Bishop, California is a beautiful blend of desert and snow covered mountains. Let me stress the mountain part for a bit. The races start at about 5,000 feet and may get as high as 9,000 feet above sea level. Now let me stress that I live at sea level. Despite that, I wanted to return for my third year of running the 20 mile "fun run" since my lungs would never forgive me if I attempted the 50K or the 50 mile distances. The morning was fairly chilly but the forecast called for a high of 93 F. I braved the start with a minimal amount of clothing thinking it would make me run faster to get warm. Considering the first 11 miles are soft, sandy and uphill, I warmed up faster than a microwave. The races started at 6:00am and once the sun came out, it got hotter than a pubescent boy near the girls' locker room. I could think of a lot more descriptive images to convey just how hot it got, but you probably get the point. I had a bit of a coughing fit as I started climbing but it was probably just the Los Angeles smog leaving my system. The magnificent views of colorful hillsides and the Sierra Nevadas gave me something else to think about between gasps of air. The aid stations were bountiful, in fact the race is basically a connect the dots type event from one cornucopia to the next. There's is absolutely no need to carbo load before this race. Instead, you should save room for loading during the race. As I arrived at the second aid station, I heard one runner behind me actually yell out his demand for chocolate covered strawberries. (Geez, he didn't have to shout, I would've left one for him!) As a female, I feel the sign of any good race is when it is won outright by a female and such was the case in the 50K event. Amy Grafius beat EVERYBODY in 5:15. Not so for my event. I was fifth overall but posted my fastest time on the course in 3:12:06. Must have been the chocolate covered strawberries!