Running thru Time Trail Marathon
Friday afternoon I hopped in my rental car (trusty Jeep just cracked 238,000 miles and I opted to go with a vehicle with better gas mileage) for the scenic three hour drive southwest to Salida, Colorado. I was stoked for this short venture as it would be my first overnight stay for a race in my home state since I moved out this way over eight years ago! The drive was super chill and offered up plenty of good scenery through a couple of mountain passes and then down into Salida with the Collegiate Peaks as a back drop.
I was able to check in to my hotel, grab a quick dinner I brought with me (roasted brussel sprouts, baked sweet potato and tuna) then roll down to the Salida Steam Plant to pick-up my race number.
This is a classic early season trail race which over the years has attracted plenty of strong athletes. With a low key atmosphere and no-frill extras it was a perfect setting for what I was looking for- tough terrain with good competition.
Through the first 7.8 miles of single track I ran within the lead group of about 8-10 guys. The pace was sustainable and I felt comfortable while taking in fluids and fuel. Once we hit the jeep road winding it’s way to the peak elevation of 9,200 feet it opened the door for some separation. A small group of four were off the front with Josh Arthur, the overall winner, leading the way. I was running in a solid 5th spot sandwiched about 1-1:30 down from the lead group and another small group of guys about 2-3′ down from me. Through the first half of the course I was feeling steady and strong on the climbs and twisting single track. We were running through a modest snow squall at the higher elevations which made it interesting and my lungs were on fire as we started that grind to the high point of the course. My race started to unravel a bit as we hit the technical descents over rocky terrain. Quite frankly I suck with this terrain and quickly went backwards from 5th to 8th over the final 10k. As I slowly picked my way through these rocks several guys flew by me with ease as they seemed to float over the tricky terrain. The post race spread included plenty of warm soup, cookies and coffee to get my body toasty. Getting to the finish in one piece is always the goal and I am grateful for the gift of good health while learning more about the ultra scene!
A big congrats to the overall winners, race organizers and volunteers who braved some cold, snowy & windy conditions. I highly recommend this event to anyone looking for a fun road trip and early test of their fitness.
Keep it smooth,