Stage 6 Report

Vail-Beaver Creek

23.6 miles/5000 ft climbing
A perfect ending to an amazing week

There’s no easy way for runners to get a coveted TransRockies Run finisher’s shirt, in fact it’s traditional that the leftover finisher shirts from are destroyed each year so that they’re only given out to those who crossed the finish line. The last Stage of the TransRockies Run has always been a tough day of running and, in 2011, the route got a little tougher and more spectacular due to a course change necessitated by the USA Pro Cycling Challenge which started in downtown Avon around the time TransRockies runners traditionally through town to the base of the final climb up to Beaver Creek.

While the run was tougher, runners were effusive in their praise of the new course which brought them up and over the east shoulder of Beaver Creek Mountain on some of the resort’s system of singletrack and down into the Village to finish at the main lift. A superb way to end six fantastic days in the Rockies. The weather cooperated serving up a light cloud cover which kept temperatures down and runners comfortable on a another long day on the trails.
While it was never stated, during the week, both members of the leading Run Flagstaff Team were back at the GORE-TEX™ TransRockies Run in search of some redemption. Mike Smith won the 2009 TransRockies Run with teammate Robert Krar but was unable to really enjoy the experience as he broke fingers on the last stage while Krar was being treated for severe cramps and muscle damage after the event. Wolfe was leading the Open Mixed division in 2009 when his teammate was forced to withdraw due to a death in her family.

With the win in their grasp, Run Flagstaff were in no mood to cruise to the finish and they set a blistering pace on the first climb for the third straight day and dropped the other teams one by one until they were running by themselves winning in a time of 3:10:59, exactly six minutes ahead of Team Bend (Max King/Ryan Bak) who were second on the day and second overall. The British Salomon pair of Tom Owens and Ricky Lightfoot came in 30 seconds later to wrap up their third overall place.

The Open Mixed and Open Women’s Divisions saw high drama as the surging third placed overall teams in both categories put in huge final day efforts as the second placed teams struggled to the finish. In the end, one team held on and one succumbed with gaps of less than 20 seconds after six days of racing.

The Open Mixed Division had been dominated by Ricky Gates and Anna Frost of Team Salomon, who put an exclamation point on their race by finishing 4th overall on the day behind only the top 3 Open Men’s teams. Behind them the third-placed Team Red Fern (Amy and Greg Friedman) were eating into the 2:04 gap that Zach Violett and Stephanie Howe (Team GORE/We Might Be Crazy) held after Stage 5. and as Amy and Greg crossed the line the clock began ticking. Team GORE appeared at the top of the hill and pushed down toward the line but 2:04 came and went and Red Fern slipped into second place overall for the first time on the last day.

The story was similar in the Open Women’s Divison where the winning Team Trail Runner (Cynthia and Ashley Arnold) secured a clean sweep of the stages while behind them a battle raged between second-placed Team Arc’teryx (Amy Golumbia/Rosemarie Gerspacher) and third-placed Team Flagstaff (Jennifer McCarthy/Brianna Torres). In this case, there was a nearly 16 minute gap which was down to 17 seconds by the time Team Arc’teryx crossed the line, surprised to hold onto second place overall after a hard day on the trails.

The 80+ Division results were more stable with three leading teams expanding their leads with last day wins. The Caba-Nators, Jeff and Katie Caba ran to a clean sweep of the Stages in the 80+ Mixed Division on their way to the overall win. Likewise Nikki Kimball and Tracy Garneau (The North Face Betties) did the same in the 80+ Women’s Division and the Quebecois pair of Christian Vachon and Joel St. Louis (Le Coureur/Merrell) won stage 6 and the overall in the 80+ Men’s Division

As the closing party went on and runners were safely in the banquet hall, the skies finally opened and a high mountain thunderstorm pounded down on Beaver Creek. But inside, the story telling after another epic year in the mountains had begun and registration had opened for the next chance to take on the Run of a Lifetime in 2012.

For full registration details for the 2012 TransRockies Run, click HERE.

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