The 5th morning of the TransRockies Run is generally on the quietside. With four days of running in their legs, our Trail Striders begin to feel physically and mentally weary. The weariness is amplified for those who had one too many Mango’s margaritas the previous day. Fortunately, Stage 5 kicked off with a little adrenaline rush courtesy of Red Cliff local, Black Cat. Not too many runners start off their day to the firing of live pistol rounds.
One thing we like to do at the TransRockies Run is send our runners up. Up singletrack, up jeep trail, up, up, up. Really, you have to go up if you want to see the world in a way that few ever will. Going up on foot means you earn the right to enjoy the view just a little more. So why not start the day off with a with an 8 mile climb, covering 2500 vertical feet of elevation gain, to Checkpoint 1? Unlike the previous day, this climb was far more gradual and less taxing. Good thing, with an additional 1500 feet of climbing, and 15 miles to go, the day would be a long one.
From Checkpoint 1, the first singletrack climb of the day began. A beautiful section of trail, Bowman’s Shortcut, wound its way to the Top of the World at an elevation of 11,700 feet. Living up to its name, the views were spectacular. After a stop for a few photos, the runners were back on the trail descending several hundred feet down technical terrain and climbing across switchbacks of the China Wall on the Vail Mountain back bowls. At the top, the winding trail led them to a scramble down a rock wall and into Checkpoint 2 at mile 14.
Eight point five miles to go and the light at the end of the tunnel could almost be seen. With 4000 feet of climbing complete, the field dropped into a series of hiking and mountain bike trails that would amount to 3000 feet of vertical descent. While winding their way down the trail, announcer Drew Bragg could be heard far below and many miles away. Finally, the trail delivered the runners into Mountain Plaza in Vail. ONE TOUGH STAGE.
Whether you finished first or last today, a trip across the finish line was well earned. On the elite side of the RUN6 team event, Men’s Open duo Michael Smith and Rob Krar, of team Run Flagstaff, posted their 5th stage win and the fastest time of the day in 3:06:27. Open Women’s team Melanie Bos and Stacey Cleveland (4:00:23), Open Mixed team Steve and Rachel Ramirez (4:38:16), 80+ Men’s team Stefan Fromme and Marcus Biehl (3:50:02) and 80+ Team Cameron Widoff and Kerrie Wlad (3:57:33) also won their 5th consecutive stages. Team Two InknBurn Badass Mommas, Skye Colclough and Ann Ongena, would take their 4th stage win in a time of 4:57:32.
The RUN6 Solo Women’s division has been an interesting race to follow. Sara Wagner claimed three of five stage wins to Nadyia Fry’s two. However, Nadyia delivered victories with an average winning time of fifteen and half minutes to Sara’s ninety-six second average. Nadyia’s clocking of 3:41:35 on the day moved her 31:01 in front for the overall lead. Men’s overall leader Ian Perriman won his fourth of five stages with a time of 4:05:05.
Five stages down and one to go. Tomorrow the final push from Vail to Beaver Creek begins.