Colorado Weekend

AJW's TaproomIt seems to me that during the summer trail-racing season in North America, there are certain events that attract our attention and capture the imagination year after year. Most times, it’s Western States in June and Hardrock in July. This year, my imagination has been captivated by Colorado in August and not just because my oldest son Carson has just started college out there.

Over the next few days, there is not one but three captivating running events in Colorado. First, there is the TransRockies Run stage race, which is currently on Day 4 and features runners from around the world traversing the high mountain passes of the Rockies over three or six extraordinarily scenic stages. The cool thing about TransRockies, as well, is that it’s essentially a traveling running festival with a new base camp set up each night. While I’ve never had the opportunity to attend, it seems to me to be the kind of thing that truly showcases the trail and ultrarunning community as the inclusive, egalitarian, and fun-loving place that it is.

Next, in the center of the state, is the iconic Leadville Trail 100 Mile Run. And, while this event has had its organizational ups and downs over the last few years, it stands out as one of the original 100-mile races. Challenging runners with both high altitude, lung-busting climbs as well as long stretches of runnable terrain, I have always seen Leadville as an honest test of a runner’s versatility. Blending tradition and modernity, Leadville continues to bring expansive attention to our sport that only a few other races have. For that reason, it commands my attention every year.

Finally, there is the two-day running ‘festival’ outside Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, on Saturday and Sunday. This historic two-day event, in which some people run both races on consecutive days (the Pikes Peak double) has, for years, attracted top-tier mountain runners from around the world to test their mettle on “America’s Mountain.” Legendary runner Matt Carpenter still holds the course records for both events (as he does for the Leadville 100) and each year I wonder, Will this be the year someone beats Matt’s record? For over a decade, nobody has.

And so for any trail running junkie, Colorado is the place to be this weekend. From short and flat to long and steep, Colorado is bringing hundreds of people out this week and weekend to suck a little thin air and enjoy some quality time in the mountains. While much of America sweats through the ‘dog days of summer,’ the folks in Colorado are living the dream. And these days, a little dreaming now and again may well be just what the doctor ordered.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

New Belgium Brewing La FolieThis week’s Beer of the Week, appropriately, comes from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado. They make an excellent Flemish Sour Brown Ale called La Folie that is fruity and chocolatey, a blend of flavors I formerly thought were impossible to combine. Give it a try if you can get a hold of it.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Are you participating as a runner, crew, or spectator at any of these events in Colorado this week and weekend?
  • What other races and running-based events are happening in Colorado this weekend?

There are 30 comments

  1. Brian

    If you’re ever in Manitou Springs (base of Pikes Peak) stop by the Colorado Custard Company where there’s a decent chance you’ll find Matt Carpenter behind the register! Fantastic person to talk to in addition to the good ice cream.

    1. bob

      Bummer! I missed out on ‘Colorado Custard Company’ while I was in Manitou Springs last month for the ‘Barr Trail Mountain Race.’

  2. Gary

    Since Leadville was my first 100, it holds a special place in my heart. Love that town, that race and those mountains so much! Pacing someone over Powerline later tomorrow night!

    Leadville is so original as a 100 that technically speaking it was a 100 BEFORE Western was a 100. #trolling

  3. shawn

    Can’t believe you highlighted a Fort Collins beer when there are so many great options from Leadville and Manitou or COS. ;)
    The Pikes Peak Ascent+Marathon locked off last night with a nice Run Fest. Lots of good logo’d gear this year, so everyone was really loading up. Looks like a scorcher this year.

  4. Pete

    This would be a good time to mention Marshall Ulrich’s fantastic doublers in 1992 and 1993: finishing the LT100 in the middle of the night, hopping into a car for the drive to Manitou, and then doing the Pikes Peak Marathon. This can only work if you finish LT100 in the low 20’s or below. Haven’t heard of anyone attempting it since.

    1. shawn

      Looks like another great effort by Joe Gray today — won by over 10 minutes, which is really impressive in a 13.32 mile race.
      Still not close to the record, which shows how stout Carpenter’s runs were.

  5. bud

    The Leadville Trail 100 is an “interesting” race as it allows muling. For a runner to allow the pacer to carry his/her gear is a bit disgusting. I did it in 2002 and was annoyed at getting passed by “runners” carrying nothing while their pacer carried everything. Is this the only 100 that allows muling? Hope so.

    1. Dan

      All racers should familiarize themselves with the rules before signing up. This way if any rules disgust you you can choose another race that meets your criteria. If you are racing to win you should use the rules of each event to your advantage. If not, enjoy the run and don’t worry what others are doing. It is a tradition based on the mining heritage that Pb is based around.

  6. AJW

    Yes, Leadville is the only 100 I know of that allows muling, and they are very clear as to why. That said, when Matt ran his 15:42 CR he did so solo as he didn’t want the distraction of a pacer/muler. In my opinion, the 2nd most stout CR in 100 mile racing to date.

          1. Jon

            Gary Robbins CR at the HURT 100 should be in the conversation… most people have no idea what sub 20 hours on that course even means… :)

            1. AJW

              Certainly a strong CR and time will tell how stout it is. However, given it’s a January race it may never see competition like the other northern hemisphere 100s. Which, reminds me, anyone know what happened to the Estes kid, I think Matt, who had the HUrT record before Gary? Kid was legit. Then went all Skaggs on us.

    1. Gary

      Where would you rank Ann Trason’s Leadville record of 18:06:24? Clare Gallagher last year was the second fastest time and only came within 54:03 of Ann…

  7. Scott

    A decade? It will be at least 25 years before anyone beats Matt’s records on Pikes!

    And I would bet money that someone will break the AC 100 record before the Hardrock record. Other than Kilian himself.

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