Day one is 18 miles at Raccoon Mountain. It’s the easiest of the three days but not just because of the distance, but because the terrain is the most forgiving of the three locations. The course is mostly single track trail, some of it mountain bike worn, along rolling hillside around the reservoir. The tendency is to race this stage hard, but the smart stage racer will go conservative and save some for day two and three. View course map and elevation chart here.
Day two is 22 miles at Lookout Mountain. The highlight on this day is running past Lula Falls. It’s rained quite a bit this spring, so hopefully the falls will be going strong. We get to run by them twice, so it will become a familiar site. This day brings a lot more climbing than the day before. The quads will be hurting at the end of the day with all the down hill running. The best part is the dip in the creek after crossing the finish line. View course map and elevation chart here.
Day three is 20 miles at Signal Mountain. Not the longest of the three days, but undoubtedly the toughest. When I ran this in 2011, it took me an hour and a half longer to run this stage than day one did and it’s only two miles longer. Now granted, I also had 40 miles on my legs from the previous two days, but this day’s stage has some tough rocky trails in sections and if it’s hot, you pay for it. View course map and elevation chart here.
The weather forecast is not looking favorable for me. In 2011, we had unusual cool temperatures, especially on day one. This weekend calls for mid to high 80’s for a high with day three pushing into the 90’s. I’ll be running with two hand held bottles, but still relying on the aid stations heavily for hydration.
Despite the warm temperatures, my training has been good and I just need to remember that this is more of a training weekend. I have to keep my eye on the bigger prize which is the six day stage race in Colorado in August and my hundred in November. Check back as I’ll be blogging after each stage race this weekend.
Check out the official Rock Creek Chattanooga Stage Race video: