Wednesday, September 3, 2014

TransRockies Run6 - Stage 2

Vicksburg, CO to Twin Lakes (up and over Hope Pass). 
Distance: 13.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,672ft

"If you're willing to throw caution into the wind and take a chance, the view from the other side is spectacular!" -TRR partner, Theresa wrote it on my "Day 2" card. Pretty fitting for a day like this. 

It's no surprise that I LOVE to sleep in as much as possible, and with that in mind I set my alarm as late as possible to give me enough time to pack my camp, get dressed, have breakfast and catch the shuttle. The first shuttle would be at 6:45am, therefore I set my alarm for 6:00am. Packing my duffel bag went fairly fast since everything was in zip-lock bags and getting ready took a couple minutes. I was all packed and ready for breakfast at 6:25am. The catering company was back for breakfast and there were plenty of options. I had eggs and toast with a side of cranberry juice. Jumped in the shuttle at 6:50am. 

The drive to Vicksburg was roughly 20-30 minutes... Our driver, Crash, said it'd be a bumpy drive. It was, but we still arrived to the start line safely with plenty of time to kill.  The race started at 8:30am sharp...

Start line at Vicksburg
The course started with a gentle climb on a gravel road for 1.7 miles where we got to the first aid station, trailhead and turn around point for the Leadville 100 race. It was exciting that I would be running on one of the most popular sections of one of the most popular 100-mile races: up Hope Pass. The trail narrowed quickly and before mile 2 we were already in a tight single track climbing towards the top of the pass. I tried to go "slow and steady", which meant a steady hike, but I ended up taking a couple breaks. This trail seemed way too steep. 

Still going up! Gorgeous views!
Once at treeline, it seemed like the trail was no longer that steep, and while still going up, it was an easier walk although the breathing was harder. I looked back and Marna was right behind me so when I summitted I waited for her to take a couple pictures. We left fairly fast and I KNEW this was my time to shine. I bolted down the hill. It was roughly 5 miles downhill before getting to Twin Lakes area where I was able to catch up to a whole bunch of people. The last 3 or 4 miles were rolling, but the rollers were bigger than expected. I had hoped my strategy of slow and steady from the day before would work this day too, but some of the uphills were too steep. I walked a few early on, but later decided to slow down and tackle the ups and downs at the same speed, which in the end paid off and was able to run the last 2.5 miles without stopping/walking. 

Marna and I at the top of Hope Pass
I finished in 3 hours 42 minutes and 29 seconds for 16th place and learned the valuable lesson that a shorter day in the TransRockies world means a harder run. I didn't stick around at the finish and instead took the shuttle to Leadville to set up camp and shower. Shortly after my shower I headed to the Leadville Race Series headquarters to get a hug from my good friend Abby (Athlete Services Manager for LRS) and let race director Josh know that Hope Pass is darn tough! 

Done for the day! 
I later met up with Marna and Mark in town and we walked together to the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum for dinner. It was Italian night and I believe, this was the most delicious meal of them all! After awards, course and medical briefings, pictures of the day and video, we walked back to camp. I took some time to charge my phone and garmin and went to bed fairly early. It was a chilly night at 10,200ft. 

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