Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stage 6: Vail to Beaver Creek Resort

If I was a steak, I would be overcooked-

Today we finished our final stage of the 2009 TransRockies Run - Wow, what a week.

I'm thrilled to have completed the event with Gavin, who turned out to be a fantastic running partner. His calm demeanor, his fitness and patience helped me push through some of the toughest running I've done in a long time. If I hadn't faltered in stage 3 and 4, we coulda, shoulda, woulda placed on the podium but, this is the TRR and anything can happen over 6 days. Regardless, I'm happy that we finished a respectable 4th place on a competitive year, and look forward to coming back again next year, (yes, I'm still hooked) with more rest days under my belt in the 2 weeks leading into the event.

Stage 5 camp in Vail

The last day was a mix of highs and lows...With 6min down to 3rd, it was all of nothing and I psyched myself for a hard day. And it was.

At this point, I was willing to try anything to get my quads to recover - ' Game Ready' use a mix of cold and compression to help the legs recover. A neat concept...sure beats the cold creek soaks!

As soon as the gun blast signaled the start, the Two Joes (Adam and Aaron) set a hard pace up front - I knew right then that they were going for the win (and they did!). Gavin and I held on to the lead pack as long as possible, but we quickly realized that our fatigue level was too high. We eased off and tried to run conservatively, but continued to drop off the pace. From CP1 to CP2 we struggle both physically and mentally. With 1,400m of climbing, this stage hit us hard. There was no talking, no laughing, we were both on damage control - surviving...

At CP2 we took a few feeds of Coke and turned onto a long singletrack descent. Almost instantly we found ourselves revitalized ( or on a sugar rush) and pushed hard to make up some time. The downhill was crazy fast, super technical and overgrown with grass - you couldn't see the trail because of the high grass and had to hope no obstacles lay where your foot would land. I knew the section from the previous year and took the lead. Halfway down we caught and passed a team like they were standing still - a good feeling - we were cruising...

The track popped us out in Avon - We cruised through town and started the final climb up to Beaver Creek Resort. As we arrived upon CP3, I missed the curb, tripped and crashed hard on my right side...Gavin commented: "We just screamed down one of the most technical descents of the course and you crash on flat pavement??". I popped 3 Advils, chugged 4 Cokes and off I went. Both Gavin and I had run this last section a week ago so we knew what was left. Maybe it was the anticipation of the finish, or the adrenaline from the crash, but for the first time that day, I finally felt like I had some juice on the climb. With 3km to go, we came up on a very steep switchback section going up a ski run, up top, we spotted Team Salt Stick, the 5th ranked team that had started the day 11min back of us - Spotting them a few minutes up the course meant that we would hold our 4th place - sigh...

The last few kms were a blur, everything started to hurt all of a sudden...knees, toes, hips...we cruised down to the finish and crossed the line...it's over.

Let the recovery begin...

I'm in Denver now, about to board the plane back to YYC. My vision is a bit fuzzy, my feet hurt, my IT bands are irritating my knees, I've got crepitus on my left ankle tendon and that's just my body - Don't event get me started on work...I'm not looking forward to Monday...but that's all OK - why... because I'm smilling. I love TR and I can't wait for next year!

12 comments:

Derrick said...

Congrats on a great race Phil. Sounds like you guys left it all on the course, which is what you want. Enjoy your recovery... and dreams of next year.

Tom Craik said...

Outstanding, Phil! I think you've got me hooked on the idea, even though you're in pain. It's the pain we all secretly covet though, right?

mrC said...

Nice work Phil. You should be proud of your finish in such a competitive group. I enjoyed following along on the TR site. Canadians kicked ass.

Maybe me and Tom can join you down there next year.. ;)

Duncan
p.s. what time of year did you run the Tonquin valley - the one on your blog pic there...?

brendaontheRun said...

Well done Phil!

Phil said...

Thanks for the support everyone - looking forward to seeing you all on the start line next year!
pv

Deb said...

Congrats Phil, you and Gavin did awesome. It was quite the battle in the mens division every day! Will I see you at 5 Peaks in a couple of weeks? I'm supposed to do the enduro but would prefer the half.

Anonymous said...

Those are the most disgusting toes on anyone I've seen who's not a corpse. Eww!! :)

Phil said...

Hey Deb - Yes, I'll be at 5 Peaks...I'm actually working it, but may run if I've got good energy for it. 2 weeks seems almost too soon...but if you have some juice, I'd recommend the half - go for it!

Anonymous: Do you often get to see many corpes? And if so, why would you stare at their toes? That too deserves a big fat Eww!!

Norma Bastidas said...

Phil, Thanks for the great times. Nadia and I had a blast hanging out with you. and for the record I only harassed married men for wine..;-)

Norma

Sunshine Girl said...

Sigh! Nice work out there buddy. It's about time you found a partner that was as speedy as you!

rak said...

great job out there...i won't forget you guys blowing past us stage two on that downhill, i need to learn me some of them skills for next year!

great blog and recaps of the stages, it's exciting to hear different perspectives of the race and reminisce a little.

take care,

rob

Bryon Howard said...

Nice work Phil.