Elinor & I at the finish this morning
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.
My Garmin info can be found here. And full results here.
Juniper & I finishing up a snowy Chariot run.
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.
The next race in the COSMIC series is this Saturday in Crested Butte. Hopefully I can improve on my race tactics this weekend and have a smooth and clean one.
Finally, here are a bunch of links for pictures and videos from the US Nationals in Jackson, the Targhee Skimo Classic and the COSMIC Heathen Challenge.
Jackson videos from JH Mountain Resort and OuterLocal.com.
Jackson photos from Mark Gocke, David Bowers and Crested Butte Photography.
Targhee photos from Crested Butte Photography.
Sunlight video from Daniel Dunn / Summit Action Sports.
Sunlight photos from Crested Butte Photography, Todd Patrick and Daniel Dunn.
I had a blast racing today at the COSMIC Irwin race. Having missed all of last year’s race season while I was pregnant,I had forgotten how fun rando racing is.
Max Taam, Pete Gaston and I left the Roaring Fork Valley this morning, drove to the base of Kebler Pass and then snowmobiled into Irwin Lodge. The course was perfect with the 10 inches of fresh snow that fell last night.
I would like to thank Bryan Wickenhauser, Jake Jones, Pete Swenson, and CS Irwin for putting on an amazing race. What a great way to start the season!
Preliminary Results: (From memory so who knows how accurate they are.)
Brian Smith – Gunnison, CO 2hr13min
Jon – Winter Park, CO
Pete Swenson – Breckenridge, CO
Travis Scheefer – Crested Butte, CO
Max Taam – Snowmass, CO
Pete Gaston – Aspen, CO
Sari Anderson – Carbondale, CO 2hr22min
Monique Merrill – Breckenridge, CO
Janelle Smiley – Crested Butte, CO
Lyndsay Meyer – Chamonix
Molly – Reno, NV
Pete's sled loaded ready to head to the race.
The light was awesome on our way back over the pass.
I seem to be perpetually slacking on keeping this site up to date but that usually means that fun is being had. And this has not been an exception.
A few weekends ago we packed the family up for some camping, riding and playing in Crested Butte. Despite getting kind of a late start, both Ian and I were able to get in rides on Saturday afternoon and the kids had a lot fun playing in the dirt at the campsite. Unfortunately Juniper spent about four hours of the night coughing in the tent so we decided to cut the trip short and head home a day early. But of course Ian and I both squeezed in great rides before taking off.
Sometimes things work out for the best as we convinced our friend Mike to watch both kids on Labor Day so we could get out for a ride together. After listening to Ian talk about a newer trail at Prince Creek he finally had a chance to drag me around on it. Doing my best to keep Ian in sight, failing most of the climb, I thoroughly enjoyed the descent despite clipping my handlebars on trees numerous times.
Axel taking advantage of some Mom time between laps.
I have no recollection of training the following week (or was it two weeks) but eventually we raced the 12 Hours of Snowmass as a team of three. The course was a few miles longer than two years ago when I first raced in the inaugural event and the additional single track was a great addition. The Honey Stinger team cleaned up with wins in the Duo Men (Scott McCalmon & Nate Bird) and in Trio Coed (myself, Ian & Michael Hayes) and second place in Women’s Solo (Kris Cannon). Nate and I also managed to record the fastest laps for men and women helping make the weekend very successful and super fun.
Continuing on my record streak, Ian and I managed a few more mountain bike rides together during the week since my mother-in-law was visiting. I think we have ridden together more this past week than we have in the last three years!
Finally, friend and Honey Stinger teammate Todd Kennedy and I managed a great ride up high yesterday afternoon. Probably the longest climb of my season (2-1/2+ hours) up to the top of Red Table Mountain from Cottonwood Pass with some of the best views I have ever witnessed. Despite some cyclocross riding on the descent due to downed trees we discovered some fun single track and rode into Gypsum finishing up a fun adventure. I always forget how much I enjoy the long adventurous rides until I get out one every few months.
My legs were a bit sluggish this morning on my run with the kids in the Chariot but I’m enjoying getting back into shape after baby number two. Lindsay at Carmichael continues to get me out doing intervals and getting me racing again. I may just be ready to really race 24 Hours of Moab this October!
Mt. Sopris from Prince Creek
Thanks to Ian I’ve been able to get out for some great rides lately. I’m not sure what I would look at while training to inspire me without Mt. Sopris in the area.