Deadman Peaks 30K Trail Run - Cuba, New Mexico
Elevation Range:  6350'-7400'
October 17, 2015 - 

The Deadman Peaks Trail Run is a deceptively hard and surprisingly beautiful high desert race near Cuba, NM. The course is on the Continental Divide Trail through the Rio Puerco Valley. The race is mostly single track with some jeep trails and has it all from sand to rocks and slick rock through rolling terrain with a few interesting hills between 6,350 and 7,400 ft. The area is very desolate, but uniquely beautiful going through Pinon Forest to Hoodoo's. There are expansive views of the high desert, badlands, mesas, mountains, and some very unique volcanic plugs, like Cabezon Peak. The 50 mile course is an out and back starting near Cuba, NM first heading South toward Cabezon Peak. The Marathon starts at the 50 Mile turn around and heads North. New this year is the 30K which starts at the same location as the 50 Mile and also an out and back.

After a week of technical trails around Arizona and New Mexico I treated myself to a quick scamper across some deserty terrain in a remote part of NM that was new to me. This short out-and-back course was just the ticket to test my race tempo and fitness a week before my hundred-mile season begins. Twenty-eight of us lined up at a reasonable 0900 just south of Cuba to head out on a mostly sandy jeep trail on a gradual climb up the back side of a mesa. After a two-mile pre-event warm-up I quickly found my sweet spot and settled into a conservative pace that enabled me to run up and down the gullies and climbs without any strain. I didn't want to race hard. Just wanted to take it easy and gauge where my fitness was.

After six miles the course follows the edge of a wonderful sheer cliff before diving straight down on precipitous switchbacks. A couple young guys, Marley and Ross, caught up to me so that the run became mostly social going into the halfway turnaround. Four runners were ahead of us and it was unlikely we were going to catch them. After the turn I dug in a little to push the tempo going back before climbing up the cliff to the top of the mesa. Once on top I pushed the final seven miles to test my strength and reserves, enjoying the pleasant company of a young woman named Nicole in the final hour.

Knowing I had an immediate 27-hour drive following the race, I backed off in the last mile to let my legs process metabolites before I crawled back into a cramped car, finishing in sixth place in a comfortable 3:12:36. It was fun. Controlled and relaxing. The real test will come in a week with one hundred miles of tough eastern trails to negotiate.

with Marley and Nicole at the finish