Distance: 20.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,672ft
When my alarm went off at 6am, I was focused and ready to go. I showered, got the baggie labeled "day 1", put on the running outfit that was in it and packed my hydration vest with the nutrition I had previously prepared. The hotel in Salida had breakfast available at 6:30, but luckily they were all set up by 6:20. We hit the road and arrived in Buena Vista at 7:05am.
While the TransRockies crew arranged for trucks to drive around town and pick up duffel bags from the hotels, I had to personally drop mine off since I had stayed in Salida the night before. It was fast and easy. I walked from the Heritage Museum over to the start line (roughly a half a mile away). People were slowly showing up and you could just feel everyone's excitement. I found a good place to sit and relax... even stretch a little bit and pulled out the elevation profile for the day to figure out a run strategy.
|T-minus 41 minutes until start time!|
After 2 miles we hit a wider road where we were able to enjoy some better views (well-earned views!) The uphill continued but it was a milder slope and a slow, easy jog made the trick for me. It got slightly steeper close to mile 6 where I was forced to power-hike for a mile before we hit the first aid station at mile 7 after 1500ft of gain. Grabbed a couple potato chips and continued on. All downhill from here!! For a while at least.
|One of the last climbs before hitting the aid (behind those big rocky things in the middle)... you can even see some runners if you squint! :)|
The weather had been nice this day so far... it was mid to upper 40's at the start with not a cloud in sight. The day slowly warmed and by noon it was already in the mid-80's. While the heat didn't feel so bad up until mile 17, I was about to run the last 4 miles of the course on an exposed dirt road with a slight incline. The second I jumped on this road, I felt it; it was extremely hot and extremely dry. Thankfully there were some tunnels...
|Only two of these though... :(|
I finished Stage One in 4 hours 11 minutes 19 seconds for 13th place. I was stoked since I was aiming for mid-pack (my usual) and shortly after I finished, I realized there were 59 ladies in my category. This was WAY better than mid-pack.
The day didn't end there... I jumped in a shuttle and was taken to our campsite. These people KNOW what they're doing. By the time we got there, they have all the duffel bags lined up in numerical order and 400 tents set up. You just grab your bag and pick a tent. I set up all my camp stuff (air mattress, sleeping bag, etc), grabbed my little "drop-bag" and went over to take a shower. I hung out at the relaxation tent with a beer, met some people and charged my phone and ipod.