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A Grand Pacific Northwest Adventure - The 2018 Orcas Island 100 Mile

I crossed the road towards a clearing in the woods at mile 16 of the Orcas Island 100, glancing up at what would become the infamous "Powerline Climb." It has become a bit of a legend of the Orcas Island 25k, 50k, and most recently, 100 mile races. It even has it's own haunting song written about it by Ethan Newberry (aka Ginger Runner). Nic Hollan, last years winner, is quoted as saying its harder than the notorious "Rat Jaw" climb at the Barkley Marathons. This was the moment I'd trained for, 2 miles at an average grade of 22% on a powerline clearing going straight up Mount Constitution. No switchbacks, no real trail to speak of, just a muddy clearing that delivers power to the top of the mountain and to the town of Olga, WA on the other side. It was without a doubt the steepest grade I've ever climbed for any significant duration. Getting to the top took me the better part of 40 minutes on the first loop, but I got to the top feeling amazing as I pi…

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