Damn, I waited to long to write this up. I threw all the photos in this post months ago but never got around to finishing it, oh well. Being that it happened 3 months ago things are starting to blur together and all the small details of the day are easily forgotten. Honestly that is ok, I have done enough of these races now that I don't need to log what I ate when so I can look back at it in the future to remind myself for the next race. So I am going to try and let the photos tell show how each section went, and I will just write a few things that stick out.
50 miles out and back in the midst of the Colorado Rockies. Lowest point is 9,200 ft. and the highest point is Hope Pass, 12,600 ft. Mixture of forest trails and mountain roads. Pacers allowed after the 50 mile point. 11 well-supplied aid stations with cut-offs.
Here is the race Profile. You can also find my Strava data by clicking here. Yes I did get the whole thing on my GPS watch with the help of an external battery source.
Weather: Near perfect weather all day and night. Even got a little rain coming down the Powerlines on the outbound which kept things cool. Could not have asked for a better weather day for me.
Some sections will be long and some parts will be short. It all comes down to if anything eventful happened in that section and to what I can really remember, 24 hours out on the trails and roads in the mountains kind of blend together in a lot of parts especially considering how long I put off typing this up.
The first time in the header is the split for that section of trail and the second time is the total running time from the start of the race.
Start to Mayqueen 2:06/2:06
As much as I hate the 4am start of this race the starting line sure can be an exciting place to be that early in the morning. Nervous energy everywhere. Chatted a bit with JP and Neal before the start to try and take the mind off of what was to come. The cruise around the lake to Mayqueen just an easy cruise. I did start about 5-6 rows from the front so that I did not get to far back in the pack going around the lake. I wanted to get to Mayqueen in about 2 hours and I think that went pretty much to plan. Everything felt pretty good and loose which was shocking to me. Crew meet me here which shocked me, I was not expecting to see them. Such a great crew. Was able to ditch the lights and grab the sunglasses.
Mayqueen to OB 2:00/4:06
Focus was just on taking an easy and cruising as much as possible. Legs felt pretty good going around the lake in the first section but with going up and over Sugarloaf Mountain on this section I really started to feel the deep soreness and tiredness from the 100 mountain bike that I did the week before. You can see in the photo below of me going down the Powerlines the effort in trying to baby my quads, they were shot at mile 15 and my only thought at the time was dreading how long of a day this is going to turn into if my legs felt this bad this early. One encouragement that sticks out was that every other Leadman that I talked too was feeling the exact same way. At least I was not the only one, knowing that helped the mental game for me.
OB to Pipeline 0:58/5:04
Brandon made his first appearance on this section to check on my progress as I was coming out of the field and hitting the road. Of course I started to bitch about how my legs were feeling and he just rolled his eyes at me. As I left Brandon and started jogging up the road to Treeline, Clyde passes me on the road in his truck and had the windows all written on (photo below). Made me start laughing and not take everything so serious. Right there and then it became fun again. Thanks guys!
Pipeline to Twin 1:42/6:47
Not much sticks out in this section. Lots of going back and forth between running and walking as I made my way over to Twin Lakes. Caught up to 3 other Leadman racers during this section and they were also complaining about energy levels and leg soreness. Just reinforced my resolve knowing that and always jogged past them until I was out sight before I would give into walking again. Yes I started racing a little and was not just thinking about surviving anymore.
Twin to Winfield 3:18/10:05
Rolled into Twin Lakes in a pretty good head space which is always promising with the Hope Pass double crossing looming in front of you. Went into the aid building to fill my bottles and grab food to eat while I walk out of town through the large crowds towards the pass looking for Clyde my crew. Could not find him and just before crossing the road I hear someone yelling my name and I look up to see Ashley walking towards me waving her arms, WTF!! She was supposed to be at work! Guess she took the shift off to come out and surprise me and man did she ever! Of course this got me all emotional, more than I would like to admit. Took a few extra minutes here to be with her a little and get some supplies out of the crew bag. I never did see Clyde here, he dropped off Ashley about 30 seconds before she found me and went to park the car. If they would have went to park the car and not drop off Ashley I would not have seen anyone from my team here. Funny how things work out.
Going up and over Hope Pass to the 50 mile turn around point I was lead the whole time by Ryan Krol and his girlfriend who's name I can not remember right now. Ryan was also doing Leadman and his girlfriend was running the 100, they were staying together for at least the first half. They set a great pace up and over, I would have been much slower without them so if you are reading this Ryan, thank you. Of course they dropped me on the downhill because my quads were shot and I could not run worth a shit downhill.
Winfield to Twin 4:31/14:36
Rolled into Winfield the 50 mile turn around at 10 hours and 5 minutes into the race. That would give me just under 15 hours to cover the 50 miles back to the finish line to get the big buckle and almost 20 hours to finish under the cutoffs. Things are starting to look promising. Sat down at Winfield for 5-10 minutes when I arrived to collect myself a little and eat. For some reason watermelon tasted fucking great and I could not stop eating it. Ended up eating somewhere around 6 big slices along with some other food. Picked up Rebecca and we started the adventure back towards the finish line. About halfway up the backside of Hope Pass I finally hit a wall energy wise and my stomach started cramping really bad. So bad in fact that I had to lay down and stretch my arms above my head, arch my lower back, and keep my legs straight to get my stomach to let go of the cramp. It was horrible. After about the second time of this happening the cramps hurt so bad and my stomach muscles were flexed so hard that it made me puke and up came all the watermelon. After each episode Rebecca would get me hiking again until we got up and over the top and down the 500 vertical feet to Hopeless Aid station. Here I made the decision to take 30 minutes to put things back together. One thing I have learned is the 30 minutes at an aid station to put things back together can save you hours out on the trail. I started chugging Coke and Ramon noodles. This combo always works, sugar and salt, and a lot of it. After seeing 2 runners get married at the the aid station in that 30 minutes we were there Rebecca and I took off and had a pretty good jog back down to Twin. Some of my favorite photos are from this section and are below.
Twin to Pipeline 2:12/16:48
Before I get into this section Brandon has a very good recap from pacing me from Twin to Mayqueen that you can read here. He does a much better job of recapping these sections than I ever will. So instead of typing all that out just go read Brandon's awesome report. He actually captured exactly was going on. It is ok I will wait.
Pipeline to OB 1:25/18:13
Ok this section is still covered in Brandon's report. Yes I did start feeling really good as we were running towards Outward Bound and just rolled with what my body would give me. Starting to roll!
I love how the crew decorated the car!
OB to Mayqueen 3:01/21:14
Powerlines!! For some reason I have always loved going up the Powerlines at mile 80 during Leadville and this time was no exception. This is where I passed Keith and made fun of him. Just kidding about the making fun of him part. Anyways this was also covered in Brandon's report and man I was feeling fucking great on the climb then we hit the downhill and my quads wanted nothing to do with that. Brandon was correct in his report that I was gambling a little bit pushing the uphills hard, knowing that I could not run the downhills hard if even at all. We did a lot of walking downhill, just sad.
Now that is some first class service!!! What a crew!!!
Mayqueen to Finish 2:45/24:00
Brandon and I rolled into Mayqueen feeling OK. I wanted to sit for 5 minutes because my quads were killing me from the downhill coming into Mayqueen but Ashley would not allow that, she kicked me out after Clyde gave me some Tylenol to help with the leg soreness I was having. The first few miles which is rolling trail were a mixture of walking and jogging as Donald and I started making our way the final 13 miles to the finish. The great thing was that I never got cold. I ran around the lake in just a long sleeve shirt which shocked me. I was running hot for sure, most people get cold going around the lake in the middle of the night. As the trail got flatter around the lake the more I ran and the faster I ran. We started rolling people up left and right. Felt good, I love passing people late into a race, especially in an ultra. This lasted until I hit the Boulevard which is the last 3 miles of the course. I started running out of energy and motivation. We started doing the run for a minute then walk for a minute, repeat. This is a great trick to keep moving forward but does eat into your overall pace. I knew I had sub 25 hours in the bag at this point and lost my motivation to push hard to the end until I hit the last hill looking down at the finish line by the high school and realized that I was close to breaking 24 hours. When I realized this I started running, hard. I passed 3 other runners, 2 of them Leadmen, in the last 1/2 mile to the finish but could not quite break 24 hours, ended up in 24:00:36, yep I missed it by 37 seconds. So close to that sub 24 but still did something that I honestly thought I would never do, get the big buckle and during Leadman. I was in such shock at how things played out I did not know what to say and just sat down in the first chair I saw to collect myself. "Did that really happen?" That is all I could think.
Final Thoughts: It was a hell of a fun summer! I would rate this as one of the best summers since I was a kid. I would like to thank Ashley who has been putting up with me and my training for the past 8 plus years we have been together.. And of course a huge shout out to Clyde for being the awesome crew chief that he is, anyone that can have this guy crew your 100 is blessed. Another big shout out to Rebecca who not only paced me over Hope Pass during the run but also played crew chief the previous weekend at the 100 mountain bike race, now that is a friend. And also of course Brandon and Donald who paced the last 40 miles between the two of them, thank you for making me want to push myself and helping me be successful. I could not have done it without all you guys, it means more to me than you will ever know to have this kind of support. Of course a special thank you to Bob who not only training with me through out the year but opened up his home in Leadville to me and gave me the resources I needed to have this awesome summer. Also a big thanks goes out to James Walsh, Lucho, and Andy Wooten who all gave me valuable advice through out the year to help get me ready for the Leadman races. They helped take what seemed over whelming amount of work and break it down for me, thank you. It was a very special experience I got to experience this summer and I am truly blessed to have the people in my life that I do. Leadman makes for an awesome summer of fun, go give it a shot and let me know if I can help you in anyway.
Think Bob has some mixed feelings about Leadville this year.