Devil’s Gulch Recap

Sarah McMahon
6 min readJul 24

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

There’s this saying people float around when confronted with an occurrence that they don’t quite know how to respond to, and it goes something like, “there’s a first time for everything.” There’s actually not a first time for everything, though. There is not a first-time-pigs-have-flown, for example. We only say, “there’s a first time for everything” when something unexpected happens. Monday, I sat in an Urgent Care clinic and thought to myself, “I guess there’s a first time for everything,” when the doctor diagnosed me with Rhabdo after testing a urine sample. I also said, “shit.”

But I should back up a bit first. I signed up for Devil’s Gulch 100 after AC 100 was cancelled. I felt compelled to run a 100 miler now, a testament to my severe impatience. I’m already signed up for a couple more this fall, and this race fell smack-dab in the middle of a very busy month. It also fell smack dab in the middle of a very hot weekend, where temperatures in Wenatchee, WA exceeded 100 degrees. I knew it would be hot, but I’ve delt with heat before. I know how important it is to stay hydrated, to take salt and electrolytes, to keep eating even when I don’t feel like it. But just because I know how I should handle the heat doesn’t mean I executed correctly.

The race started at a ski resort and climbed for a few miles before descending for 14 miles straight. The course was also a 50 mile loop that was about 3 miles long, and we were to repeat the loop twice. One thing I noticed when studying the race manual was that distances between aid stations were longer than they typically are (11–14 miles). There were water drops in between some of these, so I counted on refilling my water when I could and threw my Katadyn filter in my pack for good measure. I also packed salt tabs, Liquid IV packets, plenty of nutrition, and sunscreen.

The first 11 miles were enjoyable and stunning, with sweeping mountain views. I was out of water by the time I reached the first aid station, and that was expected. It was another 12 miles to the next aid, with a water drop in between. The water drop was only a couple miles after the aid station though, so I didn’t feel the need to fill up, nor I didn’t have any container to fill up. By the time I reached mile 23, temperatures were rising and I was heading…

Sarah McMahon

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