Well, the last really long day before Bighorn is now behind me and I feel pretty good today. While I had a mediocre finishing time (for me, I suppose), I had a great time out on the Quad Rock course. The thing with a course like this is that if you don't have great legs, or you're tired, the amount of extra time you add on is exponential. What I really wanted, after some internal realistic discussion, was a solid long day. That was precisely what I got and in the end I'm happy with that.
|Finishing up. Photo: MH|
Just one year ago, I had peaked and had a smashing day on the Jemez course. The thing was, Jemez was not my goal race and while I had a good result, I put myself in a grave doing so which translated to may of the problems I had prior to DNF'ing at Bighorn just a few weeks later. While there are many folks who can race hard multiple times in a short window, I am not one of those people.
|Car! Photo: MH|
So, onto the race. Mike was kind enough to put me up the night before thanks to Clarkie's absurd starting time! However, once we got going, I settled into the climb and ran with a mix of folks and found what appeared to be a comfortable effort. Horsetooth came easily enough and I was feeling OK despite the seemingly normal lack of pop in the legs (a product of my training, perhaps more on that later).
|Cool shot of the Grass/Burn dichotomy. Photo: MH|
I must say, as an avid opponent of loop courses, this was surprisingly easy to negotiate (mentally) even though I knew what was coming (a long ass climb). I plodded my way back through the Arthur's climb and back through the Arthur's aid station where I started my routine of slamming coke at every aid. From here on out it was the same old story, moderate running downhill, and a mix of hiking/jogging uphill. I can see that it would be fun to make a course like this your focus and just try to hammer the climbs and hang on through the downs. But that was not this day, this day was about surviving...
And, after what seemed like an eternity, and a bit of hail, I popped out on the valley trails and meandered my way back to the finish line. Now, I had prepared to kick Nick in the balls for starting so early, but he so graciously cooked up some Ultragen and I let it slide. I must say that this race was seriously top notch. The production, the aid, volunteers (good to see my friends out there on the course), and pretty well everything that goes on there was great. This is not because I consider Nick a friend, but rather, this was a GREAT event. Even though I was slow, I had a great time. Beautiful trails, tough climbs, and fun descents. The biggest praise I can give my sponsors is that my feet feel awesome today; no blisters and no sore feet!