I could not sleep. I had just gone to bed 5 minutes ago. Why was I still awake? How could I not be asleep yet? Oh yes, I remember now, I was to race the Pikes Peak Ascent the following day. So sure enough 5 more minutes and instead of lying in bed I was out using a chain saw and sawing down trees. I sawed a forest down and was quite refreshed by 4 am. Well, as refreshed as I can be at 4 am.
It would be a good race I had heard rumor of friends showing up to cheer me on, which many did. I drake some leaded coffee to ensure that the sawdust from the forest was out of my eyes. Lynnette, my girlfriend, along with her parents, Rockey and Karen, would be there for support. We arrived in Manitou Springs with a little less than an hour to the race. This would be a perfect day, I knew it. Some races you get to and you know what the results are going to be. I could picture the entire race both high and low points. I could see and almost feel the times when I would feel like stopping, giving up, and calling it quits. I blocked these out and got rid of them. I would feel fantastic even when I felt like puke. Today was a good day to race.
Racing was soon underway. Last year’s winner Simon Gutierrez took out the lead pack which included Tommy Manning, Zac Freudenburg, Alex Nichols, Michael Selig, and I. By a mile into the race it was apparent that the race would be between this pack. Simon led the first 3 miles of switchbacks with the pack of 5 all within a few yards of him. I felt the pace was a tad too slow but wanted to be patient before taking the lead. Finally at about 4½ miles in I was ready to roll. I took the lead thinking someone would go with me but no one did. By Barr Camp (7.6 miles) I guess I had about a 1-2 minute lead. By A-Frame (10.2) it was about 4 minutes. I kept thinking I needed to pick up the pace and that someone would be bound to catch me. This helped to spur me on to run faster. Once above A-Frame I knew I had to maintain but wanted a solid finish time. I did not have a watch but estimated I would finish near 2:10 to 2:14. I kept the grueling pace going not thinking about the desire to decorate the rocks with the last Gu I had eaten. Instead, I was focused solely on running strong, oblivious to lies about being tired or having some discomfort.
The last mile was filled with people cheering me on towards the top. I finished in 2:12:32. A solid time and race. I’m also signed up for the Pikes Peak Marathon but have decided to bail on running it because I’m racing the Leadville 100 next week and The World Mountain Running Championships two weeks after that. I was looking forward to doubling and running both but that will have to wait for another time.