I just ran the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-miler. I'd been told that the course was fast, but I wasn't sure what to expect and was still a little worried about the fact that I didn't feel like I trained very well and that the cutoff was 13 hours, which is faster than I'd ever done a 50 before. Of course, the only 50 I'd done before is Mt. Diablo, which, with 13,340 feet of climbing has more climbing per-mile than all but maybe a couple 100's (Hard Rock, Wasatch), and has more climbing that any other 50 I know of other than maybe San Juan Solstice.
Alas, Firetrails is no Diablo. I got to the 15-mile aid station in just under 3 hours and thought "What? I'm not this fast. Oh well, if I'm doing 5 mph, I guess I better finish in under 10 hours." And I did, in 9:52. But most of the time I was thinking about how much I prefer courses that once every hour or so make you yell "What!? You've got to be f---ing kidding me," as you see how steep the trail ahead of you is. I mean, if it's not 85+ degrees, and you don't get dehydrated, and you don't feel like weeping when the aid station tells you they're out of ice, and your electrolytes don't get out of wack to make you want to vomit, and you don't chafe till you're bleeding, and you aren't forced to walk for several miles because all the sudden you feel like you have a hernia, then what fun is that?
I don't want to seem too critical, as the race was really well organized with tons of aid stations and more fans than I've ever seen at an ultra, I just enjoy steeper, more technical stuff a lot more, and Firetrails is on, well, firetrails, and often flat ones. Most of the time when I'm running flat stuff in ultras I'm wishing it was either (a)downhill so I could bomb down it, or (b)uphill so I'd have an excuse to just walk. I like to think that's also where my comparative advantage lies, but I was pretty much the median runner today, and that's about where I finished on Diablo this year as well.
Overall, a good run and excellent race schwag.