The run started out on a wide dirt road for about 1.7 miles to the first aid station which is also the start of the climb up to Hope Pass. In the next 2+ miles we would gain just over 3000 ft. The climb was steep and narrow in the woods for quite a while and then you pop out of the trees and the climb was steep but with more switch backs. Since we started out so easy we were stuck behind a long train of runners, and we hiked 95% of this climb, and it was not a fast hike.
Once up top I looked at my watch to see a running time of over 1 hour and 44 mins, and this was to travel less than 5 miles. After the long grind up the mountain, we took in all the views, took a photo for some lady, then snapped a few photos of my own. We then started the decent, we had under 9 miles to go with about 3 down and the rest "flat" better known as slightly rolling. There were only two aid stations on this loop because of the difficulty of brining supplies up the narrow steep trails, the last aid station was at about 6 miles and they were low on supplies because the llamas that brought the stuff up to this section were lazy and didn't want to carry much water! So we were limited to what we could take. The bright note was that it was not as warm as stage 1 and there was a lot of shade in the last part of this course.
As I had hoped I was feeling better on the descent, so Jackie and I were able to cruise pretty good, today we would be passing people in the final stages instead of being passed. We must have passed 10 teams in the last 5 miles. As uplifting as that was, this stage seemed to never end for me, I kept wondering when the hell we would see the finish line in the distance. Finally we came out of a wooded area on to a dirt road and we could start hearing the music in the distance. We picked up the pace a little bit and finished the stage strong in a SLOOOWWW time of 3:29:59. This was our worst stage as far as placing in our division, but taking this stage easy set us up for a better rest of the week.
After grabbing some food, we headed over to a small pond and soaked the legs for a bit, then jumped on a bus and took the 30 min ride to Leadville where we would be spending the night camped out on a baseball field at over 10,000 feet.
Hightlights of Leadville:
- Just seeing Main Street was cool because I have seen it in so many Leadville 100 photos.
-Going to the Silver Dollar Saloon with Jackie, Thor, and Jay for lunch. Don't ask "What's on tap" in this establishment becuase you will just get a weird look. It is a bottle or nothing here and that was fine with us...a Fat Tire please. They also had "Chicken Shit Bingo"
-At the nightly festivities we were given Inov-8 Wraps and a Windstopper Blanket
|The flat before the "hill"|
|A rocky trail|
|Almost at the top!|
|Hope Pass! Only 9 miles to go...|
|Back to the flat near the finish|
|Monday's in Leadville are cheap!|
|This is where they play chicken shit bingo.|
|Main Street Leadville|
By the way Chicken Shit Bingo is this...At the Silver Dollar Saloon there were photos of Chicken Shit Bingo. They make a bingo board on the floor and fence it in, they then put a chicken in there and wherever the chicken shits....is the letter/# called out. They do things differently at 10,000+ ft above sea level!