Transrockies Run Stage 2–Vicksburg to Twin Lakes

Total distance :: 10 miles, 2437 ft.
Climbing :: 3097 ft.

Today we ran the longest ten miles of our life.  Even before we started we knew it would be a run we will never forget.  We were shuttled by buses from our campground about 30 minutes deep into the mountains.  I watched my altimeter reach 9600 ft. before the bus finally stopped at the start of today’s stage.  We had a 40-min. wait before the official start.  That gave us time to chat with Nadia Larsson and Norma Bastidas of Team Crash n Burn from Calgary Canada, who we had met at dinner the night before.  Norma just completed running what she calls the 777 Run For Sight — 7 ultramarathons in 7 months on 7 continents.  She did it to raise funds for the blind and visually impaired as she cares for a son who is losing his sight.  She talked about her trials on the Gobi March and running an ultra in Antarctica and left us wanting to know more.  Her next challenge–climbing the 7 highest peaks on 7 continents in 12 months (yes, including Everest).  Check out her web site at www.normabastidas.com.  What an inspiration!

With a few minutes to spare before the start of Stage 2, I asked my team captain for some advice:

Kevin and I had decided to walk the first two miles due to his injury.  He told me his injury is basically a torn muscle.  He can walk at a brisk pace but just can’t bear any weight on it, so he can’t run.  When we reached the start of the climb to Hope Pass there weren’t too many teams behind us.  We’re not used to running in the back of the pack but today there was no choice.  After a quick drink at the aid station, we started making our way up the mountain, trekking poles fully deployed.  We were following yellow ribbons to mark the course but the trail was still marked with pink ribbons from the Leadville 100 which just finished two days ago.  It was a stark reminder that we are running one of the most difficult courses in the country.

Climbing to Hope PassView at 11,400 ft. climbing to Hope Pass.

We were averaging 2 mph on the climb but Kevin was able to climb faster than me.  I kept a slow, deliberate pace.  I didn’t want to find myself puking, seeing double, or falling off the side of the mountain in a dizzy spell.  I wanted to enjoy this stage.  At 11,600 ft., I actually felt a second wind, but with another 1000 ft. to go, I wasn’t getting too excited.  Every time I glanced ahead, it seemed someone was taking a break with their hands on their knees, probably trying to avoid puking.  The final 2000 ft. is a series of switchbacks.  You can see almost the entire distance from any vantage point.  It’s quite the scene to see a long line of people pushing themselves to their limits. 

Hope PassTwo hours after the start of the stage, we finally reached Hope Pass.  We had passed the tree line at around 12,400 ft. so the scenery abruptly changed.  Everything suddenly looks like Mars.  We stopped long enough just to snap a photo.  The temperature had dipped into the 30s at the summit and Kevin was eager to get to a warmer place.  Descending Hope PassWe started our descent but as we expected, Kevin was unable to run.  It took us another two hours to get down the mountain, finishing in 4 hrs. 2 mins.  We don’t want to be disappointed so we’re not even checking the results tonight.  Frankly, we’re just glad to have finished the stage.

The best part of our plan for the day was Kevin’s foresight to book a hotel room for us in Leadville.  It had started raining about 90 mins. from the finish and it kept raining as we were shuttled to Leadville.  The tent city where everyone sleeps was soaked.  We’re at a Super 8 Motel where sparse accomodations have never felt so magnificent.

I could not be more impressed with how Kevin is handling his injury.  He is taking dexamethosone (a powerful steroid) and naproxen (NSAID) and I can still see how much he is suffering.  On top of the injury, there is also the gnawing frustration of wanting to run this epic event and simply not being able to do it.  We’re still hoping he miraculously recovers in the next day or two, but we’re staring at a 24-ml. stage tomorrow, most of it between 10,000 – 11,000 ft.  We already did the math.  As long as we average 22-min. miles, we can still finish in under the cutoff time of nine hours.  If I was the one injured, I know I would not want to quit.  Any doctor in the world would tell him to stop, but I know quitting is not an option for Kevin.  I’m learning something about courage from my teammate.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the report. Wow, I will continue to pray for Kevin!! That must be SO tough!! I will pray that he would be healed completely and quckly, and that you would be able to finish STRONG!!

    Be BLESSED!!!

    Jody :>}

  2. Thank you for this wonderful blog, Lynne! I have enjoyed your detailed summary as you and Kevin move on. You probably don’t know me, but Kevin does. Tell him I said to hang in there – we’re pulling for him!!! And you, too!

  3. Lynn,
    thank you for the informative blog.

    Sorry about Kevin’s injury. Hope he
    gets better soon. I guess one must
    hope to make the best of every situation.

    Good luck to you both and enjoy the
    rest of your amazing run!
    sincerely,
    Ramesh

  4. Hang in there guys! Our thoughts & prayers are with you. You are amazing!

  5. I’m checking in at 9:50 p.m. on Tuesday, hoping for an update. Your blog has replaced my favorite Mexican nightly novela!

  6. […] Transrockies Run Stage 2 — Vicksburg to Twin Lakes […]

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