The Mount Evans Ascent: Now here was a race I’ve wanted to run for a while, but for some reason never got into it. Don’t know why not. It is one of the few races to run up to and over 14,000 feet. The others being the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon and the Hardrock 100. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out if there are any others but those are the only races I could think of. In the US that is.
The race starts at about 10,500 feet and runs 14.6 miles on the paved road all the way up to the parking lot at 14,130 feet just below the summit. I slept near the start in my trusty 4Runner. I had no worries of parking or trying to get to the race in time. I woke up leisurely at about 6:00, rolled out of bed and got my bib. I was feeling ready… and hopefully fast. After a short warm up I toed the line and we were off. I wanted an honest race and took out the race at a good clip, but one I thought was doable and controlled. The first mile was a 6:20 followed by a 7:00 flat mile. I held the lead and knew I was gaining over most of the field but speedster Matt Daniels was on my heels. Near mile 3 he made his move around me. He dropped the hammer, which I managed to jump over but could not reciprocate. He was gaining on me but I knew to wait and be patient, hoping my patience was the right move.
Mile 6 total was about 42:50. It was hard to tell, but I figured Matt’s advantage over me was slowly decreasing. We were now at 12,000 + feet and I was starting to feel in my groove. I picked up the pace determined to regain the 75 yard lead he had. I would run him down. I took incremental measurements to be sure I was gaining on him. At first they were minor, almost imperceptible, but soon it was obvious: I was making up ground.
Mile 7 came and I was at about 50 minutes. Matt was close now… only 20 yards in front. I found my own tool bag with hammers and started dropping them. It was time to race! Within the next minute I caught Matt who was going through a low point. I pushed on. The next mile near 13,000 feet at the lake is mostly flat, even downhill. I knew my lead was growing but I was also not comfortable with the lead. I wanted an honest race. I hit mile 10 in almost exactly 70 minutes. About 1 minute in front of Matt. Pretty good, but I needed to keep racing.
I felt the last 4 miles and 1000 feet… oh so this is what altitude feels like. It felt great… in a weird-sort-of- painful, but full-of-hard-work sort of way. I finished and won in 1:46:28, about 1 minute up on Matt. I finished and other than the pounding headache felt great. I did not feel too beat up from the road but knew getting back down to 12,000 feet or lower certainly help with the elephant that was squeezing my head. I jumped in a car with Matt, Phil (4th place), and Phil’s fiancé and we descended enough to make the elephant leave. Results are here: http://racingunderground.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16436&RId=137
Overall a great race. I tried out the new Hoka Tracer. It is by far the lightest shoe I’ve worn in years. It provides a snug fit yet does not compromise on comfort or cushion. This road shoe was perfect for the race, or other road, track, even smooth trail race. The Tracer is designed with minimal tread to maximize running on road or smooth surface terrain. I would highly recommend this shoe for workouts, races, and 2 hour runs or less. It delivered. Next up is the Leadville Mosquito Pass Marathon. I’ll be wearing the SpeedGoats there. They have a little more tread and support for the rocky uneven conditions there.