The Gunnison Growler has been on my list for a while. I love the riding out at Hartman Rocks and Dave Wiens, the race director, is an old friend who I adventure raced with a few times back in the day. Last year I ran the course for the Sageburner 50K and Ian did the full Growler the following day. This year, with the 32-mile half Growler on Saturday and the full 64-mile Growler on Sunday, Ian and I both had a chance to race. Up until a couple weeks ago, the plan was for me to do the full and Ian to do the half. Yet, when we looked at the calendar a little more closely and realized the Teva Mountain Games is the weekend after the Growler, it made more sense for me to race the half and save my legs for the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. Ian was not that psyched to switch to the long race, but Wiensy was happy to accommodate us.
It was pretty darn windy on Saturday, and the course was apparently a little more sandy than usual, but overall the day was great. I tried to pace myself for the first half of the race and then finish strong, per my coach Lindsay‘s orders. The course is pretty technical in places, but I rode cleanly and managed to keep it rubber side down. I maintained a steady diet of Honey Stinger chews throughout the race and I stayed hydrated nicely with Acli-mate. I had strong competition from Amy Beisel and my Honey Stinger teammate Jen Gersbach all day, but came away with the victory, finishing in a time of 3:11. Amy finished in second and Jen in third. Results from the half here and the full here.
Ian took on the full Growler on Sunday and had a good day, finishing in 6:27. Next year, he says he’s happy to let me do the full…
Thanks as always to my sponsors: Honey Stinger for great tasting energy food; Trek for my speedy and reliable Superfly; Stans No Tubes for my ZTR Gold wheels, Bontrager for my new, bright red carbon MTB shoes and nice, lightweight helmet; and Westone for my awesome earbuds (which I managed to send through the wash and they still work like new).
My super cool trophy by artist Cristin Zimmer and a celebratory beer (or three)