Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

GORE-TEX® Trans Rockies Run – Stage 4

Post by:  Jake
8/17/12

Nearly an hour before sunrise, my alarm went off and I crawled out of my sleeping bag to find myself completely immersed in the Trans Rockies Run (TRR).  Although the competitors range from full time sponsored athletes to weekend warrior trail runners, the TRR is a little Shangri La at the top of the Rockies.  It’s a little slice of heaven, a chunk of nirvana.   It’s what so many runners eagerly await all winter and train all summer for.  There I stood, still half asleep, in line for breakfast rubbing shoulders with a brotherhood of trail runners I was only beginning to understand.  Although I was joining the TRR close to half way through the six day event, every single racer I talked with cheerfully welcomed me into their clan.  It didn’t matter that I had never run a marathon, and hadn’t even run a mile of the TRR, the family of trail striders was quick to take me under their wing, answer my ignorant questions, and share their passion for running.

A gunshot signaled 8:00 a.m. and the start of Stage 4.  This stage consisted of 14.1 miles, and 2,900 vertical feet of elevation gain.  At the end waited the promise of margaritas and fish tacos at Mango’s in Red Cliff, Colorado.  Steep vertical rises, narrow single track, miles of loose cobble, and several river crossings comprised the day’s obstacles.  While covering the race, I got my feet wet, both metaphorically and physically.  My goal was to shadow the runners on my mountain bike.  I’d take “strategic” shortcuts to cut off the pack, snap some photos, and then hop back on my bike to leap frog ahead again.  Eight miles of my route would take me on an old abandoned rail line.  The track was beautiful, but hard to ride as it was full of loose scree and steep drop offs.  At one point a beaver dammed a nearby creek and I was forced to ride through in 2-foot water.  I had already forded a fairly large creek earlier in the day, so having wet feet wasn’t new.  Arriving at the finish line through the backdoor, I realized no racers had crossed yet, so I rode up to meet them.  Several miles later I came to Checkpoint 3, just in time to see team La Sportiva flying around the corner, not even blinking at the checkpoint.

Nearly an hour later the bulk of the pack came pouring out of the forest with wet feet.   From Checkpoint 3 a mere two mile dash downhill lay between them and the finish line at Mango’s in Red Cliff where fish tacos and a much needed cool dip in the creek awaited.  Check out the video I took of today’s race here:

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Posted in Adventure Sports and Reviews.

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