Author Topic: Aid Stations  (Read 6201 times)

Tom Ferrell

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Aid Stations
« on: July 23, 2016, 04:16:19 PM »
Does anyone know what energy drink/gels/or salt pills are provided at the aid stations?  Gu?  Hammer?  The description on the website is fairly generic.  Also curious which, if any, aid stations will have port-a-potties.  Thanks.

Mark

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2016, 04:44:37 PM »
I don't ever remember any Gu's or Gels at the aid stations, Gatorade and water only. No salt pills either, I carry my own straight salt in a vial which I use every race. Most aid stations have pretzels, grapes, and M&M type snacks.
 
There are A LOT of port-a-potties at the beginning of the race with a couple gals directing traffic. Usually 1 or 2 near the end of the pavement on Ruxton about 1-1/2 miles into the race. Next couple ones are at Barr Camp, after that the summit. In between, wilderness... Of course, above tree line with 3 miles to go, there is no wilderness, just rocks...

I suppose it would be possible for them to put a few at No Name and Bob's Road since they have access to roads but doubt it.

Also, I usually get a "shower" from the volunteers at Bob's and Ruxton on the way down, I'm usually about dead and the heat is just killer...

If anything needs correcting above, please chime in other racers or PP crew.
Good luck

John Garner

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2016, 10:43:28 AM »
At each aid station you will generally find the following:

  • Water (cups and pitchers for bottle refills)
  • Gatorade (cups and pitchers for bottle refills)
  • Grapes / Pretzels / Skittles (The exact items vary slightly)
  • Enthusiastic volunteers to cheer you on

What you will not find:
  • Ice
  • Soda
  • Salt Tablets
  • Gel Packets (too may combinations of something that folks tend to be very particular about and very expensive unless you can find a vendor to give them away for free. Then there is the major trash issue of runners leaving half eaten gel packets and those little tops all over the trail for a half mile after each aid station since they grabbed two because they were there and not because they really planned on taking one at that point ahead of time. Not a big deal for stuff the Marmots will just eat later but even they won't touch the gel packets.)
  • Porta Pots (All but 1 of the on-course aid stations requires a long hike or very rough 4x4 road to get to. The only way to get a porta pot there is to use a helicopter, making it the world's most expensive porta pot service.)
  • Spare legs
  • Extra set of lungs

Stephen Peterson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 09:55:57 AM »
Last year the Barr Camp aid station had soda on the way back down.  And I have to say, that was awesome for an upset stomach.

James Carlson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2016, 03:18:33 PM »
Hi there,

I'm doing the Ascent for the first time. I've done the full race course two times in the last three weeks, and I've been practicing my fluid and gel intake during those runs. I see that the final aid station is at the Cirque, but the Cirque sign seems a bit too far. And now rereading Matt Carpenter's course description, he makes it sound like the aid station is actually well before the Cirque. Is this the case?  If so, can someone tell me about how far past the 2-to-Go (or how much before the Cirque sign) the aid station is?

Thanks ... James

Yoni Fridman

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2016, 09:02:12 AM »
You're right, the aid station is well before the actual Cirque sign. If you look at the aid station locations on the race website, that aid station is listed as 11.9 miles into the Ascent, whereas the finish line is 13.32. Since the Cirque sign is very close to the 1-mile-to-go sign, that'd put the aid station about 0.4 miles before the Cirque.

That's about in line with what I remember. I would've guessed the aid station is about 2/3 of the way from the 2-to-go sign to the 1-to-go sign.

James Carlson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2016, 01:49:25 PM »
Thanks, Yoni, that's helpful.

James Carlson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 08:57:23 AM »
I read a blog post or a race report from someone awhile back that said the aid station at either the A-Frame or the Cirque had run out of water by the time they arrived and only had Gatorade. I've been practicing with a hydration pack and bottles but on race day will rely on the aid stations for water to wash down my gels. I should come through A-Frame in about 2:50 and the Cirque aid station around 3:25 or so. (Though, I should say that due to a very slow qualifying race, I'm in wave 17 so will be starting 17 minutes after the 1st wave.) Is there a chance these two stations will run out of water before I get there? If so, I may carry a pack.

Thanks!

John Garner

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 08:08:29 AM »
1st things first: ALWAYS CARY A WATER BOTTLE / BELT / PACK!!!!! Nobody, not even the top runners in this race, should try and finish the race using the aid stations alone. Matt Carpenter always had a water bottle on him (even on the downhill), Alex Nichols had a hydration pack for his win last year. The only folks who don't carry water are the folks who think that they are somehow better than Matt. They always suffer, horribly. I've seen it year in and year out. They may finish, but they always end up in the med tent at the end and usually end up losing significant time in the last portion of the race because of their pride.

In terms of running out, A-Frame had an issue 4 years or so ago one year where one of the two water filters broke. They didn't totally run out, they just could not filter it fast enough at times.

Cirque gets it's water from a hose run down from the summit. I have no recollection of them ever running out of water.  (I was the lead for the Cirque aid station for 3 years) I do have many cases where delirious runners passed the volunteers handing out water and then asked the ones 10' further down the trail who only have gatorade if they could have some water. Confusion ensued when the volunteer told them that they only had gatorade, not water. It was not that there was no water, it was that they walked right past it.

So here are the two best tips for hydration in the PPA/PPM:

1) Always be prepared to skip the next aid station. Carry a hand bottle, belt, whatever. Use it between the aid stations and then refill it along the way.
2) As you approach an aid station, start to call out what you want and then listen for a reply. If you want water, yell out for water and a volunteer will bring it to you. Don't be passive.

KSFlatlander

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 10:04:03 AM »
The water issue was  in 2011 at Aframe.  Like John said, they had a difficult time keeping up with the large number of people hitting the aid station at one time, and yes they had equipment issues.   In addition to what John said, if you need your water bottle refilled, it's helpful if you remove the lid to your bottle as you are approaching the aid station/person with the refill pitchers...it speeds up the process for everyone...aid station personnel and other competitors.

James Carlson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2016, 05:25:56 PM »
Thanks, John, for the thoughts. I'm now considering wearing my Nathan pack. But I'd be interested in other veterans' thoughts on John's admonition to always have a bottle or pack. I would really like to run without one. I don't think I'm better than Matt Carpenter who always brings a bottle. But I think I've trained on the entire race course -- from start line to peak -- three times and each time ate a gel and drank 1.5 cups of water at the aid station locations and ONLY at the aid station locations to make sure my body was used to this. I know you never know what's going to happen, but as long as I don't run a 4 minute first mile or the aid station don't run out of water, then I'm wondering what could go so horrible wrong compared to my training runs. (Famous last words, I know.)

Thoughts?

Yoni Fridman

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2016, 07:23:36 PM »
James, what have your times been on your training runs to the top? How much exactly did you drink Ė 1.5 cups (12 oz) at each aid station location? So about 2 liters total?

I donít want to discount what John says, he does an awesome job and has great advice. And I definitely donít think Iím better than Matt Carpenter! But I do think everyoneís different. I enjoy running as light as possible. Iíve raced the last 7 years Ė 6 PPA and 1 PPM. I do the PPA in about 3:30. I donít carry hydration and have never had a problem. I bring 3 Guís, eat a bit of the aid station snacks, and grab a cup of (diluted) Gatorade at some of the aid stations, and a cup of Gatorade + a cup of water at others.

The cups are small paper cups and not fully filled - maybe 4 oz each? So my strategy ends up getting me maybe a liter of fluids total on the Ascent. Iím a small guy, and I know that works for me from experience.

I wouldnít recommend running without hydration on your first race. Most newbies and veterans (as John says) run with hydration, and most like it. But I also donít think itís an absolute necessity for everyone. Anyone else want to chime in?

James Carlson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2016, 08:39:11 PM »
Yoni, My last training time to the top a week ago was 3:54. The previous two times were just over 4 hours. My routine was taking a Gu and between 12 and 16 ounces at five aid station locations (all but the Barr Trail one and and Bob's road station). It comes out to fueling about every 40 minutes.

It's good to know about the fullness of the cups. I'll plan to drink three or four cups at each station. I like the cups over the hydration pack because, especially as I get higher, it gets harder and harder to drink enough out of the hydration pack without getting out of breath.

I'm still deciding though. I appreciate your help.

Yoni Fridman

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2016, 08:52:33 PM »
3:54 is a good time. It will be tough though to get 12-16 oz at the aid stations; it might also force you to stop for longer than you want to.

I know what you mean about the hydration packs. Another good option is to get a hand-held squirt bottle with a strap that holds around the back of your hand, so you don't have to hold the bottle the whole way. Get one with a wide-mouthed lid that's easy to remove and fill at the aid stations. Then it's really easy to squirt water into your mouth as you go, rather than having to suck on the camelback tube.

James Carlson

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Re: Aid Stations
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2016, 09:51:04 PM »
6 PPAs and a marathon, Yoni? Impressive.

The bottle is a good idea, though I don't like handheld bottles. I might end up wearing my Nathan pack with no bladder and just put two empty wide-mouth bottles in the chest pockets and fill them up along the way at the stations.

Heck, the forecast for Saturday morning makes a pack (stuffed with a jacket) seem the prudent choice.

Good luck this weekend.