Yesterday I made the trek from the Denver plains up through Coal Creek to Nederland to run with some folks who are way out of my league. Scott had set me up with the group run and I was really excited for two things: running with company, and meeting some ultrarunning celebrities.
I got up to Geoff's house a bit early because I didn't know how long the drive was and chatted for a while with him and his GF until the rest of our group arrived in the form of Tony, Dakota, and Joe. Truth be told, I was sort of hoping that somebody a bit slower would show up just in case I couldn't hang but I had to settle for them running 20+ miles with 7K vert the day prior. My body was feeling under the weather so I was just hoping to hang on really.
The run started right out of Geoff's backyard and rolled a short while while we got acclimated and chatted before launching into a pretty stiff climb which had me reeling a bit, but by the time we all made the top there was a general consensus that nobody was feeling all that chipper and that we'd back off an take it easy. From then on we snaked our way through some trees up to about 10K' then bombed a rocky downhill to around 9K' and arrived at Eldora for the start of our climb to a Nordic ski hut at 11K'. The climb started out well and we were crunching through snow until the last mile or mile and a half which was a 30 minute trudge through knee deep snow. My ankles are swollen and nasty today for sure, but it was a "welcome" to winter I guess.
The pit stop at the ski hut was nice and then a short climb to a view and we were smashing back through the snow down to the ski area and to the start of our climb back to 10K'. Here I fell apart a bit and unfortunately made the group wait a bit for me at the top but it was really the only effort breakdown on the day and hopefully didn't slow them too terribly much as we were taking breaks every few miles for someone to crap or water the flowers. The only bummer of the trip was Joe raking his ankle after slipping on some melting snow a couple miles from the house, so we just cruised in nice and slow from there. At the house, I took Geoff up on a soda, sat for a little while before saying my goodbyes and heading off down the hill.
All in all, it was a great day in the mountains with some truly great runners. Pretty cool chatting it up with those guys and listening in on the play by play from the river in at this year's WS100. Look forward to seeing the guys at a race in the coming months.