Transrockies Run Day 0 — Check In

Mt PrincetonI started my day by watching the sunrise spilling light over Mt. Princeton.  At 14, 197 ft.,  Mount Princeton is one of the 14ers of Colorado (peaks over 14,000 ft.).  It lies in the central part of the Sawatch Range in the San Isabel National Forest.  According to my friend Bob Miller, professor of geology at San Jose State University, Mt. Princeton “is underlain by the largest pluton (body of magma that solidified below Earth’s surface) in the San Juan Mountains.  The San Juans probably represent the largest flare up of volcanism in the contiguous U.S. in the last 50 million years.”  Staring at this majestic landscape rising way above the tree line, I had plenty of time to contemplate what I am about to do.

Today is National Trail Running Day.  Not sure what that really means, but some of the best trail runners in the world started at 4:00 am. today for the Leadville 100.  Wondering if it was stressful at the start.  On Wednesday, a Blackhawk military helicopter crashed near Leadville in a special ops high altitude training exercise, tragically killing four soldiers.  There was talk about diverting the course for the 100-miler but I’m not sure what they did.  I knew Tony Krupicka was trying to break Matt Carpenter’s course record but he dropped out with cramping at mile 75.  At the time of this posting, the race was not yet won.

It’s Not for Wimps
At breakfast in our modest hotel, we met Michelle Barton from Laguna Niguel, CA who is running her third TRR.  Had I asked Kevin who she was before I blurted out, “Should we take our poles?” I would have saved myself an incredulous look from Michelle that said, “Wuss!”  She said in disbelief, “No, you don’t need your poles” but what I heard was, “What kind of sorry excuse of  a trail runner are you to even think about bringing poles!”  In 2006, Michelle won her division and took 4th overall at the Javelina Jundred 100.

Nobody Schwags like TRR!
We arrived at noon for race check-in and found many other runners with the same idea.  The amount of schwag we received was truly impressive–a very high quality Gore Windstopper jacket, tech t-shirt (additional finisher’s t-shirt at the end), Nathan water bottle with carrying case, Timex sports watch, aluminum sigg bottle, Salomon Wings running socks, baseball cap, and assorted food items.  We carried all of this in our new 36″ custom duffel bag imprinted with our race number.  Schweet schwag!

Kevin stopped at the local bookstore and bought me a book to read during downtime–Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer.  Very appropriate and already a captivating read.  Then he showed me the veritable pharmacy he packed for this event.  His stash of medical supplies and prescription drugs could easily be larger than what is on hand with the TRR staff.  If word gets out, Kevin will be a very popular man.

Ready to Rock n Roll!
We finally got our first look at all 266 runners at dinner and the opening ceremonies this evening.  There are runners here from 10 countries and 29 states.  Top runners will be racing for $20,000 in prize money, but to try and spread the wealth, the money will be awarded three to five deep in every category.  The idea is to have 1/3 of the entire field receive some form of cash award.  Between a couple dozen sponsored teams and numerous elite runners, Kevin and I still have a better shot at winning the “middle of the pack” award.  Whichever team finishes in the middle of the pack each day wins a new pair of Salomon trail shoes.

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  1. […] Transrockies Run Day 0 — Check In […]

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