Saturday, August 29, 2009

Transrockies part 2

We had an enjoyable week watching and helping at the Transrockies race. I was impressed with the organization and the staff, and their ability to take care of about 150 2-person teams for six days. We would volunteer there again.

Congratulations to all finishing teams!

I was glad we weren't on "bag duty" - those things weighed a ton:

The Vail camp location in Ford Park:

The tents were pretty easy to set up and take down - there were just so many of them:

Someone decided to get cute with the tent configuration:

Let sleeping bears lie...

Nancy and Valerie finishing day 5:


The start of day 6 in Vail:

Messing with Einstein:

A fox hanging around Beaver Creek (there were also several bears not far from the finish line!):

Valerie and Nancy finished - awesome!

This weekend we're cleaning up, doing laundry, all those "normal" chores that have to be done in between the fun stuff. On Monday we're taking Howie south for a quick visit to Great Sand Dunes NP. Then it's on to New Mexico with a brief detour to Las Vegas... It's really time for some heat acclimation!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Transrockies volunteering

Since Monday afternoon (after our big sleep(s)) we have been spending our mornings volunteering at the Transrockies stage race. It runs from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek over 6 days. Runners compete in teams of 2, staying together for 2 to 6 hours to complete each stage. We're on "tent duty", helping to take down and put up about 170 tents for the runners to sleep in. One more big move tomorrow to Vail!

So far it looks like the organization is taking care of the runners (good course marking, good food, hot showers, a course with pretty scenery) and there are plenty of staff folks making sure things go well. John and I will probably never run the race ourselves for a couple reasons, mainly the high cost and the short/fast stages.

The more I see, the more impressed I am with the Grande Traversee des Alpes. Of course, that's just a different style of race - a small group of runners vs. a big production.

Some photos from our first several days...

Team "Old Goats":

Another dinner in the Leadville gymnasium:

Yesterday's finish at Camp Hale:

Our friend Nancy (from Hardrock trail marking) and her teammate Valerie:

The start this morning:

Go Nancy!

Helping put up the finish line at Red Cliff:

One of the 3 fastest lead male teams:

Some speedy lady runners:

More later!

LT100 results

Results for the Leadville 100 running race are now posted:

Somehow, even with my lack of climbing legs, I managed to break into the top 10 women overall (just barely) - cool!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Leadville Trail 100

We've slept a whole bunch and we're finally back to the land of the living...

But I only have time for a quick post because we're going to start our volunteer week for the TransRockies stage race this afternoon. Luckily those racers are coming to Leadville today, so we don't have to travel until tomorrow morning. More on that later.

For now - we finished! I'm a bit sore and mostly relieved. I was well ahead of the cutoff times throughout the race, which gave me some space in case I ran into major problems. And while I didn't hit any major walls, I did lose every bit of climbing legs that I thought I had. This happened going up Hope Pass the first time, and a bunch of people passed me while I struggled to maintain some semblance of reasonable pace. The downhills went GREAT and I passed a bunch of people every time (many of them the same people who walked by me on the way up). I got to know one group of guys really well because we passed each other time and time again. So my overall speed was fine, but I didn't look forward to the hills.

It's hard to say what happened there - it was pretty hot for this area (in the 80's) and I was somewhat dehydrated, but I think I had enough calories and electrolytes from the SPIZ and Ensure. Certainly we are not heat-acclimated, so that may have contributed. Maybe I started too fast. Maybe I need more hill training. Maybe the altitude affected me. Whatever the case, whenever I tried to walk uphill, my breathing increased beyond normal and then I got nauseous. John reported having similar problems.

My main motivation turned into "finish before it gets hot out again", and it was plenty dark and cool for the last several sections of the race. I really enjoyed running in the darkness, listening to music on my iPod, knowing I *should* be able to finish this thing. I speed-walked the last several miles up the Boulevard and into town as the sky turned from black to gray, finally crossing the line after 26 hours, 38 minutes, 56 seconds. Yay!

John started out super-fast but also lost his climbing legs and eventually had to walk most of the last 2 sections. He finished in 24:45 (and no, neither of us came anywhere close to finishing before Team Vignette won at No Sweat!!). Well done, John - and Team V!

I'm looking forward to sending in my Hardrock 100 application next year, and John is swearing off 100-milers for good (again)...

Some photos courtesy of Ryan and Kelly - thank you!

I was happy to make it back to Twin Lakes after surviving two crossings of Hope Pass:

Ryan at the finish line - congratulations, Ryan!

Somehow I managed 3rd place in my age group (40-49) - that was a surprise!

Special thanks to Brandi for stepping in as impromptu crew lady for me at Twin Lakes and May Queen - that was a huge help in getting me through the aid stations quickly, plus it was great to see someone I knew who was rooting me on. She even took care of my wet shoes and socks without flinching - now that's an adventure racer.

Big "well done!" to Markus, who ran by me at incredible speed going UPHILL on the Boulevard to the finish - wow!

It was quite an adventure, and I plan to write a real race report eventually. For now, it's time to be play volunteer again while we recover and figure out how to get heat acclimated for Texpedition...

Friday, August 21, 2009

LT100 race prep

Medical check and weigh-in:

We're officially in!

Drop bag drop-off:

Game faces:

Leftovers from dinner (aka post-race pizza) - yay!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Leadville race news

First a sad note... a helicopter crashed on Mount Massive yesterday and four soldiers were killed. There is an ongoing investigation in the area that includes a portion of the race course (Halfmoon Road), so apparently a portion of the race is going to be rerouted - perhaps on a route similar to the Leadville 100 bike race last weekend in the area north of Twin Lakes.

A short news story:

We'll find out more tomorrow at the pre-race briefing.

We went to the pre-race dinner tonight and ran into several people we had met at Hardrock (Jim, Sue, Liz, Beth and Larry, Allan, Jean-Jacques, John) plus Hans and Susie from Germany - it was great to see everyone again. We didn't know anyone at the bike race dinner last week, so this was a lot more fun. John also remarked on the difference in general attire - more "T-shirt" and less "bike jersey."

Our team has posed an interesting challenge to us - who will get to the finish line first this weekend, Team Vignette at No Sweat, or us at the Leadville 100?? We get a 4-hour head start but our official finish time cutoff is 2 hours later (30 hour cutoff vs. 24-hour adventure race). Make a guess, post a comment! Your options:

1) Team Vignette will finish before Marcy AND John
2) Team Vignette will finish before Marcy but after John
3) Both Marcy and John will finish before Team Vignette

There are other possibilities, but we're not going to think about those :)

Race watching

Team Vignette is racing Too Cool's No Sweat adventure race this week - good luck Team V! You may be able to follow them on the Checkpoint Tracker site:

I wish we could monitor their progress real-time, but John and I will be busy at the Leadville 100 race starting 4 a.m. on Saturday. It's *possible* (not certain) that they will keep up with our splits online:

We're also watching Team iMOAT at Primal Quest - currently in 5th or 6th place and in the middle of a LONG trek through the South Dakota Badlands before a long bike ride to the finish:

Good luck to everyone racing right now and this weekend!

On - not in - a Quandary

Danny came to visit us in Leadville for a couple days - yay!

We went rafting on the Arkansas River on Tuesday, choosing an intermediate trip down Brown's Canyon. The water is quite low right now, but the canyon rapids were still a lot of fun. Our guide would try different lines and find interesting ways around the rocks, so we were entertained and got splashed a couple times. Maybe next summer we'll come back for higher water - I'm getting braver with the rafting thing. It's just nice having someone else steering and making decisions, and those rafts can go over things you'd never consider taking a canoe through.

Yesterday we hiked up Quandary Peak for our 8th Colorado 14er. It was a very nice pre-race walk up a mountain on a beautiful day.

The start of the trail:

John showing us the type of step he helped build at Rocky Mountain NP during trail work week:

Blue Lakes in the background:

The top of the mountain in the distance:

We were joined by three mountain goats - how awesome to see them up close!

One even followed us a ways up the trail (looking for handouts? what would one feed a mountain goat, if one were so inclined, not that we were):

It was also our best day so far for pika (mountain mice) viewing - they were everywhere and much less shy than normal. Squeak, squeak! Some day I'll get a higher quality camera with a zoom lens, but for now:

More mountain goats:

This one was a poser:

Back to the business of getting to the top - almost there!

John immediately found a nice place for a nap:

We made it!

It was WAY windy at the top, so the "mountain man" pose had to wait until the way down:

Well done, Danny! Congratulations on reaching the top of another mountain - and getting back down again :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Leadville 100 mountain bike race

Yesterday John and I volunteered for "Traffic Control" at the Leadville 100-mile mountain bike race. This is our first experience with this race and this type of assignment. No one ran over a cyclist at our intersection, so I guess we did OK.

The start/finish line on 6th Street in Leadville:

The day started out rather miserable - cloudy and then rainy for a couple hours. We had enough clothes on, but we were sure glad we weren't on bikes:

The rain cleared briefly and we even saw some sun when the first sets of riders came through. Lance Armstrong and Dave Wiens (winner of the past 6 races) are in this pack somewhere:

Another of the early packs:

Then it started raining for real, and many cyclists looked pretty miserable at the bottom of our hill next to May Queen campground. At least they were about to start climbing again, hopefully that warmed them up a bit. Some of the riders were actually smiling, which was a surprise. My favorite was the little bike bell "ding ding" greeting that we received from a couple racers. Very cool.

We heard reports of a rider going off the road above us. We didn't have cell service, so John tried to find the sheriff (but he had departed from the intersection at Hagerman Road) and finally when the largest packs of cyclists had gone through he drove up the road and found a guy named Elden looking pretty beat up. Elden had lost focus and ridden off the side of the road, bounced over some rocks, and cracked his helmet. Luckily he didn't hurt himself too seriously. John drove him back to town to the med tent, and that was our excitement for the morning.

After lunch in town we scurried back to our post just in time to see Lance ride back through - go Lance! He set the course record, and I heard he finished with a tire going flat. When he came past us with about 15 miles to go, he looked like he was just out for a weekend ride:

Dave pedaled by about 23 minutes later. Nice job, Dave!

John barely caught a glimpse of Kathy Hudson as she pedaled by, so he managed to yell out her name - awesome finish, Kathy!

Cheering on the racers:

Some spectators put on a hula show for a while - don't worry, be happy!

A crew lady showed up and assisted a couple riders - I'm not clear on whether this is legal or not (it's not for the 100-mile run next weekend) since I didn't study the rules for this race. But she was really nice, and helped a couple people she didn't know as well.

Our biggest problem was that we were unaware of an aid station that apparently existed at the top of the next climb. People started asking us about it and we couldn't give them a good answer. We finally got confirmation from someone's family who had just come down from there. Odd location for an aid station - at the top of the last big climb instead of at the bottom just before it.

More folks riding through - go, go, go!

Our excitement for the afternoon was watching several guys try to start the next climb to find they were out of energy. Two men stopped at the pull-over above us and decided to take a nap (the first one lying on the ground may have influenced the second one a bit later). John brought jackets up to keep them warm. At one point there was about 5 riders hanging out up there, but one by one they got up and slowly left, including the two sleepers. We heard they finished within the 12-hour cut-off. Congratulations!

After it was clear that the last few riders were not going to make it in 12 hours, many riders kept going anyway, but some had had enough. One group reported a guy having trouble over on Sugarloaf, so we got to converse with Search and Rescue and a sheriff while the guy finally rode up and announced he was feeling a bit strange. His wife picked him up, and hopefully he turned out OK.

More riders pulled over to stop. We gathered a crowd of bikes and guys, and luckily 2 had phones that worked (thank you, AT&T). A couple pick-ups later and we were left with 2 bikes and 2 guys, which we could fit into the truck for transport back to town. I'm impressed with everyone who started, rode as far as they could (especially in the nasty weather), and showed courage in the struggle.

We saw the awards ceremony this morning and got to cheer and clap for the winners, Rebecca Rusch and Lance Armstrong. Dave Wiens got a huge ovation for his second place effort. Lance gave a nice speech about having come in second last year at this race, and learning that it was OK that he didn't win. He related it to the Tour de France this year, having tried hard but coming away with third place. He seemed pretty stoked to win Leadville this time. He said he would be back next year and then said something about doing the 100-mile run too... and immediately added something about just kidding (but wouldn't that be neat?).

Congratulations y'all!