I drove over after work and made it to Steamboat Springs just after 6:00 pm. I got my bib, ate dinner, and found a great place to camp out. It was dark and quite; I slept like a baby. Race morning: I woke up at 4:50… just over an hour later I was on the starting line.
The air was brisk and people talked in hushed tones not willing to break the tranquil morning. The race started up the ski slope running on trails or roads. I maintained a quick pace and as expected no one was willing to stay with me. It was dark and beautiful, I even saw 2 sets of eerie ghastly green eyes staring at me. They turned out to be of a mama moose and her baby. As I gained ground it was as if I was coming out of the depths of the earth. 2,000 feet below I could see motionless fog stuck to the ground like patches of milk splattered by the farmer when milking. The air got colder as I ascended from 6,700 feet up to over 10,000 feet. I finally crested Mt. Warner and the ski slopes and ran into the first aid station at 1:07 into the race. I figured I had a respectable 3-4 minute lead on 2nd place.
At last the course changed from the continuously uphill steep dirt road to lightly angulating smooth single track. I ran along hoping to hit the half way in about 3:30. If felt comfortable and ran consistently with no sign of any other runners. I hoped I was increasing my lead. I ran into the last aid station. I was excited and ready to turn and retrace my steps, however I was informed I had to run 3 more miles uphill to Rabbit Ears before I could turn around. This was deflating. I was feeling ok but ready to turn. This was a disadvantage to not knowing the course. I ran up to the turnaround arriving at 3:58, and timed myself back to my competitors. I had a 4, 6, and 10 minute lead back to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places. Not very much, especially when I was 4 hours into the race and only halfway. I was feeling energy deprived and unsure what to do. I had been eating and drinking consistently… what was I lacking. At the next aid station I got some coke and this did the trick. I just needed some extra sugar.
With the elixir of life running through my veins, I was ready to race again. I kept my pace up and made it back to the top of Mt. Warner and raced down in 42 minutes winning in a total time of 7:43.
Notes: This marked my 1st 50 mile win (I’ve been 2nd 4 times).
8th win for the year. A new record for me. A week off and then the Flagstaff Sky running Championships. It will be fun!!!