I ended up driving down early to Ouray Saturday morning for the race. My plan was to go out, run solid, and not push the pace too much. I wanted an honest race but I also wanted to rest up a bit from the previous month of nonstop racing. The race started and the front group went out quickly. I just sat on the front waiting to see how it would unfold. Bernie Boettcher, Zach Crandall, Scott Drum, Michael Smith, and a few others made up the lead group. After a mile in I set an up-tempo pace and waited for the drama to unfold. Surprisingly I found Michael Smith going with me and reciprocating with the lead pacing. By 2 miles in it was evident that we would be dog fighting. I kept the up-tempo pace going rarely relinquishing the lead but only maintaining a short lead. At 4 miles we were still neck and neck but I could feel the tension mounting. I knew at mile 5 the terrain got rougher and therefore planned on dropping the hammer once I got there.
I took the lead and slowly inched my way forward. I still felt drained from Leadville and Italy but knew my body could handle it. By Upper Camp Bird I had a 49 second lead and by the summit I still only had a 52 second lead. I started the decent intending to make up some time and distance. I figured I had only had about a minute lead and knew I need to improve on that. Then about 1 mile down I started cramping up in my left calve. I knew instantly it was because I had not been taking enough electrolytes during the run. Luckily I had just taken some Gatorade at the last aid station. I quickly downed the 2 goos I had on me jogged to the next aid station (which was another mile down the road) and got even more Gatorade. I was finally feeling like I could race again and slowly picked up the pace. I figured I lost 2 minutes because of this debacle yet I still could not see Smith so I assumed he was just behind the previous bend. I kept the pace going and surprising, to me at least, I finished in 2:15:06 a solid 3 minutes faster than last year and 2 minutes in front of Smith.
4 Races in 5 weeks: 138 miles raced, 3 first places, 5 countries… tiring, but good season so far.