I'm currently reading up on training tips and other stuff for Pike's Peak on www.skyrunner.com . One interesting tid-bit is that the ascent tends to take as long as your best marathon time if you are acclimatised to altitude and you can add another half hour to that if you aren't properly acclimatised to altitude.
Before I read this I thought a good goal would be to break 3 hours for the ascent. With proper training my training times suggest I already potentially a 2:50-so marathoner. Add 30 to that and you get 3:20. So I'll keep this in mind as I go, as a finishing time with that spectrum seems likely.
I will definitely take some oxygen treatment in the months leading up to the race. Emma Cutts did notice I had a remarkable resistance to the effects of high altitude when doing the training at Peak Centre (she had to halve the recovery periods and simulate 6000m altitude to trigger the desired effects). Perhaps this will work in my favour, in any case its good I arrive some days early as I can hopefully do a trip to the peak and see what its like in advance of the race.
Because of the varying gradients during the race and the altitude, an even split tactic is of course impossible so its very helpful that a calculator has been created for runners to use here.
As a regular hill runner there is the great advantage of having experience in running non-even split races. The trauma of the Three-Peaks race in 2008 should also serve as a valuable deterrent from going out too fast, always one of the first nails in your coffin in extremely long races.
One of the races I plan to utilise as a training run for Pike's Peak is the new Circuit of Avonbeg which features significant climbs and good distance. It goes without saying that Powerscourt Uphill and the European Trial (Uphill) would also be very useful training sessions. Other routes that I plan to employ frequently is the climbs of Camaderry, Clohernagh and Lugnacoille. While I am in Fargo, I will make sure to do some treadmill runs in the hotel with the incline set to maximum and see if I can get in some very long sessions on that.
In any case, I'll be posting a more detailed training programme once I've had time to plot in the course for all of 2010.