Not really sure where to take this report, but I've got mixed feelings about my run there. Overall, a wonderful day in the mountains, a great training run for Leadville, and nice to catch up with some other good people.
My buddy Jacob and I headed up to Twin Lakes Saturday evening to camp with Lucho and Co. Upon arrival I was excited to hear about his race that morning, though we quickly found out that he had spent the better part of the day in the ER after crashing out hard multiple times on the bike (shattering his helmet) with a concussion and incredible amounts of road rash. We got the skinny, well, as much as he could remember and got to see up close the golf ball emerging from the side of his forehead. A huge bummer to be sure, not solely due to the fact that he was crushing it in 2nd place and feeling crazy good up until the crash. Also a bummer that he'd be out of the run as well, dude was looking lean and mean. We got some great food from Mrs. Lucho and shot the breeze while the little luchoites clearly had zero fun playing around the campsite and eating roasted marshmallows...
On to the race. After a fitful night of sleep we awoke in just enough time to get up head down to the start, get checked in, and take care of some business before lining up. Hopped in next to Brandon and Luke and we were off. I settled into a slow climb, not wanting to overwork the initial grunt and then eased my way off the front of the group on the downhill to the trail. Right as the uptick in the trail shifted I had the ominous feeling that it wasn't going to be a good day. Legs had zero pep and I was slowly losing turnover. I crashed out shortly after getting passed for the first time and that sort of woke me from my slumber. Grinding out the first climb, I had fallen back into 5th or so, was passed by a few people, Luke included on the downhill where I just wasn't feeling good and didn't want to put myself into an early hole. So I was into 7th and cruised back into the mile 13 aid to refill water and be on my way.
Luke, Eli, and I worked our way down to Oro City and trading places and leapfrogged on the climb up to the side of ball mountain. I was hiking way to much for my liking but managed to pass both up to the aid station. We worked around the side of ball, and it seemed like quite a few folks caught up to me at the saddle, including Joe, and I put a bit of separation on them heading down to the turnaround. I passed Jesse (new to CO) to gain 4th into the turnaround in about 3:40 (plenty slower than I had hoped for initially).
Climbing back out of the turn is my least favorite part of the course, and with my pathetic climbing skills on display, I was passed twice on my way back to the saddle of Ball Mtn. From here I simply decided that I was going to put forth a solid steady effort and focus on moving forward efficiently. Made good time on drop off Ball Mtn and passed a guy at Oro City. I made a decent time on the way up to the mile 33 aid and began reeling in 4th place on the push up to the top of the last big climb. Once back on the drop I just focused on maintaining turnover. I knew I was gaining, but didn't want to push too hard and reel him in right away. I eventually caught him just before the 7 to go aid. I got some coke and salt water before heading back out to finish. I should mention that it was plenty toasty and I was getting fried on the exposed last section, so when I hit the little powerline stretch and then crossed the mineral belt trail, I was very happy to be close. I ended up bringing back the gap on Joe a little but finished in 4th in 7:44:40. Full Results here.
So, overall it was a good finish and a good training run. I feel great today, better than I did after Bighorn which I attribute to not really racing to my penitential. I have mixed feelings about the race (my race), but I think I've settled on it being a positive experience training wise. I think if I'd been able to run to my fullest abilities, I'd be hobbled today and it would have been detrimental to the 100 in 5 weeks. I certainly felt like I could head back out for more, so that's a good sign. I'm getting nice and antsy for the big one, but I have plenty of time to prepare and look at what would be a solid time for me. I got some great advice and notes from Lucho over the fire and I plan on attempting to run a similar race (smooth and controlled first half). He was something like 26th at Winfield and 6th at the finish. That seems like the way to go.
Thanks to Drymax and TheAidStation.com for the great gear, I was comfy all day!