Friday, 28 August 2009

Day 5: Heading into Vail

With only one day left, today we completed this 23-mile (34km) stage in just under six hours (5h56). It was another stage with a big, long climb and a 9.5-mile descent on forest roads through the legendary Vail ski area.

It took me a while to settle into today’s stage, even though I’d had a really good night sleep. Lisa’s knee was quite puffy last night but fortunately the inflammation settled overnight and after an hour or so it gave her no trouble. As the first section was uphill, we ran and walked from the start all the way up, up, up. For most of the first 7-miles we had pine forests on one side of the road winding up the valley and Aspen groves on the other side (I’ve taken a shine to Aspen trees – they’re beautiful). Throughout this section a stream (aka creek) ran down the valley, to our side, and lush grass decorated with flowers bordered the road. Picture perfect.

The second Aid Station sat high above the backbowls of the Vail ski area – spectacular view of surrounding mountains. From here, we ran most of the 9.5-miles to the finish – all downhill. The theme at this aid station was “So you think you can dance?” – Lisa and I did a little dance for the camera before starting down.

Although downhills are great to run, they really agitate knees. Lisa did well, only feeling the descent with a few miles to go. She’s sitting with ice now and will be A-ok in the morning – a bit of wear and tear. There are loads of knee complaints in camp, especially as we’ve had such brutal and long descents at the end of most stages. On the whole Team Lisa has weathered the physical and mental hurricane of this week really well.

The final aid station had a Mardi Gras theme, complete with a bare-chested aid station volunteer reveller complete with beaded necklasses. We stole a fun photo and scored a couple of necklasses, which rattled over the last 5.5-miles into Vail (but they look so cool!).

The last 3-miles were hard going – non-stop down and the town in our sights from just over 2-miles to go.

Vail is really cute – neat and tidy with flowerboxes on the buildings. Our campsite is about a mile outside of town on a big grassy green sports field. We’re going to sleep well tonight. And, they’ve arranged the tents in a neat pattern that spells, “TRR” – TransRockies Run. We’ve got a tent near the top of the straight back of the first “R”… I haven’t got a good vantage point to get a good photo for you so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Tomorrow is the final stage (21-miles) and although we’ll be glad to see the end of this final stage, it does mean the end of an amazing week of running and experiences.

Till tomorrow,

Team Lisa

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