Getting back in the game. So much fun shredding laps at Snowmass with Juniper, Axel and Ian.
While the kids are visiting both sets of grandparents on the East Coast, Ian and I are enjoying a mini biking vacation in Sun Valley.
Great video recap of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the Teva Mountain Games.
I took a little break from skimo racing this weekend and ventured to Fruita/Loma for the Desert Rats 25 mile trail running race. Taking advantage of the great technical singletrack of the Kokopelli Trail, racers can choose from a 25 or 50 mile race. Two years ago I decided the night before to race the 25 miler and suffered through much of the race. This year I have had a much more consistent winter of racing and training and actually signed up for the race a few weeks in advance.
As Elinor Fish and I made the drive very early this morning, we discussed how we would like to break the 4 hour mark. Elinor raced last year and finished in 4hr 17min while I had finished in 4hr 13min two years ago. Telling myself I was not going to start too fast and blow-up like I did last time was easier said than done. Elinor and I stayed with each other chatting over the first few miles in order to keep a brisk but comfortable pace. Helen Cospolich (racing the 50 miler) and Anita Ortiz (also racing 50) were just ahead of us with fellow Carbondale runner Ashley Arnold out in front.
Throughout the next 15 or so miles, I kept a consistent pace and ran many miles with Anita. Anita is coming off an injury with this just her second race back. Any other day, there’s no way I would be running with her even when I’m running half as many miles. I was very relieved that I was feeling tens times stronger at this point than I had last time and was ahead of my previous pace. I passed the 18 mile mark where I fell apart two years ago and felt myself getting stronger.
Once off the Troy Built Trail, the largest climb looms ahead up to Mack Ridge and the final miles. Last time I think I ran 20 steps of the climb. This time I ran it all. Managing to keep the same average pace I had all race, I finished very strong along Mack Ridge and back along the road. Not only did I break the 4 hour mark, I finished in 2nd place behind Ashley and managed to beat all the 5o mile women to their turnaround point (something I did not do last time). My time was 3hr 42min 33sec over the 25.92 miles. Elinor finished in 3hr 56min. The top 3 women were all from Carbondale!
Anita Ortiz went on to win the 50 miler in 8hr 16min while Duncan Callahan won for the men in 7hr 38min.
I was really looking forward to the International Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Claut, Italy next month but unfortunately it is not going to happen for me. Decisions have to be made with my entire family in mind which is why I’ll be staying in Colorado. I am extremely bummed to not represent the United States this year but deep down I know it was the decision that needed to be made.
Instead, I am going to ski with my brother and his family during their visit from the east coast as well as get some training in for the upcoming rando races like The Aspen Power of Four and The Breckenridge Five Peaks. Both of these are in team format that are required to be raced in teams of two. Jason McGowin and myself are planning on putting together a La Sportiva team for the Aspen Power of Four race.
Speaking of La Sportiva, with no races last weekend, Brian and I decided to get in some descending training. After a skin up Highlands, we had hoped to hike up the Bowl but the winds were howling and we both were too cold to brave the elements. Instead, we practiced on the rest of the mountain by skiing in our race gear until our legs and feet hurt.
I really have not alpine skied in fourteen years except while training and racing so it was great practice to get out on my gear. I could not believe the performance of both the La Sportiva Stratos boots and the Merelli Raid skis. Despite the Stratos boots weighing less than most trail running shoes and only having two buckles, they ski as if they are a tall four buckle alpine boot. My descending has improved significantly this year and the only thing I can attribute that to is my new boots and skis.
Targhee photos from Crested Butte Photography.
Sunlight video from Daniel Dunn / Summit Action Sports.