Jay Lemos: Running The Broken Arrow Skyrace in Squaw
What happens when you win the Salomon New York Trail Run Series? You get a ticket to Squaw and an opportunity to compete in the famed Broken Arrow Skyrace. Jay Lemos was the male winner in 2018, meaning that this summer, he went to the Skyrace alongside Kehr Davis. We spoke to Jay to find out how it went:
OF: What were your expectations going in?
JL: I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t really read up on the course or anything the way I should have. It seemed comparable to Breakneck, one of the ones in the Salomon Series so I was like, “okay it shouldn’t be too terrible.”
There was the whole altitude thing and running in snow though…
OF: How did the race go?
JL: It went really well. When I first got there, I went for a shake out run. We ran from the Salomon house to where the race was taking place. I was fine while it was flat but as soon as we started climbing, I was huffing and puffing. Oh man! I had only been at altitude once before in Colorado and it was a hike. This was actual running and I felt it.
My little bit of expectations went down the tube. I just thought “okay this is going to be a sufferfest. I don’t know whats going to happen but it’s going to be epic.”
Afterwards, I stretched a little bit and drank some beers that night . I figured that since the race is probably going to be terrible anyway, might as well have fun.
On Saturday, we warmed up a little at the resort. The race went off and I was jogging the first climb with everyone else. It went really well, I wasn’t breathing heavily the way I was the day before. The adrenaline helped all that.
The climbing was a little rough, I was starting a little burnt out from a really busy spring. I went a little nuts this spring and was racing everything under the sun. By the time Broken Arrow came around, my legs were a little too seasoned for that early on in the summer. It made climbing a little difficult, but the flats and descents went great. Downhill is my specialty, especially in the snow. Some people were being really cautious in the snow. I just went faster.
OF: Did you fall?
JL: I wouldn’t say I fell; I was glissading. That ice burns so I tried to stay upright as much as possible. It was like skiing without skis.
OF: What was the course like?
JL: It’s a two-loop course. After huffing and puffing a few days prior the race, I went into it thinking I would finish in 7 - 7. 5 hours. I finished the first loop in around 2:45 which I thought was way too fast and probably ruined the second loop. I guessed 3:45 for the second loop. I did the second loop in 3:11, which wasn’t far off.
I never look at my watch when I’m in a race. When I’m in it, I know I’m doing what I can. I feel like looking at my watch is like poison, you just stress out and lose focus on running. I finally looked at my watch at the last aid station and saw that I had 24 minutes to break 6 hours and I thought: let’s see what happens. I managed to sneak in at 5:56.
OF: What was the non running part of the experience like?
JL: It was just a cool running festival with vendors and music. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky so it was also really hot.
OF: Did you stay out in the area beyond the race
JL: On Sunday, I ended up working the really high up aid station with Salomon. We were up there giving out water. We hiked up in winter clothing because that’s what everyone said to do because the day before it was cold. But it was actually really hot, we were all just cooking.
OF: Would you go back to this race?
JL: I definitely want to go back to it sometime and do all three distances. I think I’d just have fun with it and not focus on time goals.
OF: What’s your favorite piece of ultra running gear?
JL: I don’t like to run with much stuff. I like to go light. If I wear a belt, it’s usually the Salomon Mod belt, which just fits a couple of amino acid pills in the front and a soft flask in the back. That’s my favorite thing to run with because you don’t feel it,. During a 100 or a really long run at home if I wont be near water for a long period of time, I’ll wear a pack. My go-to is usually the Adv Skin 5 Set.
OF: What’s your favorite place to run locally?
JL: I love Beacon Mountain and Hudson Highlands. You get so much vert in a little distance.