Friday, July 16, 2010

Hellacious Trail Challenge

Summer… how it escapes us. Time is like a bird, like a raven, like an eagle flying majestically… It flies.

After getting back here I raced the 1st ever Hellacious Trail Challenge put on by the Boulder Running Company in Colorado Springs in the last weekend of June. The race was a 9.2 rolling and rocky race through the meandering trails in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs. There was some solid completion as Tommy Neil, Peter Maksimow, Logan Wealing, Justin Ricks, and Gerald Romero all toed the line with me. 200 meters into the race Tommy, Peter, Logan, Justin and I all went the wrong way. When I say we went the wrong way I really mean the entire field went the wrong way, but the rest of the competition was corrected by race officials. We realized our mistake and looped back. This added on ¼ of a mile onto our race. Interestingly enough, this meant that the top 5 runners were now the last 5 in the race. We came up on the tail end of the racers and 1 by 1 we had to pass them all. Finally, near mile 4 we passed Gerald Romero who was in the lead. At this point Tommy took the initiative surged ahead and got a 50 foot lead on the rest of us. I was in 4th about 30 feet behind Peter and Logan. Justin Ricks was another 20 feet behind me. Then I felt like the race started.

I felt twice as good and surged ahead and easily caught up to Peter and Logan. Another minute I was with Tommy. I know the trails in Palmer Park very well because I used to train a lot there. It was fantastic as I just glided over the rocks and the trail. I took the lead and put on a 30 foot gap over Tommy. But then with 1.5 miles to go the trail did a short u-turn and a trail arrow pointed between a road and a single track. Tommy and I took the single track. This was of course the wrong way though. I did not realize it until a minute late. Tommy and I accidentally cut off about 100 feet off of the course. We kept running and finished. I won in 59:05, Tommy was close behind in 59:29. I told race directors how we had accidently cut the course and showed them on a map. They sent someone to the tight corner of quandary and uncertainty to direct traffic. The cut had not given us an advantage and as we had already added on a ¼ of a mile at the beginning there were no concerns. I was declared the winner. Tommy was 2nd, Peter 3d, Logan 4th, Justin 5th, and Gerald was 6th.

The race was the first time I accidentally ran more and less of the course. I figure overall our version was 9.5 miles. It was great.