Friday, August 23, 2013

Pacing Leadville

almost forgot how to log into my blog - pacing Leadville, man, everyone is bitching about this race.  So first off, I had an outstanding time pacing & being at the race.  I feel fortunate that I was able to be out there & contribute to a couple folks races & man do I love the mountains.  I want to go play up there again & I really want to try another 100.

Here's my experiences during the race - first off, I slept in, highly recommend this.  Slept until about 9:30, drove down to Twin Lakes, had a wonderful morning.  No 2am bullshit for this guy, let the crew crew & the pacers pace.  Twin Lakes was awesome, parked a couple miles away, jogged in, got my racers crew all set up, etc.  By the time I left Twin Lakes it was apparent my racer was most likely not going to make cut-offs & would have a shortened race due to a badly sprained left ankle.  Man, that is bad news & I know injury at Leadville firsthand that is for sure.

I walked a mile out of Twin Lakes then hitch-hiked with 2 awesome folks going to meet their racer.  Winfield was a mess to get into so I hopped out & jogged in about 3-4 miles, no big deal.  Winfield was a mess, no communication in or out, the race told me, "I don't even know when or if racers are coming through here, so there is no way I would know if someone did or did not make a cut-off".  Fair enough, it was chaos; I'm not sure how to expect otherwise with a race that let 1100 people sign up?

I decided to help another runner up Hope Pass & see if I could find my guy up on the mountain somewhere.  So I found Chase bib # 356, an awesome National Guard dude.  We made our way up; I finally saw my racer hobbling around trying to come down, way past cut-off.  Poor dude, so he was out & was going to just slowly make his way down to Winfield & hitch hike to his fam, we continued on.  Small gripe on the climb; folks need to learn trail running etiquette - when you're the runner further behind in the race defer to the racer ahead.  If everyone does that you'll be afforded the courtesy you had extended to those in front of you.  Seemed like many first timers did not get this; poor dude I was pacing was getting irritated, but hey, he was hiking Hope Pass after having ran 50 miles to get there, could you blame him?

Twin Lakes was an outstanding scene, folks everywhere - carnage, crying folks, passed out folks, vomiting - awesome scene.  Bad thing - people have not heard of leave no trace, garbage for a mile or two up out of Twin Lakes.  WTF, isn't leave no trace just a basic trail running principle?  I'm a city person & I even know that.  I muled my racers garbage throughout the 2nd half of the race & picked up  a little.  But please people, pick up the garbage, especially in such a beautiful area, why the littering?

Coming out of Half Pipe - tons of littering, noodles everywhere, no gels already, you could tell that the far back folks would be visiting a depleted AS' but honestly, everyone had a million crew folks so why should they care?  Additionally they were very busy littering.  But regardless, such a cool scene coming out of there at night & then stretch where the crews are coming out of Half Pipe was just outsanding.  Streams of headlamps as you make your way near Fish Hatchery.  They need to limit cars though; just cars flying through, disturbing the scene, not moving much, etc.  No need for so much crew; lets use drop bags & enjoy the time out there on the course -

Fish was another mad scene - couldn't figure out even what was up here, must've been around 1am or so & it was getting wild.  Pretty good supplies still at this point & great volunteers, throughout the whole thing really.  But again, powerline climb - tons of littering.  WTF, just outrageous; it was like being in Chicago with all the trash.  Not sure what these folks were thinking, we're not cyclists are we?  Just trash everywhere from that point on really.  The climb at night is outstanding though, we had a really strong group too.  Me & a female pacer pretty much hooked this team up behind us & destroyed that section - my new runner Jeff was just a f*cking beast from Fish Hatchery on in, in fact so much that he ended up dropping me by the boat ramp.

While I am an advocate of limiting crews; it hurt me, I didn't have my stuff & didn't take care of myself while I should.  I bonked out at about the boat ramp & couldn't keep up, so I just hitch hiked out of there to take care of myself.  May Queen AS was incredible - unbelieveable volunteers, so great.  Awesome awesome people, but mixed in some litterrerers.  End of the day I loved it - glad to help 2 great dudes & both finished with solid times & have reached out since.  I'm no ultra expert so maybe the race needs an overhaul, but my expectations were chaos cause of the amount of people & it was that - if they could scale back on the littering & somehow limit crew that would be great.

If I had to do it again (which I might next year!) I would just have my fam hang out at Twin Lakes & have fun there, use drop bags & use random strangers as pacers & run with folks also running the race.  Here are some photogs





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