Transrockies Run Stage 1–Buena Vista to Railroad Bridge Campground

Total distance :: 20 miles, 2437 ft.
Climbing :: 2721 ft.

TRR Profile113 miles, 20,000+ ft. elevation gain. Let’s get started!

Start LineNervous excitement and anticipation at the start line was palpable.  The race started promptly at 10:00 am.  Kevin and I could not have been happier to get going after laying around doing nothing in Buena Vista for 36 hours.  Our hope was that our 2-night stay had helped us acclimate.

The lead runners were out of sight within seconds.   It seemed nearly everyone else needed the first few miles to learn how to breathe…or breathe less, and find our footing on what would be an extremely sandy 21-mile run.  It was about seven miles to the first aid station and the bulk of the climbing was in the first section.  The entire run was exposed and with a late start time, the heat quickly became a factor.  Did I mention it is hard to breathe above 8000 ft. while running?

There was lots of joking around and getting to know people in the first stretch up the mountain.  By the time we reached the first aid station, just about everyone was spent, including me.  Kevin pulled out his IT band strap and I made a mental note.  He never pulls it out that early in the run.  It’s usually in the latter stages of a long trail run to help prevent onset of an injury.

The next six miles were downhills mixed with energy sapping short climbs that left me out of breath.  We hit the halfway point (10 miles) in exactly two hours, much faster than we intended.  Then miles 11 – 14 turned into a hot, dusty, undulating trail that never seemed to end.  Several of us pulled under what little shade we could find just to try and recover before continuing.  When we left the second aid station at mile 14.5, I could tell Kevin was having trouble.  His adducter muscle in his right leg was causing a lot of discomfort.  We quickly agreed not to push it any harder than necessary.  It’s only Stage 1 and we have a long way to go. 

TunnelKevin had to walk it in for the last five miles but the pain subsided.  He kept a brisk walk while I matched his stride with a slow jog, but keeping a 14-min. pace after 20 miles at 8500 ft. is not an easy task.  The impact of an injury in a team event is different from a solo race.  It doesn’t matter who is injured–it stops both team members–and we will need to figure out a solution as a team.  We crossed the line in 4 hours, 47 minutes and took the next shuttle to our campground.  It took another hour to get through a warm shower, an outstanding 30-min. massage, and a cheeseburger, after which I felt great.

It’s becoming clearer each day that just about everyone here has run a stage race in Tibet, Europe, S. Africa, or any number of fantastic locations, holds an unbreakable record, is a race director for some very cool event, is sponsored by a well known mountain brand, or won a marathon in the Himalayas.  Kevin and I are ready to invent sponsors of our own.  We are supremely impressed with the caliber of runners that have assembled in Colorado and feeling like we can hold our own.  We are in 84th place overall out of 133 teams.  If we could have run the last five miles, we’re fairly confident we could have finished around 60th position today.  The Transrockies organization is absolutely first class.  And we continue to be inundated with more cool schwag–Salomon recovery shoes, coffee mugs, mittens (yes, mittens).

Tomorrow is going to be tough.  We’ll need to see how Kevin’s leg feels in the morning.  We climb to Hope Pass at 12,600 ft. at 25% grade for three miles.  I’m out of breath just thinking about it.

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5 Responses

  1. LOVIN’ the updates!!!

  2. well, I guess training to get there was one thing, now getting thou Kevin’s injury is another lesson but one you had not intended or have much experience in. I wish you both well and hope your not being devirted from the experience of running in such a difficult enviro. Lynn, the posts are great, thank you and I hope you can keep it together to experience it all.

  3. Hey Lynn,
    Matt from GORE-TEX….all the best to you and Kevin. Hang in there and make sure you guys extract the most from all that this event has to offer!! You guys are hard-asses and I know you will work it all out over the next few days. Looking forward to heearing more about your experience and how the Roclite Gore-Tex shoes are working for you.
    Best,
    Matt

  4. I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  5. […] Transrockies Run Stage 1 — Buena Vista to Railroad Bridge Campground […]

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