Youth, Photo: KD
Island Lake, approaching 12,700ft, Photo: Silverton 1000
Telluride, Photo: KD
I wasn’t very high in the standings coming in off the descent down Camp Bird Road, a solid 2 hours behind the leaders at Ouray, but my mind was ready for the night. I had envisioned reaching Ouray by 5 PM at the latest, but I left at 5:28 PM. I fueled up and got ready to tackle Bear Creek with my pacer Eli.
In Ouray having sugar with a side of sugar, Photo: John Medinger
Up Bear Creek, Photo: KD
I passed one other runner, and didn’t know it, but on the way to Engineer Pass, Eli and I were beating splits of much better runners ahead of me. As I pushed through the night over Handies, the altitude robbed me of time again, but I moved safely through the freezing windstorm and technical loose rock, and left enough in my legs and lungs for a strong surge to the finish.
Following Jamil into the dark at Grouse, Photo: KD
Sherman A/S, Photo: irunfar.com
Pole Creek A/S, Photo: Chris Price
Clearing the last climb up Little Giants, Photo: KT
The hike up Little-Giants with Katie was incredibly difficult, but I kept the faith that I could salvage a good time if I just kept moving. Finally the pass arrived and I half celebrated knowing I still had a 3700ft descent to absorb and a traverse paralleling the Animas River that had to be run. So Katie and I set off with a determined stride and peeled off mile by mile until I saw Kendall Mountain Rec Center at 12:43 PM.
Legs inexplicably turning over with 2mi to go, Photo: KD
A dream come true, Photo: KD
To complete this race report with only commentary on my race would be give a tiny picture of my Hardrock experience. A good part of my time in Silverton was spent hanging out with my adopted family of Peter, Patti, Amalia, Nick, Jamil, Justin, Rachel, Chris, Eli, Katie, Dakota, Joe, Billy, James, and Rodger. The days spent with these people were really special. The San Juans made all our souls breathe faster and harder, and the experience was special because it was shared with other people excited about running in the mountains. The terrain is astoundingly beautiful and vast, and there is no limit to adventure in the San Juans. When I take pictures and write about it, I feel guilty knowing that I can never truly express the effect they have on you. The only solution is to go out there and see them for yourself.
Finally, I have to thank my amazing crew. Though they didn't have much access to me, they made the most of it. Justin randomnly chased be with a nightstick in Ouray, Rachel cheered and took pictures of said nonsense, James was a source of positivity, Katie kept all my gear together and paced me the last nine miles, Eli helped me surge up Bear Creek, and Jamil hung out with me for 12 hours from Grouse to Cunningham staying by my side through thick and thin. I owe my race to them, and to everyone that helped me along the way this year. Training runs with Jorge, Chris, Eric, and Jesse; nice cooks that gave me extra food; my work for giving me time off; and everyone that cheered me on digitally/metaphysically through the night, I felt your love. Thank you.
128 miles, 40,000ft
The String Quartet's tributes to Coheed and Cambria and Fallout Boy were some of my most played songs during the race. Fitting for the dramatic terrain