Monday, 24 August 2009

Day 2: Superb mountain run

What a fantastic day this has been. A short, 16km stage with a big up and a big down and then 1-mile of flat to the finish – and all on really good quality trails with wonderful views up high.

We were awake at about 05h30, woken by the rustling of other runners getting up. And I needed to pee, which was a good thing as yesterday I drank litres of water and only peed for the first time in the late evening. Very worrying. My kidneys redeemed themselves with 4 stops from when I woke up and another 25mins into the stage – crystal clear. Phew! I was relieved in both senses of the word. It is always troubling when you don’t pee because it can spell hydration issues. I think my body just freaked out yesterday with post-travel demands and heat.

We both slept pretty well last night. Sure, you sort of wake up when you roll over (tent on rocky, hard, sandy ground) and a big wind howled through the tents at about 2am. Aside from this I was blissfully lights-out.

Lisa W headed down just after 06h00 to get coffee - a good move as they ran out of coffee later. Another runner, Stan, said this morning that this was the first time in something crazy like 30-years that he had missed out on his morning coffee. He slurped a Chocolate Espresso Gu (with caffeine!) instead, just before the start. I went for breakfast at around 06h45 – did the oats with bits of fruit plus an interesting egg-something that was quite decent. And, a cup of tea in my new Salomon tin mug.

The school buses hauled us to the start, way up a really beautiful valley. And at 08h30 we were off. A few gentle miles of open dirt road and then a right turn, through an aid station and then up on to the mountain trail.

Absolutely perfect conditions too – overcast, cool, light breeze… we couldn’t have asked for better. Lisa and I worked the crowd, finding it quite difficult to get past other runners. Up above the tree line the view of the surrounding peaks was spectacular. The mountain tops are very barren – rocky, scree slopes and not an inch of vegetation. I’m sure it is really beautiful too when covered by snow.

We took cheesy photos at the top of Hope’s Pass. The photos were taken by our buddies Matt and Kyle – we reciprocated before hurtling downhill to the second and last CP. Matt’s website is - he should have some more photos posted there (I can’t check his website – yuckie connection). Race organisation used pack mules to get some liquids and Gu products in. The trail from here was amazing – through forests and really good quality. Down, down, down, down… it was a long way down. Lisa W is queen of the ascents; I’m queen of the descents ;)

After crossing the chilly river – great on feet and calves – we had about a mile on winding jeep track and footpaths to the finish. Lisa really moves it on these sections like a horse bolting for home. We made up a bit of time on the girls pair close behind us. And at the finish we had a warm reception and lots of munchies.

Leaving the finish, on the way to Leadville, clouds started descending the mountains and a light rain started to fall. We got outta there just in time!

Tonight we’re camped on a school field – jam packed with tents – in town. Yay! Grass under us tonight – way more comfy. And then there will be another slide show, video clip and awards. I’m sure Gore-Tex and Salomon will have other fun and games in store (Saltsticks are having the pool party too).

So, today was good. We completed the stage in 03h05 and we’re both feeling great. Lisa W’s shoes were a bit tight on the downs yesterday but seem to have settled in a bit better today. Her tiny blisters from yesterday seem to be healed. I’m having a great foot race with no problems – I hope it stays this way for both of us over the next four days.

Tomorrow’s stage – Day 3 – is a long and tough one. We’re hoping that the weather will be the same as today – cool, light breeze and overcast. If the temperatures rock like Day 1, we could be in trouble out there. Forecasts look good so I’m optimistic. A light drizzle could be fun too.


1 comment:

Kirb said...

Lisa - thanks for the words. And Matt Nelson that you are talking about is the guy I mentioned to you that I know. Great guy.