Skaggs and I enjoying a post race rinse
Telluride is one of the most beautiful places in North America. A fairly quick drive from Durango and the fact that so many firends would be there racing or spectating motivated a last minute entry int the Telluride Mountain Run. Three weeks after the Eiger Ultra Trail 100k (12 hour race) is not my preferred recovery duration and acclimation to the altitude was limited, but the body felt good enough to go out and have a fun time.
Home for 6 days in Durango, then Tuesday-Friday at Outdoor Retailer (OR) in SLC, 6.5hrs later in Telluride, yee-haw!
At the gun things went as expected, Skaggs (Erik) took the lead and was out of sight in a mile or so. Not quite having “race legs” and just how I prefer to, race put me a ways back where I ran with Peter Howe, a 19 year old guy from NH spending the summer in Estes Park. At the top of the 1st climb Skaggs was nowhere in sight and Peter was probably 3 or 4 minutes behind me.
My downhill legs were not feeling fast, as I made a point in the last 10 days to do a lot of hard downhill running after discovering at the Eiger race that I wasn’t as strong going down as up. Halfway down to the Bridal Veil aid station Peter passed me. After a combination of “waking up” a bit and the grade easing up, I sped up and ran just behind Peter to the aid.
Fellow Durang-a-Tang racers Brazz and Shaun
“2nd Place Momentum”
At the Bridal Veil Aid station I learned Skaggs was about 9-10 minutes up, things were good. I took off just before Peter and turned on my race pace. After a 5 minute margin to victory at the Eiger Ultra Trail race, I was motivated to put on my race “face” in the second half, unlike last time. Peter followed closely and impressively just a few minutes behind on the 1st half of what is certainly the burliest climb of the race. Reaching the mine, the climb goes off trail and climbs steeply to the ridge. I was in my groove and feeling good, not outside my limits, but working. I was catching up to Skaggs.
On the other side of the ridge the legs were awakenow and I ran well down to the next aid station at 24 miles. Here I learned Skaggs was close, someone said 5 minutes, but I learned later Skaggs heard me come in, so our margin might have been just a few minutes. After a short easier climb, the trail rolled through the aspens where Skaggs and I cruised at a good clip.
Dakota, Reese and I
Then came 3 trail intersections that had been unmarked with the last turn being unmarked then remarked incorrectly. I can not believe someone was rotten enough to do such a thing, but it indeed happened. At each unmarked turn I referenced my course description Reese provided, but I choose to follow the markings on the last turn. I ran at least 2 extra miles before the trail I was on luckily put me back just above the mile 30 aid station.
Feeling strong and closing so close on Skaggs, I was quite upset about the course of events. I vented a bit to my friends at the aid station, but luckily thanked them for their support as they were obviously not responsible. I was able to collect myself and realize that
A)I was having a great day on an amazing course
B)I was still able to finish the race and was still in 2nd
C)This race was more about having fun, friends, location and preparing for Run Rabbit Run
I put my big boy pants on and continued on for the last climb and descent over 8 miles. I put in a good effort, ran hard and finished with a smile.
So happy to be healthy, run well, have no issues with stomach or my body, be with friends and enjoy a great day in one of the best places on earth.
Thank you Dakota and Reese for putting on such a genuinely great, down to earth mountain ultra.
Thank you, as always, sponsors for enabling me to live a dream!
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