Its been a long week but the trails keep getting better. . . At every stage we continue to find different types of trails, views and challenges but the finish had some of my favorites all week. Sick single track through the aspen trees heading out of Vail Resort and over the mountains to Beaver Creek, the challenge of dragging a week load of miles and getting lost just enough to score an ultramarathon for the day and wrap up 20K of climbing for the week. Good times.
making the climb out of Vail
Chris had taken off ahead of me right out of town as my leg was still pretty swollen and I was not sure how I would be able to manage the day. I stopped to stretch and was actually just thankful to take in the mountain views, the stomping of feet around me and the smell of the morning. It’s things like that that stick with you years after the experience of “the race” have passed. I got to talk to Ryan as he was heading out for his ride and just decided to plug along until the next aid station.
Of course, once I got warmed up it was on and cracking. My leg felt fine and now my focus was trying to get around the mobs of people as we made our way up the single track on the first series of climbs. After a few aid stations we got onto a fire road and I put in a good solid effort (harder than I had gone all week!) to try and catch up to Chris and run with him. At about two hours in I got to one aid station at the top of a dusty climb and they told me Chris was just two minutes ahead of me. Stoked! I pushed on and could see his shoe prints in the trail ahead and as we climbed I started to see him ahead in the switchbacks. Unfortunately, I had pushed so hard to catch him I was in a bit of a blur once I finally got sight of him and just put my head down and tried to hammer on… Long story short I was so “focused” and fatigued that I ran right past the turn downhill and ran right into the next valley. Off course but not out of luck
Fortunately, I was not alone. A Charlie from the UK and her teammate were following me down the next valley over and we were on an exploration of our own. Great trails and we had them all to ourselves. Pretty cool until we realized we were off course and just about out of water, “when was the last time we saw a trial marker”, “why are there no other footprints here” how far back was that turn off” – all good questions when your deep into an ultra to cap off the week.
We managed to laugh our way back on course and take the day for an extended adventure. I felt pretty smoked but was surprised at just how much more you can push when you need to get back or make it to the next aid station. One thing at a time. I was almost thinking about pulling the plug starting the day when Chris left but here I was, knowing I would run over a marathon that day, just about out of water, way behind on calories and ready to run through the night. My leg was fine and all I wanted to do was just RUN. Simple.
I did put in a few more efforts to try and meet Chris until we got to the last climb of the day. Basically we climbed up the back of Beaver Creek on a trail that went on and on and on. A real kick in the balls after about five hours on your feet. Every climb has its top and you will get there if you just keep on keeping on.
Good times all around and if it was not for the cost of the TR I would be up for running this every year. I would love to go back with Monique and just enjoy the catered experience or go with a group of friends and make our own multi-day adventure running, riding or eating from town to town. I was stoked to get to know Chris and I have no doubt we will find more memories together in the future. That is what it is all about… As much as I love the trails, my bikes or a good meal it’s the making of memories with the ones I love that make these adventures so meaningful. As my good friend Gary Wang says “Its not what you do but who you do it with”. Hope to see you out there!