|Telluride is a pretty cool place|
The San Juan Mountains have captivated my attention ever since learning about them and the notoriously challenging Hardrock 100 a couple years ago. And while having every intention of one day running that course, I also am not oblivious to the fact that its nearly impossible to get into, and that it lives up to its "graduate" level 100 miler status meaning I'm likely not ready for it after finishing one meager Wasatch 100. But when I discovered the Telluride Mountain Run, a 38 mile loop course through the San Juans with 14k feet of vert, it was like a perfect mini Hardrock opportunity. So I jumped on it.
Surprisingly Court signed up for it as well, making his race count a whopping 2 including Speedgoat, which is 2 more than he has ever run. Not surprisingly, Steve also signed up for it since he is always stoked on every race possible and it not shy when it comes to race fees. All he needs is an excuse(court and spence are doing it, I have to!) and his always supportive wife lets him head out.
The three of us met up early Friday morning for the 6 hour car ride through Moab, and it wasn't that pleasant with Court giving freely of his gaseous stench. We arrived and found a campsite in town which was lucky and very convenient as it was 5 minutes from the start.
Despite not reading the directions thoroughly and starting in the wrong spot, we quickly corrected our mistake and had a fun time climbing up at the Falls Wall on less than vertical conglomerate, which was basically like a less fun version of Maple canyon. (read, no jugs)
|The boys gearing up for some climbing|
|Somehow the dramatic backdrop is ruined here|
|Wild Raspberries! I have 4 hands. We ate probably $20 worth|
That night we enjoyed the most expensive low quality hamburger I've ever had, and reminded myself why I hate eating out. I'm never happy with what I pay or eat. We rode the free gondola up the mountain because we could and then hit the sack.
|Beautiful river trail through town|
Start time was 6:30 am. While a few others in our campground busted out of there around 5 am, angering Court of his precious lost Nyquil induced sleep, we chose to get up around 5:45. With only 70 runners, it was a nice low key start. Dakota promised us it would rain(which it didn't) then we were off.
The first climb was up the ski resort roads, which was boring and took about an hour, then we were off on some amazing singletrack. I made the mistake of trusting one of last year's finishers at a junction with no flagging and followed him up a long hill before realizing our blunder and turning back. We went down, then back up. The fantastic pass leading into Wasatch basin was just what I was looking for from this run. A long steep descent down to Bridaveil Falls got us to the first aid station at mile 17.
|This was a fantastic section of trail. Too bad it wasn't on route|
|It was like emptying your full bladder moving off the ski resort dirt roads and onto this. Euphoric|
|A group of early runners shortly behind me|
|This is the 14 year old kid who was crushing it|
I had been leap frogging with this guy from New Mexico for the first section which was annoying so I tried to put some space between us on the next long climb and it worked. Never saw him again. The next mountain pass was also gorgeous and I lucked out and passed a guy who was off course. (i yelled to him after I was a safe distance ahead of him)
|Often times we went straight up|
|Cool trail up the scree|
|Lots of leftover mining ruins|
The 2nd aid station was a water only, and after that came 7 miles of undulating terrain with much runnable singletrack. Some idiot teenager/ inconsiderate environmentalist had removed much of the flagging on critical junctions, so I was often guessing which way to go which was stressful having already gotten off course once earlier. Luckly I made it to the last aid station with another local guy who knew the course. I thanked him for his help then promptly tried to ditch him. He caught me on the next climb, but unfortunately for him was suffering from bad heel blisters so I was able to put some distance on him on the last downhill.
I ran into the finish after 8:33 and good enough for 8th place overall. Happy with that for sure. Full results here. I got smoked by a 16 year old, so I guess I better try harder next time. But Court and Steve got smoked by a 14 year old, so at least my guy can drive.
Court and Steve finished about 2 hours later and we all enjoyed a burger and brat and headed home. All in all a fantastic run. No one had serious blisters/stomach/ultrarunning issues so it was a success. The actual course gets an A-, and the minus is strictly because I had to run on some pavement in the last ski resort climbing section.
Suggestions for Race Directors Dakota and Reese:
-ya gotta give out free t-shirts. You had tshirts but I expect free, not $20. and make em cool. not like this years Vaquero loco t-shirts. I want to actually wear it.
-improve the website. some of the links don't even work.
-i know its not your fault someone stole the flagging, but that's pretty critical stuff. Figure it out.
-get a more detailed course map or a google earth setup. c'mon, its 2014.
-somehow fit in a peak. I wanna summit a peak.