I recently had the pleasure of running the 2017 Lookout Mountain 50 mile trail race in Chattanooga Tennessee. This was my first opportunity to race with the WilsonPac and i was pumped to see how it would perform when every second counts and stress and fatigue are in full force.
The Lookout Mountain 50 miler is a great event and would be a awesome addition to anyone's 50 miler list. It is also the RRCA Ultra National Championship which is a cool bonus and really draws some good competition to the start line. The course is roughly 90% of single track trail through the mountains of North Georgia and Tennessee, offering some stunning views along the way. Info from my GPS watch gives the course a total of 8,600 feet of vertical ascent with the length being exactly 50 miles. My Official time was 8:56:38, earning 13th place overall.
THE WILSON PAC
I was in love with the WilsonPac from day 1. I had been running with the more traditional ultra running vests for more than a year before I made the switch to VestPac. I was never totally happy with the other vests on the market. They tended to be too bulky, the pockets were usually hard to find and difficult to reach especially when your mind is under the effects of extreme fatigue. They could be difficult at times to take off and put on at aid stations, costing valuable time in the refueling process. I was in search for a running vest that was low profile, well made, dependable, comfortable and practical. VestPac was my answer. My WilsonPac carries exactly what I need for gear, hydration and nutrition perfectly. Everything is super accessible and every space is utilized.
On race day i used the 1L bladder that comes with the WilsonPac. It holds the perfect amount of water for me to get from aid station to aid station, usually around 7 to 10 miles in-between. The Bladder is extremely easy to access when you need to refill and it delivers the perfect amount of water through the bite valve when i need a sip. Just a VestPac promises the water coming from the bladder tastes clean like it should, no plastic flavor. The hose clip that comes standard on the WilsonPac keeps everything right where you want it.
During the race I used the front storage on my WilsonPac to carry 6 energy gel packs between aid stations. You can easily fit up to 10 energy gels, candy bars, chews or whatever suits your personal nutrition needs in the pac. I ran the whole race using Gels so that's what I had. I always use one of the top pouches to carry my iPhone and some rolled up tissue paper, in-case i need to make a pit-stop along the trail. Essentially, the WilsonPac has enough room for snacks and gear to get me through about 15 hard miles on the trail without resupply. Again, I love the Pac because every thing is easy to access and there is not a bunch of extra space to fill with inessential "junk", which was a bad habit of mine in past races.
Earlier I mentioned how easy it is to get the WilsonPac on and off. I simply unlatch the two buckles on the waist straps and the pac comes right off over my head. This saved me loads of time in the resupply process at aid stations. The hydration bladder slides right out and back in. No zippers, velcro or anything to cost time or energy. During the race i only spent a total of 16 minutes refueling at aid stations, less than half the time of other similar races I have ran in the past. I attribute this to the efficiency of my WilsonPac. I have logged over 500 miles of running with my WilsonPac and I have never experienced any chafing, rubbing or discomfort caused by the vest. Even after all the hard miles the vest still looks like new and has not shown any sign of wear or tear. This is all the evidence I need to insure me that Vest Pac is producing a top quality and durable product. It's nice to know when I'm deep in the mountains and my life could potentially depend on my gear that I'm wearing a product that will perform! I am looking forward to some tough races in 2018 including a 106 miler with 33,000 feet of vertical ascent through the mountains of North Georgia.
Stay tuned for more VestPac Ultra Running Reports!