Oregon has lots of great things, like the Seven Wonders of Oregon, dynamic ecosystems, vast forests, and great small towns with fun names like Boring, Dufur, Powder, and Zigzag. We have the largest cheese factory in the world. Let us not forget the cultural weirdness of Portland, or that we sport the highest state tax rate in the nation for the working middle class.

North and Middle Sisters as seen from the Cascades 100 course above Peterson Ridge. (Taken by me during my Oregon Timber Trail bike trip)


But alas, let us shift our thoughts towards the things that Oregon does not have. We do not have a state sales tax or a Real-ID compliant driver’s licenses. We do not have the freedom to pump petroleum into our vehicles unassisted. And the real kicker here is that we do not have our own locally sourced, shade-grown, non-GMO, conflict-free, Oregon-based “Grand Slam of UltraRunning.”

I plan to put an end to this travesty. This year I made it my goal to do my own Oregon Grand Slam. I’ve been playing around with the name a bit, one of my favorites so far is calling it the “Hindsight 2020 Slam” because it is a terrible idea and it’s the year 2020. But it won’t stand up well to time. So I think it should be called the Beaver Slam because it’s our state animal, and they slam the water with their tails and are generally awesome little critters. Maybe they don’t slam the water but more of a slap. So the Beaver Slap?

The plan is as follows:

Slug.Run (> 100 miles)April 18
Old Cascadia 100June 20
Cascades 100August 29
Mountain Lakes 100September 19
The Beaver Slam

It was a toss-up between Pine to Palm and Cascades 100. I ultimately decided on Cascades 100 because P2P is the weekend before ML 100, and it seemed like too much to pack in all at once. My main goal is to finish these races without any significant injuries and it seemed like putting 100’s back-to-back would really be poking that bear with a stick. Also, there is a personal thread that joins Old Cascadia, Cascades, and ML 100- I biked on some of each of these courses during a 9-day bike packing trip of the Oregon Timber Trail that I did last year.

The trail down Crescent Mountain, part of the Old Cascadia 100 course. (Taken by me during my Oregon Timber Trail bike trip). There were miles of old-growth, blooming rhododendrons, beargrass, and lupine.

Slug.run should be interesting as well. It’s a backyard-style ultra (4.17 miles per hour until you drop), and it looks like plenty of good competition there to get me well over 100 miles. I’ve never run a loop for 24 hours before, so it will be interesting. And at $75 for an all-you-can-eat buffet of running, it’s a heckuva deal! I’ve already started training for Slug.run by practicing my race walking. In the evenings I have been walking a 4.17-mile course I have set up in my neighborhood. While listening to podcasts and music I can easily walk the course in 58 minutes, which gives me a comfortable 2 minutes to grab something from a cooler if I want it. So maybe more of a Slug.walk for me.

Slug.run… but maybe Slug.walk. How about Slug.slog?

It should be noted that Oregon now has four “true” 100 mile races including Pine to Palm. Unfortunately, three of them are all clustered within a 22 day-ish window around Late August and September. I’m not to that level yet, so there’s an opportunity for someone else to take it there in the future. So I opted for a last-person-standing run to give some recovery instead of a September cluster.

There’s also quite a few timed runs and last-person-standing type runs in Oregon that can easily be taken to 100+ miles. My decision to do Slug.run had more to do with it being a new race and opportunistic timing. Like my decision to not run P2P, it has nothing against these awesome races, they simply didn’t fit into my personal schedule opportunities for one reason or another.

So between these four ultras: Slug.Run, Old Cascadia 100, Cascades 100, and Mountain Lakes 100- I am embarking on a journey predicated upon some of the most questionable decisions/choices I’ve ever made. In hindsight, I’m sure 2020 will be hard to forget for one reason or another. I’m truly excited to embark on this fool’s errand, and I’ll keep the blog and the NW DirtChurners newsletter updated as I complete each leg of the Beaver Slam.