Friday, December 16, 2011

Ultrarunning May 1981

This race report originally appeared in the May 1981 edition of Ultrarunning Magazine.  It is typed as seen in the original magazine.

Knickerbocker Knocks Back Record...3:40:42 for 60 km
by Stan Wagon

The NYRRC's 1981 Ultra Series got off to a fine start on March 7, with the fourth annual Knickerbocker 60 km run in Central Park. Several inches of snow the previous day and a brisk wind made for chilly spectators and split recorders, but the road in the park was free of snow, and the conditions were good for running. Central Park joggers must be fairly used to weekend races by now, and they seem to enjoy the presence of such events.

The pre-race favorite was Bill DeVoe of Queens, who has an impressive ultra record for someone who's only been running seriously for three years.  In 1980 he defeated Allan Kirik in a 40-miler, won the national TAC 50 km championship and the Philadelphia Marathon, and placed 4th at Boston with a 2:24:47.  Bill led through the first lap in 38:02, but was not running away from the field, as both Larry Friedman and Terry Knickerbocker looked strong, 30 seconds back.

The race was a homecoming of sorts for the 32-year-old Knickerbocker.  He had won the inaugural version of this race 4 years ago, running a U.S. best time to do it.  Incidentally, the race was not named for Terry, but, after it was over, it was certain that if you heard someone say "Knickerbocker" it was Terry they meant, not the race.  While not a force in ultras since that 60 km win, Terry staged a comeback of sorts.  Free of injury, and with 27 straight weeks of 100+ miles (and, notes Terry, "weight work to develop my quads") he felt ready for a good race.

DeVoe held the lead with two more laps in the 36 minute range, but, the fourth time around, Knickerbocker made a strong move, taking the lead with a 35:52.  DeVoe  was suffering a bit from stomach cramp sand was unable to stay at the front.  But Knickerbocker seemed to get stronger and smoother as the race progressed.  After 50 km it was clear that he was not going to be pressed, and with a split of 3:04:05, he knew he had a chance to regain the record he set four years ago.  That record had been improved twice, by Alan Kirik, and, this past January, by Frank Bozanich, who lowered it to 3:44:10 (see story elsewhere in this issue).  But Terry pushed himself through the final lap, finishing in a new U.S. best of 3:40:42 (5:55 pace).   The field included many old-timers on the N.Y.C. ultra seen, and all seemed quite pleased at Knickerbocker's return to form.

Larry Friedman's steady race earned him a fine time to go along with his second place finish (6:15 pace), while 41-year-old Bob Van De Kieft ran a noteworthy 4:09.  The list of finishers read like a who's who of east coast ultramarathoning, and if that wasn't evident, it was made clear at the awards ceremony.  Race director Richie Innamorato presided, and he seemed to know the ultra history of each of the top 20 runners as well as they knew the road in Central Park.
It was no surprise that 45-year-old Sue Medaglia was the first woman.  She was displeased at how much her time was slowed by several pit stops, but still, it's the third best amount American women.  And there was no surprise int he team competition either, as the Millrose team, Knickerbocker, DeVoe, and Bill Hart, won easily.

At the awards ceremony, Allan Kirik was presented with the NYRRC'c Ultra Runner of the Year Award for 1980.  Highlights of the year for Kirik included a strong second place int he London-Brighton 54 miler, a super-fast 6:37:54 for 100 km (6:24 pace), and a sub five hour effort for 50 miles in windy conditions at Copper Harbor, Mich.

Knickerbocker 60 Km

Central Park, N.Y. March 7, 1981
Certified  37.28 mi

1.   Terry Knickerbocker    3:40:42 (American Record)
2.   Larry Friedman            3:53:23
3.   Bill DeVoe                  4:00:52
4.   Tom Chiaro                 4:03:18
5.   Bob Van De Kieft       4:09:16
6.   Bill Lawder                 4:13:38
7.   Glenn Olszewski         4:16:22
8.   Bill Hart                      4:17:54
9.   Rafael Bordonaba       4:19:55
10. Martin Kittell              4:20:05
31. Sue Medaglia              5:09:11

I only typed in the top 10 and first place woman, there were 47 finishers and 58 starters.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trail Striders, The Final Episode

Here is the final episode of the Trail Striders documentary.  I was a bit disappointed with this video when we saw it at Transrockies, and I still am today.  After so many good episodes, I expected a really cool ending, it is still a fun little video though.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Marion Corrigan Memorial 24 Hour Super Run

This original race report was in the January-Febuary 1982 ultrarunning magazine.  It is re-typed as it was.  I will look through some more of these old magazines and post stories that I find interesting.  I picked this one once I saw that the race was held on a 150 meter long indoor track!  Please note that the author was 62 years old at the time of the race and set the US 60 and over record for 24 hours.

Spending a Day Indoors? Why Not Run 1000 Laps
by John Huckaby

It was a dreary Saturday morning as my wife, Betty, my marathon poodle, Suzette, and I headed to Friendly's for pancakes.  The waitress stared in wide-eyed disbelief as I dumped a pint of liquid fructose on my hotcakes instead of using the syrup she shoved at me from across the counter.  Little did she realize that I would run for 24 hours on that gloopy glob of griddle cakes saturated with viscous, sticky syrup.  We gave some breakfast sausage to Suzette, and headed for Auburn's outdoor track.

But blizzard-like conditions made the outdoor track event impossible, and the organizers fell back on their alternate plan, to hold the race on a certified 150 meter indoor track.  Nine runners toed the line, including race director Allan Wilson, and Al Hastings.  These two seemed like gladiators, and were really hyped up for the race.  They were both from Auburn, and had raced often in the past; Wilson beat Hastings last year by chalking up101 miles, and this year they both had their eyes on 125.  On my right was Sue Kahler, also of Auburn, who had run three marathons on consecutive weekends, winning two of them and finishing fourth in the Skylon Marathon.

At the gun, Wilson, Hastings, Kahler and on of the runners from the 6-person relay team took off while the rest of the field settled into a slower pace.  Still, it didn't take me long to realize that the pace was too fast.  Suzette came in for a couple of laps but then quit.  She returned later for a paw print autograph session with her fans.  The short track was somewhat boring, but every two hours we changed directions to unwind.  I locked in on a pace that would get me to 50 miles in about ten hours, and allow me time to take short walks every 15 minutes to keep my legs from cramping.

The public address system blared fourth good rock-and-roll, but after awhileI suggested they burn the tape of a song called "Another One Bites the Dust"; it was putting a psychological whammy on me.  In the early morning hours, after about 21 hours of hoofing around the track, they played, appropriately, "It's Been a Hard Day's Night."

While the leaders kept trying to outdo each other, Sue was hanging in there, running as gracefully as a ballet dancer.  If she kept it up, the guys would be in trouble.  But after about 8 hours, her legs cramped and her stride became ragged.  My wife gave her a rubdown with some powerful analgesic horse liniment, which also works well on the sinuses.  That junk is so powerful that it would mollify a petrified hamstring. Sue recovered her stride, but later was troubled with general fatigue (who wasn't?).  She ended up with over 116 miles, the fourth-longest distance ever run in 24 hours by a woman.

With about 30 minuted to go I had covered 98 miles.  There was quite a crowd on hand as the race was a fund-raiser for the March of Dimes and had received a lot of publicity.  It was a great moment to grandstand for those who had anything left.  Someone yelled to me to pick it up or I'd fall short of a hundred, and this caused a violent reaction on my part.  I started sprinting (forgetting that I had pledged a dollar for every mile I ran), and broke 100 with plenty of time to spare.  As I closed in on the 100 mark, I decided to give all the spectators a thrill.  I climbed out of my body, got up on my shoulders, and whipped myself like a jockey; I twisted my right hand clockwise to pump more gas into the big Harley motorcycle under me.  Faster and faster! My Etonics were just a blur as I went head-to-head with Dave Hall, from the relay team.  I startled him by outkicking him for 50 meters, but I couldn't hold it.

Everyone expected Hastings to hit the wall, but when he did, so had everyone else.  Ex-marin Wilson was tough, but her had to settle for second today.  I was pleased with my total; it had been a rough training schedule leading up to this race.  A 50 miler the previous weekend, 50 miles in training, and this race made for a 200 mile week.

While driving back home on the Thruway, my wife said, "giving that money to the March of Dimes was just great, they'll put it to good use in the prevention and treatment of birth defects."  Later, while staring straight ahead into the snow squalls, she said, "I know of one person that is suffering from a major birth defect - like missing a whole brain."  I didn't hear a word she said...I was wondering if the 24 hour run was going to be enough of a depletion run for the Philadelphia Marathon the next weekend.

Marion Corrigan Memorial 24 Hour Super Run
Auburn, NY  Nov. 21-22, 1981
Indoor 150 meter track
(with 50 km, 50 mi, 100 km and 100 mi splits)

Name, age mi yd
1.Al Hastings,36 122 528

2. Al Wilson,32 118 1499

3. Sue Kahler,27 116 676

4. John Huckaby,62 101 753
US 60&over 24 hr record

5. Kenny Davis,16 75 704

6. Perry Cook,22 50 1232

7. Bill Reynolds,24 50 880

8. Jack Brennen,20 41 1478

9. Mark Hall,13 41 1320

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 JFK 50 Miler

Back in the early summer there was great interest by many people to go and run the JFK 50 Miler and with the new registration process you had to be sure in July that you wanted to go, otherwise you were not getting in.

My plan was to try and get a male and a female team down to JFK and thought it was going to be hard to get a women's team but I should have more than enough guys to field the three person team.  In the end, I was the lone male and I was able to get a very strong female team signed up.

Fast forward to November.  In one form or another all of the runners that were doing JFK were at my race the RI 6 Hour.  I felt like all I needed to do was get through the 6 hour then I could finally focus on JFK.  Up until then I hadn't given much thought to many of the plans we had to make for JFK because I was pre-occupied with the 6 Hour organization.

Once the 6 Hour was put to rest for another year, we made some travel plans and on Friday morning around 7am the 4 runners plus Karen's husband Kevin and daughter Eva were off to Hagerstown, MD.  Fortunately the ride was uneventful and we arrived around the time we had planned.  We were staying at the host hotel where packet pick-up was, so it made things even simpler the day before the race, we checked-in, brought our stuff to our rooms, grabbed our race numbers and then all went out for a short run to loosen up the legs after being crammed in a car for a good part of the day.

Two friends that Jackie and I know from Canada were going to be at the race and we had hoped to have them join our crew of 6 for dinner and as though all the planets lined up we bumped into them at the packet pick-up and they were staying right accross from an Olive Garden, so they got there a little early put our name in the hat and by the time we arrived we only had about a half an hour wait.  It seemed everything was coming together well for us and we would be able to eat, get back to the hotel room early, get our stuff together and get to bed early so we could be awakened at 4:30 am for the start of our long race day.

Race morning came fast, but everyone seemed to have rested well.   We drove from Hagerstown to Boonsboro in the dark of morning and arrived at the school for the pre-race meeting and/or to stand in a line for the bathroom, depending on who you were.  Once the meeting was over we made our trek to the starting line, which is over a half mile from the school.  As soon as we arrived, we hear "Three minutes until the start"  WHOA!  that came quick.  The four of us quickly stripped down to our race gear and moved a little closer to the front and before we knew it BANG!  the 2011 JFK 50 had started.

The race starts on a main paved road, which you are on for just over 2 miles and in that time you climb around 1000 feet.  I stayed slow and behind many people that I would later pass, but knew there was no need to sprint out in the first miles, because this was going to be a long day.

After those climbing road miles were over you dropped into a short trail section, which was just a short tease of the terrain that would come soon after.  The short trail section lead us to another paved road that would again rise about for over a mile before we finally got onto the AT section that we would stay on until about 15.5 miles.

The AT section is very rocky and is covered in many, many, leaves.  I saw numerous people take tumbles in front of me, just as I had in 2007, but this year I was careful and never even came close to hitting the ground.   For most of the AT I was running with Ian Torrence.  This was his 17th time running this race, so I knew, he knew what he was doing, however earlier in the race he stated that he would not break 7 hours this year, so although it was nice to follow him through the AT, once we hit the canal path at 15.5 I had to get down to buisness because I had some time to make up.

The C&O Canal Path was mostly uneventful.  The path is basically a marathon and has no turns to speak of.  It is flat and made up of hard packed dirt, it was a little forgiving on the legs, but tough to keep the mind in the game when fatigue and boredom sets in.  I thought I handled both well, and when hit with what I thought was going to be a major breakdown I stepped up to the challenge and worked through it and finally made it to the end of the canal path and was about to start the 8+ mile trek on the rolling pavement that would lead me to the finish line.

The last 8 miles had each mile marked in reverse order.  It was a nice little countdown to the end.  At first 8 to go seemed short, but then 4 to go seemed like the longest run I would ever have to conquer.  By the time I got to the 1 mile to go mark I was happy the race was almost over.  Content that I would run under 7 hours and just got it in.  It was a nice way to finish the race.  I wasn't in horrible pain as I have been in at the end of the other two 50s that I had run and I was able to run every step of this race and the last mile would be no different.  I cruised in at 8 min pace, came down the final 600 meter which is a slight uphill and heard my name over the loud speaker.  I had finished in 23rd place in 6:55:08, a time I was happy with, but you always want more.

Now that I had finished, my attention turned to the women.  When would I see them come in, how was their race going?  I had no clue how the last 7 hours had gone for them.  The good thing was I did not have to wait long for the answer.  Karen was seen coming down the long straight away with another woman on her tail.  She was able to hold her off and finished as 4th woman in 7:07:35.  Not too long after we spot Jackie's bright green shirt.  She was going to smash her sub 7:30 goal with a time of 7:19:53 and a 7th place finish in the women's division.

Now we waited for Issy, we knew that with a descent finish from her that the women would not only win the team title, but would beat the women's team record from 2002.  Fortunately for us we did not have to wait in suspense too long, Issy had run faster than she thought she would, running an 8:20:29.  The girls smashed the old team record of 25:11:16 with a 3 person total of 22:47:57! 

2011 Women's Team Champions!

In the end we were all pretty happy with our results.  We went in to the gym to warm up, get some food and wait for the awards.  After that we jumped on a trolley bus type of vehicle which carried us about a half mile to the car and we were off, back to the hotel.  After taking a very refreshing shower we went to a restaurant called Barefoot Bernies to grab some grub and a celebratory beer.  After that the group, minus Jackie and I went to Dairy Queen for some more celebrating!

The night ended in true Turtle fashion with Jackie, Issy and myself pouring some bombers into some pint glasses and falling asleep while still chatting...I would say it was a successful trip.

Jackie, Me, Issy, Karen...the morning after.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trail Striders Part 4

In this episode the Trail Striders you will learn about the wandering creatures social habits.

If you have missed the first three episodes of the Trail Striders, see them here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trail Striders, part 1 and 2

When we were at the TransRockies race they showed us a video of the days events every night.  For the opening of those videos they came up with a fun little documentry series about the "Trail Striders".  Every nights video started off with a little bit more informtaion about the "Trail Striders".  Well they finally started releasing those videos to the "public" last week and will be releasing one a week until they reach the finale.

You can see the first two videos below.  I will continue to add the videos as they become available.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TNT-NRA Showdown

In 2009 someone thought it would be a good idea to have a dual meet type race between the Tuesday Night Turtles and the Narragansett Running Association.  Our two clubs have done training runs together, had coffee together and drank a beer or two together.  So we thought it would be fun to have a club versus club 5k.  On July 29, 2009 it happened, and the Tuesday Night Turtles came out victorious!

Overall the race was a great success; we had good weather, a descent turnout and a well put together after-party with pizza and beer.  So of course, we said, "We should do this again next year".  But 2010 came and went, and although it was talked about here and there the race never happened.

Flash forward to 2011: Another push was on, mostly by the NRA, to have another club race.  After a couple of dates were set and postponed, the teams finally decided on October 5th.  Since TNT did most of the organizing of the 2009 event, it was up to the NRA to do the work in 2011.  They came up with a crazy scoring system - as opposed to the cross country style scoring we used in 2009 - they picked the venue, set-up the course and picked the after-party location.  In the end, all of these things came together just fine.

Now it was said that the NRA was super-stoked for this race, trash talking etc.  They also have a much bigger club than we do, and Turtles don't usually show up en masse to races these days.  So I was in major recruiting mode.  I was emailing Turtles that I haven't seen in years, emailing the club with weekly pleas to show up.  I made every effort possible to get a good showing, and surprisingly, it paid off!  We had 27 runners on the starting line, with a couple more there for support. The NRA only mustered 13!  Right away it was a moral victory.

The race started at 6:45 p.m. and would be run in the dark.  From the gun, I knew that the NRA's Mike Galoob would take it out and get the victory.  I am not in any kind of 5k shape, so I just wanted to hold second place and hope my teammates came through behind me.  Standing at the finish line after I crossed, I couldn't even see the runners coming in because it was so dark.  But it soon became clear that we had more runners in then they did, and before half the runners were in, I headed off with Jackie to do the second part of our workout knowing we were probably victorious once again.

Jackie and I ran the course again with a few intervals and pulled back into the parking lot to see pretty much every NRA runner gone and the Turtles were still BS'ing in the lot.  It was great to see everyone come together and get excited about a single race.

Afterward, many of us headed over to the Sonoma Pub and enjoyed some food and beer with our enemies - er - friends, the NRA.  It was a good turnout all around.  Next year, we set the rules and pick the venue, so it should be interesting!

TNT Pre-Race

Friday, October 21, 2011

TransRockies Wrap-up

So all the racing was finally done.  We checked in to our hotel, went through our bags yadda yadda...showered up and headed downstairs to the hotel lobby to check into our flight which was scheduled to fly out on Saturday @ 1:45pm.  I go to the computer, put in the info and AHHH, CANCELLED!  Damn Hurricane Irene had caused chaos in the flights around the U.S. especially in New England.  So now we had about an hour and a half to figure something out before the after party.  I attempted to book another flight heading out earlier, and got to the PURCHASE button and bam...someone got the last seat before me.  So when all was said and done we booked a flight for Monday instead of Saturday and were going to stay for 2 extra nights in a rinky dink hotel near the Denver Airport for two nights before heading back to RI.

Before we got there however, we had some celebrating to do.  The final dinner for the Transrockies was in the Beaver Creek Resort Ballroom.  The food was great, there was some free beer, and good company with AJ and Keri Wheeler and Thor, Jay, and their wives.  This was our finally hurrah with these guys and we enjoyed every minute of it.

After dinner it was the same ol' routine.  Awards, photos, and videos...but this time it was an accumulation of the whole week!  There was a lot to watch and crazy how some of the events seemed so long ago even though it was only a few days.

Once all that was over we had to say our goodbyes to AJ and Keri.  They were not going to the 7th Stage, as the Transrockies people called it, instead they had to get back to their hotel because they had an early departure in the AM.  It was pretty weird saying goodbye to them as we had spent most of the week hanging out, and now we wouldn't see them in the morning and didn't know if or when we would ever see them again.

On the other had we were STUCK with Thor and Jay.  They were going to the 7th Stage, which by the way is the after party to the final banquet, and not only that they lived in Massachusetts, so it will be hard going more than a few months without seeing them...DAMN!  (I hope they don't read this)

The 7th stage was held at some bar I can't remember the name of and this place, even though was in a resort, looked very "Colorado" to me, it probably looked that way because it was a resort.  There were animals hanging from the wall, there was a red glow to the place, and it was packed!  We were fortunate enough to get in there pretty early and get a table for the 6 or us.  We had a few Colorado brews took in the scenes and around midnight decided to call it a day.  We said our goodbyes to the Kirleiss' and Newtons' and headed back to a night in a BED, no more air mattress for us!

The rest of the story is unimportant and irrelevant to Transrockies the race, so I will keep it short.  With our whole travel debacle, we took our reserved shuttle from Vail to the Denver airport...but we had no plane, so we took the Comfort Inn Hotel shuttle to our hotel.  On the way we passed a few dozen hotels, all nice and close to all the restaurants that Avon, CO had to offer, our hotel was just over a mile from those - damn.  So for the next day and a half we walked over to these restaurants for lunch and dinner, we ran one of the days, and other then that we sat in the hotel watching movies.  I was a little scared to go in the pool, and one of the vending machines had expired food, but other than that it was a good time :).

Finally Monday came and we made our way to the airport to get out of Colorado and back home to see if there was any damage and hoping we had power as many were still out.  We were good on all matters, so that was a relief.

Sooo...Tranrockies was a cool experience.  It was one of those races I saw in an ad for awhile and couldn't get my mind off of, so I decided we should do it.  Would we do it again?  Yes, but it wouldn't be anytime soon, the race is just too damn expensive.

I do think running this race is a cool way to roam the Colorado mountains without having to worry about much other than running, so that was nice and I would definitely recommend the race if anyone asked about it.

Before we left for CO, a lot of people said "you are going to want to move out there when you get back"  etc.  So many people said this that I was planning on moving out there before we even left!  But Jackie and I both felt Colorado isn't the place to be.  It is nice, but we still love RI too much to leave everything behind!

...and because I forgot about this in all of these posts, here is a short list of some of the gear that we had with us, not including all the obvious shorts and tops etc.
Brooks Cascadia
Brooks Arm Sleeves
Salomon XT Advance Skin 5 S-Lab Set Pack  (I carried everything so Jackie didn't have to)
Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus Handheld Bottles
Nuun Electrolyte Tabs

Final Results

Here are a few final photos...finally I can write about something else!

Final awards dinner

Wall art...

Some more of that.

This is what everything looks like at Stage 7

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stage 6 - Vail to Beaver Creek

The last day...

Of course with any long journey there are mixed emotions going into the final day.  There is excitement and relief, but also sadness that the event will be over, we will be leaving our new friends and will have to go back to our regular lives and not be just running and eating all day everyday!

Stage 6 would have us leaving Vail Mountain, starting straight uphill for a short bit, then running on roads, yes roads for about 3 miles, crossing over route 70 and switchbacking up some mountain.  Then we would come back down, cross the highway again, and head back up the other side to the top of Beaver Creek before the final descent into the beautiful Beaver Creek Resort and our soft hotel bed that awaited!!

After the uphill start we got into a pretty good groove on the roads.  We didn't go crazy early because this stage had the most elevation gain of all six stage with 5100 ft!

As you can see from the elevation graph, there was a lot of work to be done, so this 3 miles of road didn't have to be rushed.  Going into this stage I don't remember the legs being horribly tired or anything, I think they were past that point and were just running on there own.  I do belive that Jackie and I got stronger as the week went on and stage 6 was no execption as we both felt pretty damn good throughout the stage.  We climbed well on the first climb and the second...the last climb was a bitch and Jackie finally showed that she was human and wasn't pulling me up the hills anymore.  Once we popped out of the trees and onto the access road for that last final descent, it was a great relief that we knew we had accomplished our goal and in the final stage I felt like we were actually racing as we had some back and forth action with a few treams, including two in our division that we were able to beat out and finish in 8th for the day in 4:28:00, finishing one spot behind our good friends Keri and AJ Wheeler.

Once finshed we rounded up our suitcases etc and waited for Thor and Jay to come down the mountain, and we didn't have to wait long as they saved their best day for last and rocked the stage in a solid 5:02:23.  After they celebrated a bit with their wives we headed into the Beaver Creek Chophouse and had a celebratory beer.  Thor wanted a photo of this and as he whipped out his camera someone was walking by, so he asked her to take a photo, however it wasn't just somebody it was Tracy Garneau!  She was happy to help and we got a great photo of us enjoying a local Colorado brew.

After trading stories everyone went their separate ways to check in to our hotels and get ready for the after parties...that story in the next post!

Final Results!

Start of Stage 6

Running through Vail

Across the highway

Running through the trees

They don't mess around with trail marking here...that marker is 5 ft long!

Heading up the last climb

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stage 5 Red Cliff to Vail

Stage 5!  Stage 5 for me was like running the next to last interval of a workout, you say to yourself this is the last hard one, because you can always get through the last one.  In this case however the last two intervals were 23+ miles each!  So as close as were to the end we had two long days ahead of us, a lot could go wrong!

Today's stage started where we finished on day 4.  We were in Mango's to stay warm, as the morning temps were in the 40's.  We started on the same gradual downhill road that we finished on the day before, but in the opposite direction which meant it was now a gradual uphill.

After what we felt was a strong showing in Stage 4, we had some confidence starting this stage.  We moved further up in the starting chute, and since we were on a wide dirt road, and we are mostly road runners, this start suited us well even if it was uphill!  This gradual uphill was about 9 miles long.  After that we jumped onto some single track for a little more climbing but by 10 or so we reached the max elevation which was over 11,000 ft.  We stayed up there winding through the trails on the top of Vail Ski Mountain until about 15 miles where we started the long descent to the finish.  These were mostly mountian bike trails that were twisting and turning with some steep slightly rocky downhills, not east coast rocky though!.

I would say the last 8 miles you could see where the finish was below but you kept winding back and forth down the mountain, in and out of tree covered areas, which made it feel like you would never reach the bottom.  With about a mile to go, you ran into a much more wooded area than we had been running in, and it was rocky and rooty until you came out of this random spot onto an access road where you could open it up down to the finish.  We continued with our late race push and finished stronger in the Mixed Open Division with a 9th place in 4:20:41, over an hour behind Rickey Gates and Anna Frost!

Tonight we would stay in Vail and it just so happened that the US Pro Cycling Challenge was starting their 3rd stage about a half mile from where we had finished.  We headed over there to see some of the riders pass by, and since this was their time trial we were able to see some of the fastest riders start their 10 mile "sprint".

Since this was our last night in camp, the dinner was a little more over the top.  They had steak, chicken, salads, corn on the cob, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and a whole bunch of other items I can't remember!  It made for easy fueling for the next day.  After dinner, it was same ol' same ol'; awards, photos, video, and off to bed we went, to rest up for stage 6!

Good morning sun...almost.

Welcome to Vail

Vail is down there somewhere

Creek of the day

Cadel Evans

Gourmet Cowboy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stage 4 - Nova Guides-Red Cliff

Stage 4, I returned from the dead.  After running really conservative on stages 2 and 3 I felt good enough before stage 4 that I thought we could run more like ourselves.  As good as I felt, we were both starting to get pretty sore from the first three days of running.  We still started out on the slow side but right from the start we saw that we were closer to some of the teams that we hadn't been around since stage 1.  Stage 4 was only 14.2 miles but you start out climbing for the first 5 miles.  After all that climbing you pop out on the top of the mountain, at least what you think is the top, there was still one more climb from about 7 to 7.5 miles that we needed to get up before descending for the remainder of the run.  Most of this course seemed to be dirt roads that were wide, but when we started to come off the mountain there was a good amount of loose rock, which we navigated well enough, but technical down hill running was not our strength at TRANSROCKIES!

One of the cool things about this stage was with about 3 miles to go you began a 1 mile trek through a riverbed.  There were times that the water was just a few inches deep, but other times it was calf deep or more.  Once through that mess you popped out onto a dirt road that was a gradual 2 miles all the way to the finish.  On this road we were really able to open it up and passed multiple teams.  This was by far the strongest we had finished for the week, and it was a good day to feel good at the end because Mango's Mountain Grill and taco's were waiting for us when we were done!

Today's creek to bath in was by far the coldest!  We were lucky to get in and out of there before the temperatures dropped a little bit and some rain rolled in.  Finally we used the mandatory gear, but it wasn't for the race, it was for sitting on the balcony at Mango's sipping on a Guinness and eating some tacos.  

Once back at camp we had a lot of time to waste, we listened to a talk from the founder of Salt Stick and had a drink courtesy of the roaming Margarita bar.   And to sound like a broken record, dinner was wonderful again, with the photos, videos, etc. etc.  

4 days down two to go!

Up we go.

Running in the river.

Have I told you about Red Cliff?


Our group hanging out on the balcony.

Roaming Margarita Bar

Some of the ladies were lonely, so they found a friend.