|Steamboat's Finest Chinese Buffet|
I've got to say, this course's take on the whole climb/descent of the ski area kicks the Run Rabbit Run version's ass. Instead of sticking on the service road to Storm Peak, we got a tour of the tree-lined single track all the way to the top, which coupled with the awesomeness of the trail to Long Lake made for some serious stokage (that's a word, I just made it up). In any case, I was certainly not feeling chipper and by after the first 2,500' or so of climbing I knew that a great race just wasn't in the cards. However, I focused on the one thing I had come for, sustained grinding effort. I just kept the legs churning (if at an admittedly slow pace). I was something like 8th at the turn and picked off a few guys on the way back. When I got back to Storm Peak (right before the 4K plunge to the finish) I knew I could do either 1 of 2 things. I could 1) demolish the downhill and break 5 hours... or 2) drink a beer and enjoy myself all the way down to the finish and not completely wreck my legs. So, one beer, and a lovely jaunt down the to bottom later, I crossed the line in 5:07:57, good for 5th place, and about 7 minutes back of Donnie.
After a dip in the creek and a few awesome sandwiches later (seriously, the food at this race was unreal), Donnie, new friend Sean Meissner, and ladies champ Becca and I grabbed some adult beverages at Slopside, just a quick walk from the finish line. Following the story swapping session, we managed to make it back for the awards/raffle where an incredible amount of schwag was dispersed. In all, it was a phenomenal weekend, and a great, GREAT race. All of the best parts of the RRR course (with a far superior opening/closing climb), albeit without the Rabbit Ears. Another perfect day in the mountains, and I'll be back next year. Next up, another trip to the boat this Sunday for the Stinger Marathon.