Well, after a difficult first day of running, Stage 2 of the Gore-Tex TransRockies brought our moral up with good teamwork and steady running.
It poured most of the night, continuing late into the morning, leaving a good 3-4cms of wet snow at the top of the mountains– as we sat drinking coffee this morning, we watched sheets of rain falling from the sky…the boys and I unanimously agreed that renting our trailer was probably the best decision we had made all week! Unfortunately, the thunder/lightning combo forced a race delay because Vail Mountain Resort was not allowed to open the Gondola until this threat had subsided. The hour delay and potential for further lightning later in the afternoon also resulted in a course change that cut out the latter part of the race. This meant our course would be shortened to 20miles, instead of 26. Considering Dom’s calf issues yesterday, this was a good thing for us.
So off we went for stage 2, slow and steady…settling into a good pace as we climbed up beyond 11,700ft! After yesterday’s stage, we decided to go with a tow system (2-metre rope) that would allow me to pull Dom on climbs and maintain a better pace. As it turned out, we used the system the entire way and definitely proved to be beneficial. Our ‘start slow – finish strong’ philosophy worked out perfectly today as we gradually chipped away at the teams one by one.
Today’s course was fantastic! The entire climb was a good mix of fire roads and classic mountain single track. As we passed the tree line, the Colorado Rockies filled the horizon, a spectacular site made even better with the white peaks. After climbing for a good 2 hours, the terrain turned downwards into some fun technical descending on muddy and slushy tracks. We eventually popped out onto a gravel road that would lead us to the revised finish line in Redcliff – 15km away.
This is where the tow system paid dividends as we worked together all the way to the finish. We managed to pass 2 more teams within 2km of the line finishing in 3hr04min and placing 3rd overall! The Skagg brothers took the win once again about 25min up on us. And the Gortex Vortex repeated their 2nd place, with about 7 ½ min on us. We maintain a slim lead over Salomon's 'Wings of Glory' (1.5min).
In the end, not a bad day – We’re still on the podium and hoping to start closing the time gaps tomorrow. After today’s course revision, tomorrow will be the first of 2 long days, covering almost a marathon (42km) to Leadville, CO.
Stage 3 Details
Max Elevation: 10,800ft
Min Elevation: 9,200ft
I’m feeling good – and ready to pull hard for the team!