchhike/BusWasatch Mountain State ParkSalt Lake City (SLC)
Delta 4235Salt Lake City (SLC) at 9pmOakland (OAK) at 9:58pm$104
AirBARTOakland Airport (10:30pm)Coliseum (10:40pm)Free
BARTColiseum (10:40pm)Union City (11pm)$2.95
AC Transit 332Union CityHome (by 12am)($1.75)

The total travelling cost can be found about $220. It's only $74 more than by train, while I save a lot of hassles and precious time. I think Wasatch is not too far as an out-of-state 100 miler and I am happy to do it every year!


Scott Dunlap said...

The train is a great idea!

Wow! What a schedule you have lined up for 2007. Back to back 100's? You are the MAN.


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (RunningYam) said...


Thanks for the comment.

I may have to remove AC100 in exchange of Wasatch based my wife's opinion :-(

But in 2008, I'll have all of them, plus WSER (two time loser) and San Diego, because I'd like to try some ultra series such as Grand Slam. Year 2007 is like a training/testing for year 2008.