The month of July consisted of two separate trips to the San Juan’s. The first being to “race”, the second was to run around Silverton during the weekend of Hardrock.
San Juan Solstice –
I found out I got into this race about a week and a half before the event. Needless to say I wasn’t at all prepared for that sort of elevation and climbing, but after some encouragement from Breein, I realized that there was no reason to pass up the opportunity. This was my first race post HUMR and HUMR Ultra team. I willingly removed myself from both. So, in a way, it was my choice. The group evolved into something I wasn’t able to be apart of. Circumstances surrounding my personal life made that glaringly clear. The social aspect trumped the running aspect, so in the spirit of self preservation, I was done. It was the right decision to remove myself and running unattached after almost three years felt oddly satisfying. Anonymity is something I enjoy. This race and the events surrounding my running provided that.
Breein and I made it to Lake City at some point on Friday. It was my first experience in Lake City and it did not disappoint. Much better than Silverton in my opinion… Smaller, fewer tourists.
We got checked in for the next day. A restaurant was found. I stole a table from a meandering runner. Food and wine was consumed and ultra runner hipster watching ensued.
****** Ultra Runner Hipster Tangent ******
While eating dinner I started to realize that I needed to change my attire for any future races. I enjoy wearing flannel. Maybe this is due to my love of Pearl Jam. I know I’m a little too young for the early days of Ten, Vs., and Vitalogy, but I feel like my 13 year fan club membership earns me the right to wear flannel in any social situation. In any event, all the “younger” ultra runners were wearing flannel and trucker hats. Thankfully, I don’t wear trucker hats. I also didn’t see anyone in corduroy, so I’m not totally screwed. If I can’t wear flannel for fear of being mistaken for an ultra runner hipster, four of the eight shirts I own are out the window.
****** Ultra Runner Hipster Tangent ******
After the hipster conversation slowed, we got the hell out of there. I’m not sure if you need to be baptized to become a hipster, but I feel like I was going to be propositioned if we stayed too much longer.
Overall the race went well(ish). The snow levels were high on the course and the stream crossings were deep. Ropes were used to cross them and were greatly appreciated by the height impaired. Oh, and it was super hot.
I recall the pace out of the gate being too fast for me. My legs didn’t wake up until about the 10th ice cold stream crossing few miles later. I moved fairly well at the beginning on the climbs. My climbing legs wouldn’t last, but I still had a lot of fun doing what I love most, hiking.
There were multiple points on the course that Breein was able to meet me on. This was very much appreciated as I eventually got a bit worked over from a combination of heat and altitude. Breein commented on the fact that I rolled into aid stations looking a lot better than most. I guess that was a good thing. The second big climb was around mile 22 or so. At this point I was pretty dizzy and had to slow it down. Some miles later was my first puking episode on the downhill. The second was around mile 43 when a bug flew down my throat. The vomiting on that one was violent, but perfectly timed, right before an aid station. My pace was getting dictated by factors other than my legs, but that was okay by me.
Despite not having the perfect day, I couldn’t keep from smiling throughout. The San Juan’s (in my opinion) are the only mountains I’ve been in that even remotely compare to the beauty of the Dolomites. The Dolomites win, hands down, but both just need to be enjoyed no matter the circumstance. These 50 miles were appreciated. The course is incredible and is easily the most beautiful I’ve ever had the privilege of racing. With any luck, we’ll be back next year.
Hardrock Spectating –
The second San Juan installment came two weeks later in Silverton. After discussions with the Farka’s, Silverton was settled on as base camp. More specifically, the campsites around Molas Lake. We arrived late on Thursday night. The Farka’s had arrived with some sort of camper a few days prior.
The only actual Hardrock spectating we did was making it to the start. Breein and I got to town 15 minutes prior, watched friends start up the street and headed back to camp. In all reality, this wasn’t about Hardrock spectating or supporting, it was about being in the San Juan’s ourselves.
Run #1 was Friday with Debbie on the Hardrock course. We went up to Island Lake and to the top of Grant Swamp Pass.
After the run on Friday, Debbie decided to pace Tom Remkes. Breein, Lane and I took it easy around camp.
For the next two days our runs consisted of adventures from Molas Lake. We went both directions on the Colorado Trail and avoided the “congestion” around the race itself. We saw a train. We saw Kilian at a grocery store. We scoped out camping sites for next year. Photographic evidence is below.