A bit of a different show. Korn was celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album so they decided to tour and play the album in its entirety. You don’t see that often. Now, the debut album isn’t my favorite. They hadn’t really found their true sound yet to me but hey. So I wasn’t sure this concert would really deliver the ass kicking I got the last time I saw these guys open for Slipknot. But I went. It was decent and about what I expected in the end. They did a 5 song encore with some of the more recent favorites which helped bring closure to the show. That’s really it I guess. The band remains better than ever and I hope they come around and play again soon with a full set of favorites.
With the new iPhone 6s, you get these live photos. Thought it might be fun to convert them to GIFs here. So here is the shot with the GIF of the Live Photo after it.
- Ball Tongue
- Need To
- Shoots and Ladders
- Helmet in the Bush
- Falling Away From Me
- Here to Stay
- Coming Undone
- Spike in My Veins
- Freak on a Leash
Want to hear some real heavy metal lyrics??
I was excited for Trivium to return in a headlining appearance. Small venue but that’s good for the better fan experience. This band has a few different eras in my mind and they played from each of them which was fine by me. Enjoyed the set and the performance.
Matt has improved vocal range on this new album. Much more singing. Apparently, the title track was written years ago but he didn’t have the voice skills to pull it off until now.
This was the last stop on their headlining tour so they were in party mode a bit. I guess they are headed to Knotfest this weekend. That would have been a fun trip.
I was watching an old concert video from Trivium and it was amazing to see the quality in this iPhone 6s video versus whatever I was using in 2009. The audio is decent. The video is amazing. I want to shoot one in 4K just for kicks and see what that looks like. Haven’t played with it yet.
- Silence in the Snow
- Down from the Sky
- Becoming the Dragon
- Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
- Like Light to the Flies
- Built to Fall
- Until the World Goes Cold
- Throes of Perdition
- Anthem (We Are the Fire)
- A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation
- Blind Leading the Blind
- Dying in Your Arms
- In Waves
Trivium remains a favorite. Their songs continue to fuel many of my runs.
What a perfect start time for a race! At least for me. 8 AM start allowed me to get up on my usual daily schedule. Instead of that 3 AM wake up call like some of the other races I do. I consumed some calories and took my time getting ready. I drove over to the start and sat in my truck for a while just finishing up breakfast and relaxing. Then it started to rain. I mean pour. There was no rain in the forecast but this one rain cloud just had come in and was downpouring on the start line. We all waited inside as the minutes counted down. The pre-race was all at the Sheraton hotel. So using the bathroom before the race was all fancy in the hotel. Where do you ever get indoor plumbing at a race start? Nice.
When it was 10 minutes until the start, I went outside to brave the rain. And just like that, it stopped. I had no rain gear with me so the timing was perfect. A slew of runners had done the trash bag thing in order to stay dry. The only downside now was that the hills were sloppy wet. Time to get muddy!
The start is right at the base of the ski hill. Apparently due to some construction, we were rerouted this year. So we headed up a small trail that seemed to be a connector. Then suddenly ended up just climbing up the mountain side. It was quite steep. 40% grade? You were on your tip toes just hiking up. It had not been cleared so it was mostly single file bushwacking up this thing. You didn’t want to lead.
We got up to the gondola platform about 2 miles up. Lots of crews and families there cheering. That was really the end of the ski portion of the course. We took a service road up to the top of Mount Werner to a small aid station. Up until this point, it reminded me a lot of Western States 100. The climb up to the top of a ski hill only to find some singletrack ripping down the back side.
The air was cold up at the top. There was snow on the trees. The trail was wet and littered with puddles. It wasn’t easy to keep your feet dry. Not quite the morning I expected but it didn’t bother me. I found a good grove and just freight trained this section with a group of 8-10 guys. It was pleasurable running. Just a nice solid pace for 8 miles or so. Felt good to just be rolling. I figured it would be regretting being at this race about this far in but I wasn’t.
We arrived out a Long Lake aid and I took a quick seat and ate. Everything was really working pretty well. I was eating a bunch. Stocked up from my drop bag with a few things. I was drinking a lot of water. They also had Tailwind so I opted to fill my 2nd bottle with that and it was going down smooth. Friends had good luck with it recently so I opted to just use that all day instead of mixing my own UCann. Much faster. The only negative was that the Coke at the aid stations wasn’t flattened. This event was cupless so they were serving the Coke out of those small baby bottles you get at the grocery. So every on was fresh and fully carbonated. That wasn’t a good thing. I started coughing. A usual thing once I stop moving for a bit.
Leaving Long Lake you passed by the incoming traffic so it was fun to see a few faces there. I picked up my headphones and turned those on for the descent down to town. The first song that played was a new one by Foo Fighters and I just got all emotional and started crying. Weird. Not really sure why. Some sense of relief or something. I recomposed and just started making my way downhill. The section was pretty good at first but got rocky later on. Just big annoying rocks that you had to maneuver a lot. Maybe hard to get into a groove because of them. Some were wet and that didn’t help. No issues though.
After what seemed like 10 miles of downhill, we made it to the Fish Creek falls where civilization was. This is a major tourist hiking spot in Steamboat so you pop out in this parking lot where everybody is parking to do their day hike. From there it was a 2 lane paved road into town to the Olympian Hall aid station. We literally came in at the post office there in town and waited at the traffic light and went through the crosswalk. A bit weird but oddly refreshing to have to stand there for a minute.
This aid station was nicely stocked and had a lot of activity. Maybe Twin Lakes like if you are a Leadville follower. However there was indoor plumbing! How amazing. Felt human again with a quick break. Then it was off to circumnavigate this Quarry Mountain (name?) on the west side of town. It seemed to be a trail system or mountain bike area. Basically we went up fireroads to the highest point on the hill. Then all the way down into a farm on the back side. Then back up to the top. The trail was all thin single track with a lot of brush hitting your legs. I was bonking a bit on the way up the climb. But then figured the downhill would be money. However, I got a raging side stitch that took about 30 minutes to subside. I was passed a lot as I walked it off. Tried to refuel and salt up to make it pass.
The aid station at Cow Creek on the backside of the hill wasn’t much. But they had these electrolyte popsicles. I ate 2. It was the greatest thing I have ever had. It wasn’t too hot out but it felt like it. So it was good to cool down a bit before climbing back out of this spot.
So I was making my way back to Olympian Hall again retracing our steps when somebody blew by me. It was Schlarb in 1st place. So fast. I was waiting on the leaders to come by me. Continually checking the rear view mirror but nothing. He caught me off guard. Burch came by as well. And Clarkie came up to me just as we got back to Olympian Hall. Interesting format to see the leaders run like this and have to catch us. I wonder how they like it. Seems like they would have to keep dealing with passing slow people who might not know they are coming up on them so fast.
Back at Olympian Hall, it was getting dark now, so I moved into warmer gear here. Oh, but I decided to shower first. Eh? I went in the bathroom at Olympian Hall and basically sponged bathed my head and chest with my Buff. It was magic. Felt so good to get refreshed and somewhat cleaned up for the night. Rejuvenated! However, other racers were getting cooler things. Domino’s pizza delivered. McDonald’s. All kinds of creature comforts given we are in the city. Usually ultras have you in the middle of nowhere. Not this one.
I then put on a shirt, a long sleeve and a jacked. A hat and gloves. Pants. And all my lights. I was off for the night. As I was making my way back to the traffic light, I gave my wife a call to say good night. Seems like an odd thing to do in a race but I had a minute and it was fun to take my mind off things before the next push. I called Tim next for some virtual pacer talk. He thought I was holding well confirming what I thought myself.
At this point in the course, the hell begins. I mean that in the sense that we had run from way up top at Long Lake this morning down to the city. Now we were retracing our steps. This rubbed me the wrong way. Made the route feel contrived. Which it is. The hike up was turning cold. It was basically a 10 mile ascent in the dark back over those rocks I bitched about before. My feet were getting sloppy and I just wasn’t having a good time with it. My body started getting colder. I threw on one more wind shell. My fingers were cold too. I was wiggling them by the minute to regain blood flow. We were hiking up next to this river and it just made the air moist and all the colder. Now people were coming by me with shorts and light shirts. I think they were cold too. But they also had that internal heat going that I could get myself.
After what seemed like forever, I pulled into Long Lake for the 2nd time of the day. It would be 3 times total for a finisher. I plopped down next to the bonfire at about midnight yearning for heat. The fire was raging courtesy of Joel Wolpert (running video extraordinaire). I looked in the chair to my left and it was Timmy Olsen all wrapped up. “Hey Tim, rough day?”, I said. He was dropping and waiting on a ride. “Would you like some soup?”, a female says to me. I look up and it is Jenn Shelton. Yes, please. “This is weird”, I thought to myself. They brought my drop bag over and I assembled my poles and put on my TNF down jacked. I upgraded to winter ski gloves. I wanted to eat more but being so cold I could not get calories down easily. Gels were frozen too. After staying for sufficient time, I counted myself down. Stood up and walked out into the night.
The next aid station was about 5 miles out called Summit. I figured that meant it was up from where we were but it wasn’t too much elevation gain. But this road was exposed from both sides like walking a ridge. Howling wind. The heat from the fire went away and I found myself cold again. The real effect of all of this was that my nose was running like a spigot. And it was flowing into my mouth from my nose. And down the back of my throat. Total sinus overdrive. I had been doing my usual coughing all day but now it was like being waterboarded while you tried to race. I would have to stop every 4 minutes and hunch over my poles and cough until I thought my eyes would pop out. A few hours of this takes it’s toll on your heart rate and your energy. Probably 15 minutes from Summit, I couldn’t stay awake. Like when you are driving cross country and you start nodding off. Man, I couldn’t stay awake! Never had this problem ever before. I had no caffeine. I started hoping something crazy would happen like crossing paths with a bear to just wake me the hell up. No dice. So I bent over my poles and told myself to nap. Didn’t work. I can’t lay down here. Someone will think I died. So I tried to carry on. Closing my eyes while walking and frankly trying to sleep walk. I almost walked right past Summit aid station as it was set back off the road. But I made it. Must go inside!
This place looked a bit worse that prior stations. Runners were starting to go downhill. We had sleepers. We had pukers. We had some nasty foot stuff, like huge blisters. Medics coming in and out and picking up runners on those ATV-like car things. I told myself I was going to take whatever time I needed. I went and got a chair by the propane burner and let myself fall asleep. It was something :05 on the clock as I dosed off. I woke up at :23. But man, that cat nap felt great. The tiredness was 100% gone. I started getting food from the staff and drinking. Spent probably 10 minutes enjoying that. The girl next to me had a nasty grape sized blister on her little toe. I worked her and her husband/pacer through treating it. Felt good to help. Time to go though!
Walked out into that night air and started to jog and suddenly gasped for air. It was like my lungs were off. I couldn’t breathe. I don’t know if it was the warm to cold transition or what but it almost knocked me out. As I caught my breath finally, the price was clear for this move. Here come’s the food. Blah. Blah. Blah. All the liquids and solids I just had so diligently eaten flew into the road in front of me. Damn it to hell. It was so depressing to do all that work and have it end up on the road instead of as calories. I thought about going back inside to refuel again but decided not to. Off into the night.
The next 10 miles were all downhill on a wide dirt mountain road. It was easy going but I wasn’t really running anymore. Reminded me of the way you feel going down the back of Sugarloaf at Leadville. The jarring and bouncing just hurts. So I just kept moving swiftly without too much vertical maneuvering. But something else was different. The lungs. I don’t know if it was the extended pause at the last aid station or what but I couldn’t go that far without stopping and coughing like a 2 pack a day smoker. If you have run with me, you have heard this cough. It wasn’t going away and was consistent. The road was massively downhill but there would be an occasional roller uphill and I thought I was going to die on those.
I had 8 miles to go of this and it was going to take forever. Adding insult to injury, there were headlamps coming at me. This is an out and back section from Summit, down to town (almost), then all the way back. These people coming back were returning! They had maybe 10-12 miles on me. How depressing. And they looked great! Mentally, I see why the Hardrock folks would consider this a qualifier. These deep descents only to turn around and reascend. But unlike Hardrock, this retracing your route stuff is for the birds. Dumbest thing ever. Felt so pointless to go to the bottom and cross a mat and retrace your steps. I was grumbling about that for hours.
I came into the Dry Lake aid station pretty worn down. Mostly from the coughing. They didn’t have a warm place to sit here so I grabbed a chair in the cold and regrouped for a few minutes. Not doing so hot. Probably the low point of the race. I tried to eat but I couldn’t force too much. I had went now to about 36 hour pace where I was at 30 hour pace near Long Lake. Things were going downhill fast. Well, not me downhill fast.
The next section was a windy singletrack down to Spring Ponds. Again the faster runners were coming at me as I was descending. I was asked “how much further” by more folks than I could count. They seemed to be in misery. I likened the look to that crawl back up Hope Pass on the back side. Not as steep but pretty miserable. I was descending slower and slower. Stopping to let them pass me as an excuse to cough more.
It was 5 long and slow miles down to this aid station. This was at mile 70. The sun had just started to crest the hill. It was a new day. But my fun was over. Given I couldn’t descend without coughing, I knew the ascent wouldn’t be easy at all. I checked the times and I had 2 hours to get to the cutoff there and frankly I took longer to descend that section that that. Mathematically, I was just out of time. I could have went for it but I didn’t have the motivation to race the clock. I did that last year at Leadville. No thanks.
The medic checked me out and was pretty impressed by my cough. He wasn’t so keen on me continuing but wasn’t going to force-ably stop me. But he wasn’t encouraging me either. The tent I was in was full of folks dropping for various reasons. I was in good company. I would still peek out and see people come into the aid station and then cruise out. They weren’t the fastest runners but they looked solid and motivated. I did not fall into that category this morning. So I made up my mind and pulled myself from the race. Another DNF’er was there and her father had a car. They drove me back to my truck at the start line and I was in my hotel in bed napping shortly there after. For an ultra, this race has the closest aid stations to town of anything. Literally seconds from town, each one. Great for crews!
So that was about 70 miles in 24 hours. Hey, not bad? I hate when people say that. Makes me want to remind them that I have run 100 miles in less than 24 hours. But every course is different. This one took out a lot of people. It was wildly different than other races I have run. And frankly seemed to be playing out OK until nightfall. Plenty of aid on the course but these ascents and descents are long. And if you get cold…and you will…you need to be able to operate. I was ready for that but the plan just didn’t work.
I have been whining about the lungs since 2013. That is when this started. Since then, I have been on a progressively downward streak with my finishes. I have turned into that guy now in my head that you expect to show up and DNF. It isn’t cool. I don’t like that. I have always enjoyed these events but when you see friends having good results and you can’t muster up a jog without going on a coughing spell, I start to wonder why am I here. I spent spring 2014 trying to diagnose and solve this with pulmonalogists. Over $1000 out of pocket plus insurance spent and I got nowhere. Read it. Other than them telling me that I mostly look fit and healthy. So am I still searching for answers. Over the past year, I confused myself with lowering my running volume and then saying “look at me, I am better”. But that proved itself wrong this weekend. I did have some thought that if this race was at lower elevations than Leadville, it might play out better. Turns out that didn’t matter. Or the temps really turned the tables. When I talked about lungs to the medic, we started wondering if that was a red herring. Maybe the real issue is in my head. Like nonallergic rhinitis. That is a whole new thing to explore.
Well, everybody always makes bold proclamations after a DNF. I have before. The only one I have right now is to get a handle on this issue for real. Or I won’t permit myself to run an ultra again. It just doesn’t make any sense otherwise.
I will say on a positive note — and maybe because I stopped at 70 — nothing hurts the day after. Nothing. I even jogged a tad. No gimping around. That is the only little glimmer of hope here today. I don’t feel like the end of a season today. Just waiting to see what is next. I am excited to train again this week. My dogs need the exercise and so do I.
How times have changed. In my first few years as an ultra runner, I filled this blog with every detail of my pre-race planning. I was meticulous in my preparation. I figured I was doing something special and it was fun to share the journey. Over the years, my enthusiasm for that level of detail has waned. I don’t know exactly why. I guess some part of it boils down to what some of the critics/veterans/etc like to say “ultimately, it is just about running”. I think that is truer now than ever for me.
Going into this race a little blind. Going in with no crew or no pacers. That might seem like I am trying to be “badass”. Maybe there is a bit to that. But there is also some personal freedom in that. A stress reliever. I could have a pacer. I could have a crew. I have people that would show up on request. But they won’t determine my race. Only I do. It is a different mindset when you are out there alone. No one to blame. No one to give you a push. It is all on your shoulders. And this type of situation is exactly what I like. We work on teams everyday. Family works together everyday. But achieving a finish solo, it is a unique proposition. Crews & pacers will return to my future someday, when I need them.
It is a bit weird sitting at my desk 36 hours from the start of the race. My races have primarily been Leadville so I have always been there weeks in advance fretting about every second. Not the case here.
I packed 3 drop bags by basically shoving about everything I could think I needed into a backpack for each location. Lots of warm clothes. Lots of real food. And that is it.
I trained different this year. Less miles. More strength building. I am not a faster runner right now. But this isn’t a fast race. I do feel more solid and recovered on long runs lately. I am really curious to see if this translates to a good finish. I would like to make bold claims in advance but that is silly. Race day can be so unpredictable. This is a long time on my feet. Probably will be the longest time on my feet of any previous ultras.
That’s all I have for words of wisdom I guess. Tomorrow I head to Steamboat. Friday at 8 AM we start. 36 hours to go 100 miles. Lots of up and down. More than Leadville. Less altitude and less heat. I am sure 5 miles in I will have the usual mindfuck — why the hell did I do this again? But if…no!…once I cross the finish line, I get to continue to feel elite for another year. Being healthy and fit enough to run 100 miles. That makes me proud of myself.
Race tracking here. I am #560. Be sure to pick the “Tortoise” category, where you will find me. “Hares” are racing for prize money.
Well, that was a different way to spend a week. For the last five years, I have spent as much of August as possible in Leadville. I hosted night runs. I had gatherings. I tapered. I raced. Not this year. None of that happened. I actually stayed away until late Friday night where I arrived to a sleepy town who would come to life in just a few hours for the race start. I had a bit of guilt not going over to the start but I decided I would be better served getting my rest for the long night ahead. I woke up and went out on course to a few of my favorite spots. Away from the crowds. Where I would have a stream of runners coming by one by one all to myself. It was fun to watch them starting their day and saying hi to so many familiar faces. Even the unfamiliar faces. Lots of folks saying hi to me by name with accolades like “I love your blog” or “why aren’t you running” or “good luck next month” or “thanks for all you do”.
I went back to the house and got some chores down while watching the live tracking. It seemed spot on this year. No issues, outages, or delays at least for me. Worked great. Ultra tracking always is such a shit show but for today it worked great. After a few hours, I headed down to Twin Lakes. I went dressed in my pacing gear even though I knew I would have a few hours of waiting ahead of me. I arrived and found a parking spot just 300 feet from the road crossing. Not bad. The place wasn’t packed to the gills like in years prior. Seemed pretty well balanced.
My runner, Shad Mika, had been through hours ago and we were awaiting his return. I got to see the leaders come back through. Ian Sharman was first, a bit to my surprise. Followed by Mike Aish, which I had hoped was leading by this point. Mike seemed a bit off but still his jovial stuff. Spent the next few hours walking around, chatting with everyone, helping out various crews, and relaxing.
When Shad came in, his pacer, Rebecca, told stories of the puking and general fatigue on Hope Pass. But he seemed to gain new life on the descent to see us so I was luckily getting him on an upswing. We changed out shoes, gear and such and then I started in “You have 2 minutes”. We were on the clock. Everyone in the crew was a bit antsy as Shad had lost some time on Hope Pass and they were hoping for some recovery. With that, we headed up the hill out of Twin Lakes to climb “The Wall”. After sitting and eating all day, the climb kicked me in the chest there for a few minutes. I wasn’t quite warm yet. I gave Shad his poles and we motored. He was hiking hard by the time we hit the Colorado Trail. Frankly, I was doing my decent hike pace and we were just staying together. He was strong.
We started talking finish times a bit. I knew the #1 goal was to finish. Leadman was at stake. So I tried to focus him on that. I was trying to see if I could get his mind off the stress of the time and focus on the run. I told him he could walk from here and finish in under 30 hours. It was true. I have done it. But he wasn’t content. He knew that big buckle (25 hours) was in sight. We had a lot of miles to go yet and I didn’t want to get too caught up in pace math. Let’s just run what you can and see how it goes.
We got rolling nicely when we topped out on the slopes of Mount Elbert. Shad was great uphill but a little stiff on the downs. The quads were hurting. We focused on those climbs and the flats and took it easier on the descents. Ran for quite a while before pausing to put on lights. Shad was also peeing more than I was. Encouraging. Everything was going his way.
We motored right into Half Pipe, which was 8.5 miles into my night. Nobody was there. Maybe another runner or two came through. I am used to seeing a shit show there. It was early. Shad sat for a pre-determined amount of time and then we got out of there. I was texting his crew who was waiting for us out at Treeline that we were close. It is only 1.5 miles to them. We ran nearly all of that and arrived at the truck. “We are here”, I said as I pulled in seconds ahead of Shad. They were surprised I think. As the crew attended to Shad, I lurked over to a chair in the dark to get a quick rest myself. My lungs were being shitty tonight and Shad was keeping on it. No rest for me. I did some time checks there and knew exactly were we were. We were in the game on sub-25.
We pulled out of Treeline and Shad was still doing great. I kept offering him clothes but he wasn’t accepting. This trick let me know that he was running hot. Exerting effort appropriately. If he had been getting cold, then it was a sign something was off. It was in the 40s by this point. I was cold. I threw on another layer as we got out onto Halfmoon Road. Shad was still on fire out here. In fact, he just started rolling off ahead of me and I let him go. He would gap me by 100 or so feet and then I would reel him back in on the downs. Depending on when I checked the watch, we were 10 minute pace, then 9, then 8. Crazy.
We went through the Outward Bound field and Shad was still on fire. He led me and I was just trying to tip toe through the field and not twist an ankle on all those cow holes. Damn. We came into Outward Bound and the crew took over again. I attended to my needs and was coughing like crazy. I had my pacer bib covered up by my long sleeve shirt now so nobody knew if I was running or what. So medical came over and asked me if I wanted to go in the tent and get checked out. I guess that cough gets their attention. I just identified as a pacer and they let me be. Shad was ready to roll so we headed out. I left after him as I was finishing stuff so when I ran by the checkout folks, they commented “You look so strong!”. This was ironic to me because last year when I was running, I am pretty sure they said “that guy looks like death”. I didn’t correct them by saying I was pacing. For just a moment, I felt like I was the runner.
I caught up to Shad and let him know what the timing was now. The traditional 25 hour plan has you at Fish Hatchery at 10:30pm. We ran by it at 10:20pm. Of course, we didn’t have to stop either. This put us 20+ minutes ahead of pace. We were in the game. Now, I almost regret telling him that because Shad then proceeds to start running 8:30 pace on the pavement to Powerline. WTF. I was holding on for dear life. I am not getting dropped by this boy is on a mission.
We hit the bottom of Powerline and I figured Shad would implode. This is where people impode. Me included! Nope. He took the poles and began hiking like he was fresh out of bed. We passed every runner we came upon as if they were standing still. As we kept getting higher, Shad started gapping me. This made me nervous. Am I getting dropped by a guy with 80 miles on his legs? Ouch. But more, is he going to blow up? I need him to be conservative. Oh well. He ended up topping out in 50 minutes. WTF. Strava after told me that was my 2nd fastest ascent this year of that section. Wow.
But as soon as we moved downhill, the tone changed. The baby head rocks were killing Shad‘s pace. The quads were beat. We mostly kept it to a jog but there was a lot of zig zagging. He was getting a side stitch from time to time to that we slowed to address. It was eating into pace but he was ahead after the monster ascent. So maybe the move worked. He put the chips on the bet he could make. We didn’t need to keep banking time. We needed to maintain. And we did. The run on the Colorado Trail just flew by for me. Hell, all the sections were over so fast. I never had a minute of “wish we were there”. We hit the pavement into Mayqueen and I ran ahead to signal the crew. We were here.
We grouped on the bridge into Mayqueen. Shad had time to do what he wanted to here but he didn’t. He wanted to move on. Been there before. I told him we got that last section with 15 minutes to spare. He had 3:15 to get to the finish. He would really have to fuck up to ruin that. But I got the sense he wasn’t done. I left him in Donald’s capable hands and stopped my watch.
The crew took me home and I grabbed a hot shower. It was about 2 AM and I was ready for that warm bed I had dreamed about earlier. But I checked the live tracking and saw that lots of friends were still out there. So I put on my warmest clothes, with down jacket, hat and gloves and headed out to the finish line. I arrived to a pretty empty sight. Nobody is out there that time of night. Race staff might have 5-6 folks. But there are no spectators. No cheering fans. The bleachers are empty. Things come alive when a runner shows up. The family and crew quickly appears, cheers their runner in, and then disappears to the med tent or a warm car. It is so anti-climactic.
I saw lots of friends finish but I was there for 2 people.
George Zack was supposed to be close so I walked down a block and waited. And waited. A few runners came through but it wasn’t him yet. Finally, he appeared in sea of runners. He had his lights off and I wasn’t sure it was him. I noticed others and then jammed myself into the group to congratulate him on getting this done with such force. He was toast. He was moving but it was gimpy and he only had a bit more to go. I was able to run through the finish with him and his crew. It was cool to be there for his moment. I spent time helping him get situated after and got him loaded into a car and he was off.
Back on the course, we were waiting on Shad. He was close. Probably 40 minutes after George, Shad appeared solo. On the last couple blocks, he just started running full on as he was close to breaking 24 hours even. He missed by seconds. I chased him with a camera through the arch. Amazing. He sat and was all chatty. Guy was on cloud 9. He seriously appeared to be able to keep going. Impressed. We all dream of those finishes. He did it.
I walked back to my car a few blocks away in the dark contemplating my life, my friends, this town, this race. While I didn’t race it this year, it is still a part of me and I was pretty amazing to see it for the first time from the other side. The sacrifices that go in by the pacers and crews. The time spent. It is draining. People asked me all day if I was coming back, as in racing here again. The answer was always the same — “someday”. The vision crystallized this weekend.
Corey said it has been 15 years since they played Red Rocks. I trust him. He ought to know. Plus, I didn’t live in Colorado then. But it was exciting to see a sold out Slipknot show at Red Rocks after all these years. This band is stronger than ever. The new line up works for me. The latest album is solid. I suppose they could continue on forever.
Maybe my only complaint is that with the shorter time festival time slot, the set was pretty predictable. I guess you just get big enough and that is what happens. No messing around. We even did the usual Spit It Out jump up in a quicker fashion — even with the bleachers.
The new GA seating down low at Red Rocks has been OK this season but this show had a bunch of folks on edge. They had camped out and wanted their full seat. That wasn’t going to happen at this show and there were a few scuffles until things got sorted out after the lights went down. I guess I still don’t know if it is better before or now. If the area was flat, people would know what to do. Since it is not, some folks want to treat it like they have an assigned seat. Just gets weird.
I was kind of sad that the summer concert series is wrapping up. But if I had to end on one band, this is a pretty good option.
I was lurking around before the show and saw many members of Slipknot come and go from backstage. Here is Jay and Shawn chatting. Corey came out for a bit in a hoodie. Sid went by riding a bike. It is fascinating to me how this level prepares to go to work.
Shot a little more video than usual this time. Somebody asked why video these. I said it is because someday I will watch them when I am old. For now, I do enjoy showing my kids what they missed. And it is fun to flip them on sometimes to remember a great night!
- The Heretic Anthem
- The Devil in I
- Wait and Bleed
- Before I Forget
- Spit It Out
- People = Shit
Bullet For My Valentine was one of the opening acts. Great set but it was way too short. I was disappointed I didn’t get to see more of them. I am sure they will be back around on their own with the new album that came out this week.
After running a marathon up Pikes Peak, you might want to get off your feet. Me? Nah. My bestest concert buddy said she would go with me to Foo Fighters. I was so excited! I even wore a Metallica shirt secretly in tribute to her. You see, she introduced me to this shit. She took me to my first metal concert, Metallica! If that never happened in 1991, life would be so much more boring.
Even though it was raining on arrival, I knew this would be a good show. Dave had broken his leg in Sweden last month prior to the tour but the show went on. As famously reported on the Internet, he had a throne built and played the show from the chair. Made for a funny evening. You cannot contain this guy. He is such a nut and has so much energy.
The Foos are playing two nights here in Colorado. Sadly, I will only be attending one. But we got our monies worth with 25+ songs. A lot of covers tonight. The crowd kept cheering Dave on when he asked about playing them. Kim wasn’t thrilled. She wanted to hear their own music. I agreed. Maybe they were just spreading it out because of the dual shows. They hit the stage around 8:30 and played until past 11, which was curfew there. It is always a full show.
Dave pulled this drunk guy up on stage that was crying during My Hero. The Internet picked up on it and it trended the next day. Here is the story. It was funny to watch. Dave is always spying back on the crowd and pointing out a random person several rows back and having a conversation. He entertains.
- Monkey Wrench
- Learn to Fly
- Something From Nothingv
- The Pretender
- Big Me
- Double Vision (Foreigner cover)
- I’m the One (Van Halen cover)
- Another One Bites the Dust (Queen cover)
- School’s Out (Alice Cooper cover)
- Cold Day in the Sun
- My Hero
- Times Like These
- Under Pressure (Queen & David Bowie cover)
- Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen cover)
- Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)
- All My Life
- These Days
- Miss You (The Rolling Stones cover)
- This Is a Call
- Best of You
No pit tonight. Kim requires seats. So here was the sound and view from row GG.
Thanks for another great date, Kim!
Oh, and what’s up with parking at Fiddler’s this year? You have to pay now? That’s crap.
|Rank||254 of 769 finishers|
|Summit Elevation||14,115 feet|
|Elevation Gain||7,815 feet|
With the way they are scheduled, the Leadville Trail 100 and Pikes Peak Marathon fall on the same weekend. But once every 7 years, they diverge and you get them on separate weekends. That happened this year. So I felt that was reason enough to return to Pikes this year for another go at the mountain. Unfortunately, I just didn’t execute the mountain training plan I envisioned back in the spring in preparation for the race. So leading up to the race, I decided, as many do, to label this a “training run” for next month’s big event, the Run Rabbit Run 100. And in that context, I felt like this day went well.
The race implemented starting waves this year to ease some of the trail congestion that is normal on this course as the runners start up through the singletrack of the W’s. I was seeded in corral 6 which wasn’t helpful. When my corral went out, I found myself quickly leading the group out. This wasn’t some Leadville 2011 where I chased the patrol car. I was running 9 something minute pace and was totally conversational. Everyone is my corral seemed to be learning what it meant to be running at elevation. I caught up to the 5th corral as we began to ascend. Being in this position, I was constantly behind a freight train of hikers. Folks who wanted to run, like myself, were constantly looking for space and moving around packs of people. Created a lot more work to do this. We really didn’t get opened up until Barr Camp.
I carried a hand-held bottle as it was predicted to be hot on the way back down. I probably could have gone without. However, it was handy to have as I practiced more fluid intake because I had it. Tried to keep myself nicely hydrated throughout. I was enjoying all the fresh fruit at each of the aid stations on course. It was all going down well. Stomach was great all day. Near the summit, they had those cheap-o Red Vine licorice sticks. I grabbed one. It was so phenomenal. On the way back past, I grabbed 10 and continue to chew on them all day. Everybody has something that just tastes great in a race…that was the licorice today.
On the last few miles to the summit, the leaders came back past us. Always my favorite thing to watch. However, it really starts slowing traffic on the uphill. Everyone yields to the downhill runners per the rules. But I found myself stopped on trail for up to 30 seconds at a time behind a line of 10 folks that were yielding to downhillers. It wasn’t helping our times. Probably nothing that can be done except for be up with those leaders. I guess I am arguing that those leaders get a significant time advantage that gets exponentially worse as you go back through the field. With the slowness through the W’s then that stuff near the summit, I can see a huge advantage to being as far forward as you can be. Even sacrificing your return a bit in order to get better position on the ascent. Oh well. I think I knew that from before, but didn’t adhere to my advice.
It started raining when I hit Barr Camp on the way back. It was welcomed. Cooled things out. It only got a little sloppy in the W’s with the trench filling with water but it was manageable. I was really having fun on the downhill by this point. I wasn’t running super fast but I was holding and I kept picking off a person in front of me every minute or so. I don’t get to “hunt” often so it was good motivation and made the miles melt away back into town. Finally, hit the pavement of Hydro Street and just kept ripping it. Was sub-7 pace for a bit. People were blowing up but I just saw more positions to eat up. I ran hard to the line. I probably couldn’t have held up another block. Cross the line and was glad to be done. But really wasn’t too worn out. If I hadn’t run that last few miles so hard, I probably could have just continued on ultra-style.
Post race, I was sitting in the tent trying to cool down a bit when I bus ran into the side of the medical tent. It took out the guard rail and whole side of the tent. The cops all rushed in as they made most of us evacuate the tent. Seemed crazy to run up and down a big mountain only to be nearly killed sitting in the medical tent. I went outside and notice this car wash where they had setup showers out of PVC pipe. It was glorious. I stood there in fresh cold water until I shivered. It was the best post race cool down ever.
Such a pretty run but I didn’t take a camera today. Sorry. A few pictures of me on the race photographer site over here.
All in all, seemed like a good training run. Ultra pace all day. Legs felt great. Breathing was eh, but I took no inhaler or drugs. Stomach in tact. Really nothing to complain about. Was recovered enough by the time I got home to head to a rock show and stand on my feet for 3 hours. That’s hard-core.
On the way into Leadville on highway 91, this establishment, Top of the Rockies, offers snowmobiling in the winter. A few summers ago, they built a zip line ride as well. I figured they saw my zip line creation and were trying to give me competition. Bring it!
Kim decided enough was enough and booked us on a tour there. Turns out that guy has me beat. Drat. You take a truck up to the top of the mountain then ride down 6 consecutive zips back down the mountain. Pretty cool! The kids said it was amazing. Like they were really thrilled by the whole thing. The zips are long but they go by so quick! The final one goes up to 40 MPH.
If you are a little hesitant, there isn’t much to fear here. The crew locks you on and off each zip. Your job is to basically sit and ride. Fun adventure to share with the family!
Here is a video of pretty much all the rides for the day. Each filmed by the first rider of our group, then subsequent riders filmed by the first.