Short race report from last weekend... we drove to Steamboat Springs for a race up into the hills there. It was our first time in that area of Colorado and we enjoyed seeing different scenery. The race started by heading up toward the downhill ski area, but it stayed mostly on trails that crisscrossed the slopes. We climbed around 3000 feet right off the bat, more like one of our recent hikes than a trail race. At least we were ready for that!
After starting slowly to warm up my legs, I passed a few people on the climb and set a good pace up to the top. There were wildflowers in the high meadows, very pretty. Most of the rest of the race was above 9000 feet, so it stayed cool for quite a while and that was nice. After the top of the mountain (at around 9.5 miles into the race), the next 6 miles to the turn-around were on a nice trail that rolled through the woods without too much distinguishing about it. In fact, I had to work to find little landmarks that I could look for on the way back. The race was mostly an out-and-back with a slight deviation in one section.
My legs continued to respond well and I had a nice run to the turn-around aid station. Toward the end of that section I saw a couple hikers and they yelled "Which way to the lake?" I pointed them in what I hoped was the right direction, thinking that this might be the first time I had ever been asked directions by non-racers in the middle of a race. I didn't have a map on me, so why should they?
It started getting to be more work on the way back, but I didn't see any reason to stop pushing the pace. Occasional pretty views, more flowers, nice shade from all the trees. I was looking forward to the big downhill to the finish.
However, one of my knees had other designs on that, starting to ache partway down. I debated stopping and taking the gondola down, but it didn't seem to be getting worse and I could kind of adjust for it without changing my stride too much. By the last 2 miles I decided to just walk it in, no sense in hurting something worse at that point. Bummer, because I love running downhill...
John does too, and happily he was still running great at the end, so he had a fun finish. He claimed 3rd place in the masters category, well done John!
Overall, a beautiful fun course, good climbing results for both of us, and hopefully not too much of a knee issue from the last downhill.
Some pictures from the race photographer - at least as long as the links last:
http://skitownphoto.smugmug.com/Mount-Werner-Classic-July-27/i-VfSKKP7 (woohoo John!)
http://skitownphoto.smugmug.com/Mount-Werner-Classic-July-27/i-BKVCMDc (look Ma, I'm running uphill!)
http://skitownphoto.smugmug.com/Mount-Werner-Classic-July-27/i-Lq8LQtQ (and downhill!
http://skitownphoto.smugmug.com/Mount-Werner-Classic-July-27/i-JSDJ2Xh (just like in my dreams)