My upcoming race at Western States has a service requirement. Ugh. So months ago I set out to find an opportunity that would be a good fit for me. The choices given are either supporting a running event or doing trail work. Trail work seemed obviously but there aren’t a lot of opportunities for it in the spring and I have to have my service complete by May 12th. So I poked around and found out about this race through Simon, who was timing the race as Colorado’s premier race timing company.
I emailed the race director and told her I would like to volunteer. I harassed her for the next few months about the gig. If I don’t get this service done, no Western States for me. Ahhh! Anyway, she graciously put me on as aid station 2 captain. What? Captain! That sounded important. I signed up for the all day shift and prepared to come help runner achieve their dreams of 25K or 50K.
Woke up at 4 AM and made the drive down to Colorado Springs. Was at the start by 6 AM. It was cold out. Its one thing when you are running but when you are standing around, it gets chilly. I had my TNF down jacket on with hat and gloves and pants. Brrr. It was a bit breezy all day which was kind of annoying. But the day warmed up enough. I got my aid station all setup in no time and then started getting anal about the configuration of the table. Which direction would I stack things to grab them best? How much should we have out to start? Little things bothered me like we had the Heed drink next to the water. Both are mostly clear. Which is which? Harder to tell if you are running through. So I swapped positions with the Coke so it was easier to tell. Found out we were not provided any salt (other than chips and stuff) so I went to the car and got a bottle of S-Caps to distribute. No runners were going to lack at my station!
My station was in at mile 8 on the course which happened to be close to the start/finish. So I ran over to the start to see all the runners off. Talked to Koop, Burch, Hornsby, Wooten, Rickey, and others and wished them luck. I sort of wished I was running since the field was small and light but I was also excited to see how it is in the “other side”. And they are off! (L: Wyatt, C: Burch, R: Koop)
1/4 mile and the gap is there already. There was money on the line here today but I guess not enough to draw more names out. Collegiate Peaks was at the same time today and a lot of folks went over there for the 50 mile option.
Burch and Koop were neck and neck all day. They would come into the aid station in a tear and give us a good run for our money. I tried my best to anticipate their needs. Burch was filling a bottle so we had 1 guy always stationed with a pitcher to fill him. Koop was waterless and was grabbing cups in both hands. We would see runners 4 times on the day so we had a good feel for what they needed on the return trips.
The 2 leaders threw a big gap on the field. It was probably 20 minutes or so until Wyatt came through. But that meant he had no pressure to run faster to the front. He just had to watch the back.
Here comes Carson! Carson and I ran together at some of the Front Range Fat Ass events this year. Glad to see him out there!
Here comes Ed Baxter! Ed completed the first ever Inclinathon a few weeks ago. That’s a 26,000 vertical foot marathon. Damn.
Here comes Koop again. He was viciously drinking that water as he came through. I thought he would eat the cups.
Wyatt came through again but stayed for a sec to get fluids in.
I had a dozen of random folks come introduce themselves to me. “Brandon of Leadville? What are you doing here?” Fun to be out mingling and supporting. Totally a different crowd though. These were a lot of aspiring ultra runners. Trying that 25K distance as a jump from road 1/2s. I remember when. It was fun to chat about running. But sometimes you get a reality check as I heard, “Hey, Brandon Fuller!” With a smile, I turned. The runner proceeds to yell out, “You suck!”. JT’s henchmen would not let my presence in his backyard go unnoticed. Oddly, he was up in Boulder today. Coward.
Anyway, I had to stay on my toes. Leaders came back by only a mile from the finish. Burch had just enough jump on Koop and took the win. He looked strong. Not sure that I could have held pace from the aid station to the finish along side of him. Koop came by seconds later. Always so close on the day.
We manned our aid station and watched all but about 4 runners come back through. I was tired after the long day so I wrapped up, tore down, and got on my way back home. I stopped by JT’s house and found him hiding from me up on his roof!
On the drive back home as I headed out of Colorado Springs, traffic was all jammed up. The speed limit went to 75 and this right lane was added so there were now 3 lanes. So I went to the right and started driving the speed limit of 75 and I was passing this huge herd of cars who were still at 65 bumper to bumper. Some truck pulled over into my lane had made me slow way down. Then he got back over. Next thing I know, I get pulled over by an unmarked cop car. What’s the problem? I know I was going the speed limit I told him. You were passing on the right he tells me. That is apparently illegal. And I was following that truck that pulled in front of me too closely. I proceeded to give this guy a lecture on how the law actually reads that slower traffic needs to move right and they were not. They were driving under the speed limit as well. Why not pull them over? How can you give me a ticket for passing at a lawful speed? On the right? Am I not free to drive the speed limit in that lane too? What’s the speed limit in the left lane vs. the right lane? Oh, 75. How fast as I going? 75, he tells me. He proceeds to then ask me about the truck. Explained that he pulled out in front of me and I avoided an accident. I wasn’t tailgating him. Merely slowing and recovering. I know how to drive on someone’s ass and I wasn’t doing it. He left and and returned with a knocked down citation of “Following too closely”. Really? The other passing on the right thing was portrayed to be a major deal and this was more minor. So I bit my lip and took it. Felt ripped off after a day of honest volunteering to be pulled over and arbitrarily dealt a citation. And I won’t go argue it in El Paso County Court since it would cost me the ticket in gas to return.
Oh well, my service form is signed and in the mail. I paid my money, won the lottery, and did my service. Next up — run the most famous ultra in the land!
View all photos from this event.
UPDATE: Pikes Peak Sports had a few shots of me working hard!
Supervising the carb intake…
Seeing what Wyatt needs…
Filling up Burch…
Feverishly tweeting results to the zero people following the #cmtr hashtag…