Next in the Leadville series are thoughts from Gordo, posted to the Google minimalist group shortly after the run… Gordo paced me up and over Hope on the return, as well as up and over Powerline, both tough sections. In the photo above he’s carrying my bottles (muling) and generally telling me to keep moving. 🙂
I did the first leg, from Winfield to Twin Lakes. With a really miserable warm up. There was the mother of all traffic jams going up the Winfield Road. We thought that we left plenty of margin, but sat on the road just watching it erode. We expected Sean to hit the turnaround at 3:45. At 3:15 we hadn’t even gotten to the Hope Pass trail head, which is still 2.5 miles from the aid station. I couldn’t stand it any more, jumped out of the car, grabbed some food for Sean, and took off running up the road. After maybe a half mile I passed the point where they were doing traffic control, only letting more cars in as cars left. That was at the trail head. I’m looking at my watch and thinking about how screwed we were. Another half mile uphill in the hot sun breathing clouds of dust raised by exiting cars, and I hear cars behind me. They’d let another group of ten or so through! I had my thumb out before they even got around the corner. The first two cars were packed full, but the third car picked me up. We picked up two more pacers on the way, and had three big(I was the smallest by far) sweaty guys jammed into the back of a small compact car. It turns out that the two women that picked us up had completely missed their runner and that their pacer had done what I did and they were just going up to see whether or not their pacer had made it or needed a ride back down. Anyway, when we hit the traffic slowdown in Winfield, where the runners were running a bit of the road down to the new trail, we all jumped out and ran for the aid station, which was maybe a quarter mile farther. I’m watching for Sean all the way. At the entrance to the AS, I asked the woman who was checking runners in if 228 had arrived. She said that she didn’t think so. WTF? (He had and was actually about to leave again.) I sprinted to the tent, sighed a waiver and grabbed my pacer tag. I’m sweating like a pig and thirsty already. Great. Ran to the food tent, looking for Sean, grabbed a cup of water and ran for the check in point again. This time I found a woman with a clipboard that had a list of numbers written on it. I look over her shoulder and see 228 near the bottom. So I say, “228 just got here?” and she says “No. 228 left three runners ago.” Crap. Sprint back down the road through Winfield, dodging cars and runners. I caught Sean just before he cut into the woods onto the new trail that runs over to the base of Hope Pass. We got into Twin Lakes about 7:45.
I jumped back in again at the Outward Bound AS and went through MayQueen and on to the Tabor Boat Ramp with Sean, so I got to do Powerline too. It’s a good thing that I used to like hills. LOL That was the midnight to 5:30 shift. We didn’t do a whole lot of running on that stretch, but it wasn’t particularly easy, either. Sean power walks a 15 minute pace on level ground at 10,000 feet in the middle of the night when he’s tired. My Trail Gloves had gotten wet in Twin Lakes crossing the river and I didn’t want to risk the Vapor Gloves or wear wet shoes, so I wore my Tough Gloves. They took some hits. Trying to make time on rough trails by headlamp is harder than it sounds. I was really happy to have full toe coverage a couple of times. I was wishing for real cleats most of the time(Merrell, are you listening?) but managed to keep the rubber sides down, although it was close a couple of times. But the time we got to Tabor, I was done. Sean is still going like the energizer bunny at this point, locked onto that 15 minute pace. Sean’s wife took over from me at Tabor and took him in the last 7 miles.
I had a blast. Sean has a great family and they were all really nice to me. As to me trying 100? I don’t think so. I might try a 50 someday though. I’ll need to get into a lot better condition 😉
I can think of maybe a half dozen things that someone focused more on winning than having fun could have yelled at me about. Things I would do differently next time, mostly on the crewing side. It’s scary how many times we almost dropped the ball through inexperience only to recover at the last second. A couple of times we did drop it and managed to snag it before it got out the window. I’m glad you were good with flexible, because that’s what you got. 😉 That took a lot of pressure off me and let me relax and have fun. Thanks. I learned a ton. You can read about this stuff, but until you do it, you won’t really understand it. I thought Ben’s binder was a little OCD, but when your crew has been awake for 24 hours straight off a bad night’s sleep, I can see where the step by step instruction sheet and detailed map lets them just execute mindlessly. Then they can focus on being flexible because you’re off plan rather than because they are. You were so solid on your plan that it let us get away with a lot of errors. I’m glad that none of them cost you the race. The only significant error(that I noticed) with my pacing was not being pushy enough about the jacket when we got to MQ. But then I’ve got more experience than I’d like with midnight epics. 😉