It’s 9:24pm and raining steadily outside. The boys (Chris and Dom) are already wrapped up in their sleeping bags at the back of the trailer. Despite the fact that this was the shortest stage distance wise, it’s been a long day.
Yesterday afternoon, Dom went for a short run to stretch the legs – and pulled his calf muscle – out of the blue. Chris worked on it immediately and tried to loosing the sore tissue as best as possible but at this stage, there was little he could do…I crossed my fingers and hoped for a quick recovery.
After a good nights rest, we packed up the trailer and proceeded to the start line for Stage 1. Dom and I were both super psyched to get going and be part of the inaugural Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. 60+ teams from all over the world lined up at Beaver Creek Resort, for a 15mile trek to Vail’s Eagle Nest, where we would finish atop the Gondola station.
I didn’t warm-up tons but felt great. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time – muscularly, my joints and tendons are feeling good and having Chris around to work on us every night has been great…Dom was a bit nervous about his calf but was confident he could keep pushing despite the pain. Off we went-
Our pace of the start was relatively slow, as much as I wanted to chase the leaders off the gun, I stayed tucked behind Dom’s shoulder, letting him set the early pace. As predicted, many teams blasted off the start, rushing to get out in front but faded just as quickly. After the first climb up one of Beaver Creek’s runs, we were running about 8th or so. The course turned downwards (too early for my liking) and eventually popped out on highway 6 for a 10km run on pavement. This is where the trouble started…
Running on pavement has never been high on my list of thing to do because of the constant pounding. I was able to hold my own, but the pounding quickly got to Dom’s calf and within a few kms his stride length diminished considerably – bringing our pace to crawl. I did my best to pace him, keeping the moral up with a constant ‘positive talk’ chatter, but the pain was such that Dom had to stop and walk on multiple occasions to stretch. Although we did lose a position and some time to the leaders, we were surprised to hear that we had only conceded 15min to the leaders at the 20km mark. With only 5km of uphill to go, we remained optimistic as climbing was our specialty!
However, early in the climb, Dom started feeling the effects of his battered calf and fatigue overtook his body. I think the only thing that kept him going was my constant harassment and the threat of leaving him there…(kidding of course). Honestly, it’s not an easy position to be in when your teammate is down as the psychological battles in your mind is always firing. Regardless, I kept encouraging him and continued to pace him up the climb and eventually we even started catching fading teams. As we came up on the 3,000m altitude mark, I rigged a towing system and pushed the pace even more which resulted in catching another few teams within 400m of the line. In the end, we finished 35min back of the leaders – Skagg brothers – and 6th overall with many teams all around us. The fight isn’t over…tomorrow is the longest (and hardest) stage of the race, and anything can happen!
Stage 2 Details
Max Elevation: 11,710ft
Min Elevation: 9,000ft
Chew on those stats…see you tomorrow.