Whoops, I got most of the way through this race report and then forgot to finish it. So here goes... The race was 10/07/06, the week before the cross race posted below...
click for too large aspen vista trail vista from the race start
Earlier in the week, I was all fired up to do the road apple rally up in farmington. Something like 30 miles of swoopy really fast singletrack and one of the oldest MTB races in the US routinely won by crusty old durango fast guys like Ned Overend or Travis Brown. However, wednesday, I geared up the singlespeed to appropriate manly gear like 36 16 in prep for the race. Thursday morning I ride it to work and find I really can't turn the pedals over. The chainline is crap and front wheel has an annoying hop that I can't true, and I am tired from work, and I am cranky and I am whiney, and it hurts when i pedal, wah wah wah wah wah. So I whuss out on the race sleep in on friday and ride up the ski hill on the road bike as below.
Ahhh. Good biking adventure, some sleep and I feel good. Really good. Since farmington is 3 plus hours away and there is no race day reg, I change plans and hitch a ride with my buddy Paul to near the top of the santa fe ski hill for the big tesuque run. It starts up on the aspen vista trail on the santafe ski hill at 10,000 feet and climbs six miles up a fire road to the radio towers at 12,000 feet and turn around run back down for a total of 12 miles.
My goals were simple, run all the way up and then don't hurt my knee or hip coming back down. Secondary goal was to hit about an hour on the way up. It worked pretty well. Acheiving the goals were complicated by the fact that I had not run more than 5 miles at a time in the last year and a half or so, and also it was cold as crap at the top. I am guessing 42 and overcast at the start, 35 and rain at the top and then 40 or so and raining at the end.
The race went pretty well despite the weather and lack of running. I warmed up the first mile, struggled a bit in the the next few miles and then got my rhythm and churned on up to the summit. The first few miles were kind of annoying as I was stuck between two walk/runners and just in front of a hypoxic woman who was gasp honkin with every step. Now I do not begrudge the walk runners, as it is obvious that it works pretty well for going long distances offroad on steep stuff and I was not running all that much faster than they were walking, however... I named one of the dudes "runaway" and the other "Ketchup". Runaway would walk until I caught up with him and then seemingly sprint off and then start walking again a ways up the road. Ketchup would run from behind me to just in front of me and then begin walking. The middle miles of the race were framed by Ketchup and runaway with soundtrack provided by hypoxic shriek breather. Somewhere around the middle of the race, ketchup and shrieker faded off behind me and runaway done ran away and I was alone with my task. There were a few crusty old runners who blew by me late in the ascent, the kind of grizzled vets who probably don't function well at altitudes below 11,000 feet and run over fourteeners 5 times a week. With about a mile to go (for me) the leaders came coalescing out of the fog and streaked down the mountain. The winner apparently came in at 1:18 somewhere near a course record.
I hit the top in about 35th in 1:06, and then I ran down the whole way, stopping only to trip on a microscopic rock and tear a huge amount of flesh off of my hand, and stretch a bit. My knee is a little sore still (now a 10 days later) but not enough to effect riding or the cross race this past weekend. I was pretty much done running at the top but it was cold as crap and I was 6 miles from the car. The air was thin and the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down in sheets and my glasses were fogged irrevocably. So I turned at the top, looked around at the non existent view with mist closing in on all sides, and trundled on down the mountain. Approximately 200 people passed me on the way down. I could not really see and was pretty stiff. It took me about a mile to get re-warmed up on the way down as the short strides of the ascent were replaced by the loping breaking strides on the decline. After getting my grove back, i had two miles of smooth running and then about 2 miles of painful running before tripping and limping on to the finish. It seemed people were passing me constantly. I was pretty dissapointed to see it was only 20 who passed me on the way down according to the results. The grand total was 1:57 or therabouts, 55th out of 120 and a stern vow to get offamybut next year and race road apple instead.
The best part of the race was the epic quantity of breakfast burritos at the end. I shamefully admit to eating two, although there were something like 300 hundred, both veggie and smoked bacon filled. I also drank lots of coffee. And froze my ass off despite changing into dry clothes. Paul and I finally took off for lower altitudes when the awards finished and I could no longer feel my hands despite holding hot coffee in one and a hot burrito in the other.