When considering participating in the TransRockies Run, one of the greatest concerns runners express is in regards to elevation. Stage 2, from Vicksburg to Twin Lakes, always provides one of the biggest challenges of the week with a total of 3400 feet of elevation gain, topping out at 12,001 feet, over 13.2 miles. A bumpy ride to Vicksburg on Colorado’s finest rafting buses brought the runners to the start line. At 8:30 am the starting gun sounded and, after a short 1.7 mile warm up on gravel road, the Trail Striders were fed onto singletrack trail leading to Hope Pass some 2500 feet above.
The climb to the summit of Hope Pass is one of the most difficult and rewarding ascents of the week. The initial burning in the lower legs quickly gives way to constricted lungs and heightened heart rate as the air begins to thin. Fortunately, there is plenty of distraction in the form of switchbacks, loose rock and boulders. Of course, the greatest distraction is the surroundings. Sixteen hundred feet into the climb, at 11,000 feet, the forest began to clear and open up into the sub-alpine. While the trail remained narrow, the views widened until the summit became visible.
There are things you expect to see at the summit of Hope Pass. At 12001 feet, spectacular views would be one. Ear-to-ear smiles would be another. A runner sprinting to the top and stripping off all his clothes, with the exception of his running bib, would not likely be something you would expect to encounter. Only a handful were ‘fortunate’ enough to witness this event and will most certainly remember it for years to come. The name of said streaker will not be disclosed in order to protect the not-so-innocent.
From Hope Pass a 3000 foot descent followed through lush forest to Twin Lakes below. Technical singletrack kept the runners focused on the rocky terrain before connecting with the rolling trail on the shores of the lakes. A run through abandoned vacation village, Inter-Laken, and along the Colorado Trail lead the runners to the finish.
While most Trail Striders join us for the unmatched experience of running the Colorado wilds, others are here to race! Familiar faces remained at the top of the podium in the RUN6 Team event with a host of teams going 2-for-2 for the week. Men’s Open duo Michael Smith and Rob Krar, of team Run Flagstaff, clocked in at 1:56:23. Melanie Bos and Stacey Cleveland, of team The North Face Ladies, would cross the line in 2:34:37 and Steve and Rachel Ramirez topped the Open Mixed class in 2:49:46. Congratulations to 80+ Men’s team Stefan Fromme and Marcus Biehl (Gore Running) for their 2:22:54 stage win along with team Will Race for Cookies, Cameron Widoff and Kerrie Wlad in the 80+ Mixed (2:18:51).
The only shake up in the RUN6 Team standings came in the 80+ Ladies division. The team of Kim Kortz and Megan Anderson were able to supplant team Two InknBurn Badass Mommas, Skye Colclough and Ann Ongena, atop the podium. In a hard fought win, Kim and Megan came out on top by the slimmest of margins in 3:16:35.9 to 3:16:37.7. However, the InknBurn Badass Mommas retain their overall lead by a comfortable 22 minutes.
The RUN3 and RUN6 solo events saw somewhat more action at the top. RUN6 Women’s leader Sara Wagner captured her second stage win, holding off Nadyia Fry, in a time of 2:19:00 to 2:20:51. After a dominant RUN6 Men’s Stage 1 victory, Mike Chandler moved to second place behind Ian Perriman who took the stage in 2:35:15. Chandler retains his overall lead by twenty-nine minutes and 26 seconds.
Chessa Adsit-Morris turned in a strong performance improving upon her RUN3 Women’s Stage 1 third place finish. She would win the stage and take the overall lead with a Stage 3 time of 2:23:44. Fujio Miyachi continued his RUN3 Men’s winning streak in a time of 2:12:21.
Stage 3 of 2013 TransRockies RUN6 and RUN3 delivers the athletes from Leadville, over a rolling 24 miles, to Nova Guides Camp. This stage is highlighted by a crossing of the Continental Divide at Tennessee Pass and a run down the Colorado Trail. With an average elevation of over 10,000 feet and 2700 feet of climbing, Stage 3 sure to please.