Here is a description of the race I choose to do from the website:
We invite you to come and stretch your legs in the mountain air above Estes Park. The race takes place on a trail course on Pole Hill, Estes Park, and covers 5.9 miles with nearly 1900 feet of elevation gain. Starts at 8,500 feet, and rises to over 9,000 feet with inspiring scenic mountain views. The race is organized and presented by the same team that host the Estes Park Marathon, Colorado's most scenic and inspiring paved marathon! The course will kick your ass … it combines a hefty wedge of climbing with rolling descents and a final blast down a dirt road that will have your feet rolling faster than they ever have before!
Sounds great to me!
Getting there early for an easy 2 mile warmup I ran into Alan Smith one of the founders of the best gel on the market VFuel. So after downing my free sample from Alan went for a 500ft/ 2 mile warmup, yes it is hilly here in Estes Park.
The start is a flat for about 200 yards before climbing up some powerlines. I took out from the front with 2 young kids (red and white shirts in the front of the photo above) and another guy about my age. About 100 yards from the start the other guy my age caught is toe and went head over heels tumbling down the trail. I stopped real quick to make sure he was ok, with that the 2 young kids were gone and a couple of other people passed me. Time to get to work. The first 3 miles are basically all uphill then you fly down to the finish with one small hill at mile 5 that hurt like a bitch. The blue line below is my pace, you can see where it jumps up on the big hills.
I never was able to close in on the 2 kids. They got me by about min and half. After talking to them after the race they are both varsity cross country runners at Princeton, figures... Guess I have to be happy with that.
This is one of those small races that is just a gem. I will be back to do this one again.