Gore-Tex TransRockies Days 3-6
Day 3 was a nice little reprieve from the battle I had with Hope pass, although I guess the reality is Hope pass was not what kicked my ass, rather it was the last 4 miles of relatively flat ground toward the end. To which I am certain was simply a matter of me pushing it a bit too hard on the down hill.
Today's stage took us from in which we really got to see some of the beauty of the surrounding landscape as we ran out of Leadville, CO across Tennessee Pass through Camp Hale and down to Nova Guides HQ. These 24.3 miles showed me some of the most beautiful single track I think I have experienced in Colorado where I enjoyed meadows, thick aspen groves, beautiful creeks and wide views of the surrounding landscape. This third day was the first time that I really could tell I was not quite in shape for this run although we were holding onto a firm grasp of 11th place we were a long 2 hours behind 10th place. I am not sure why day 3 had me struggling so much at the beginning but for the first 10 miles I was having real difficulty getting my legs to move and although I had my left ankle wrapped for stability it was still managing to really kick my ass.
Finally right around the time I was really hurting I tried to force down a blackberry Gu gel and that was all she wrote...vomit, EVERYWHERE! Now I am certain that you are thinking oh heat issues, and dehydration and all of the classic stuff, but the reality is it was the beers and whisky and bacon...lots of bacon for breakfast. Once the purging was done I felt awesome, able to stretch out my stride and although I was not moving all that fast in reality I was definitely feeling so much better.
The race continued and JT and I finished in good time I think right under 5 hours. As we rounding the last curve we could hear the music and see the cool ponds that soon would take away my aches and tighten up my sissy soft feet, and that my friends was a great relief.
Day 4's trail took us a mere 14.2 miles with 2,800' elevation gain which doesn't sound all that bad until you figure in the insanely cold river we had to run down near then end. Truth be told there was no running at all during the creek section as the rocks were loose and my ankle not so stable. I do have to admit that it was nice to kick back on the mileage and have a bit of confidence that we would make it in relatively good time. Another bonus was the fact that the end of this stage had us coming into Red Cliff, CO which is home to the world famous Mango's and their famous margaritas and fish tacos!!! Great success!!
To be honest the run was a good, nice, little run, but what you really should hear about is the awesome Bloody Marys, Pabst and margaritas that we really put a hurtin on. Actually I am fairly sure everyone did their part to drain Mango's of all of their booze as we drank and ate and laughed we even managed to drag the then 6th place team deep into our booze fest which for some reason I don't think they were quite ready for...but more on that later.
So after a bunch of drinks we headed back on the shuttle for our 15 minute cruise back to Nova Guides, but not before we grabbed a bunch of PBR tall boys and an 18 pack of PBR cans! The party continued late into that night with pseudo keg stands and a ton of Bristol Compass IPA some buddies of ours drug in for the races. Yes it was a longer night and no we were not quite facing the reality of the 5th and 6th stages that would have us covering the last 50 miles.
For the last 2 stages we faced the trip from Red Cliff to Vail and then Vail to Beaver creek, and yeah it was grueling! Once again we faced some massive climbs and some really great changes of scenery, the thing that stuck out in my mind the most were the awesome views of the Gore Range to the north east as we crossed Two Elk Pass on stage 5 and then the awesome views down the valley as we climbed out of Vail and into Beaver Creek. The trail for stage 5 was one of my favorite and also kicked my ass pretty soundly as we climbed and descended and I began to really feel the miles add up on my not quite in shape enough legs. But for some reason I was feeling strong at the finish and we really stretched our legs and it actually felt like we were racing as we pumped out a very fast last mile.
By stage 6 I was blown out, seriously I gimped and limped the 1st 10 miles or so both down hill and up hill were painful. I was fine for strength and cardio but by now my left ankle issues combined with the downhills had formed the perfect storm for me to fall apart, as my quads tightened it caused the knee pain to exacerbate and well as JT liked to remind me it was just a bit of sand in the you know what. Jerk. JT and I managed to pull out the last few climbs of the 6th stage while I proceeded to actually bonk on the last climb and we lost a good bit of time and thought we were in danger of losing our 11th place hold. Fortunately we had a god 1.5hr cushion to protect us but to be honest that could have been eaten away by my "sandy .....".
To add insult to injury after the finish I felt a tummy rumbling and began to hug the toilet at about 7pm and didn't come out of it for a few days, so yeah I missed the infamous stage 7 rager at the Coyote Cafe. Which means I need to come back next year, and when I do I am breaking into the top 10. FACT!
Thanks to all of the TransRockies staff and volunteers as well as to Outside PR and all of the companies and individuals that really put on a fantastic race that is one that should be on any adventurer's bucket list.
Cynthia YOU ROCK!!!
As you go through these pictures see if you can figure out who JT was squealling like a school girl about...but never had the courage to actually say hello.