One way to prepare for success in any race is to apply the principle of specificity: do your training runs on terrain that is as similar to what you'll experience in a race as possible.
I'm convinced that the best thing Sarah and I did during our HURT 100 training, the single choice that contributed most to finishing, was pulling together a 20-mile training loop with more than 5,000' of climbing per loop -- very similar to the HURT 100's steep, gnarly course. Training day in, day out on those trails meant that on race day, we had the confidence (and the fitness) to tackle those intimidating climbs.
I'm training for another race with a lot of climbing: the Old Gabe 50k, which packs nearly 11,000' of climbing into just 32 miles. At 13% grade, mile for mile it's similar to Hardrock. So as I plan this spring's long runs, I thought I'd assemble a list of nearby climbs to use as a reference to get in as much climbing as possible.
|Trail||Elevation gain||Round-trip mileage||Average uphill grade|
|Towers Road||1,650'||6.8 miles||9.19%|
|Arthur's Rock||1,180'||3.4 miles||13.15%|
|Round Mountain||2,920'||9 miles||12.29%|
|Crosier Triple||7,200'||25.5 miles||10.7%|
|First ascent (from Drake trailhead)||2,800'||5 miles one way||10.61%|
|Second ascent (middle trailhead)||2,300'||4 miles one way||10.89%|
|Third ascent (Glen Haven trailhead)||2,000'||4 miles one way||9.47%|
Obviously, there are lots of other trails nearby -- I just thought I'd pull together a handy reference for the nearby ones that so many of us train on frequently. Feel free to forward others to me if you'd like to expand this table.
Hope this is helpful, friends; see you on the trail!