2008 Gore-Tex TransRockies Run – Day 1

It’s 10 p.m., I’m sitting on a bench outside a restroom, and I’ve got a 6 a.m. wake up scheduled […]

By on August 25, 2008 | Comments

2008 Gore-Tex TranRockies RunIt’s 10 p.m., I’m sitting on a bench outside a restroom, and I’ve got a 6 a.m. wake up scheduled for tomorrow – Day 2 of the 2008 Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. Life is good… even better than yesterday(!?), but with the above in mind, I’m going picture heavy and a bit more stream of consciousness this evening. Please pardon any my grammar, spelling, and awful French.

Before I let y’all into my head for a couple hours, I’ve got a few things to share. First, if you want to know who won what and such stuff, check out the official TransRockies Run Stage 1 update. (iRunfar will post more re the top dogs once this start to shake out – consider today’s stage merely a warm up.) If you’d like to see more of my pictures from TransRockies Run Day 1, check out my Picasa album for Stage 1. For more pics of Wings of Glory, head to Kairn.com’s post regarding today’s stage.

Gorgeous bluebird morning. Perfect temperature. Classic small mountain town. 150 or so runners chomping at the bit to kick off 6-day of trail running through the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Competition… and friendship intermingle. Awesome!

Team Montrail Team Nike/Rouge Valley Runners Gore-tex transrockies run 2008Team Montrail fraternize with Team Nike/Rogue Valley Runners before the start
(l to r – Matt Hart, Max King, Erik Skaggs, Sean Miessner)

They all get up and they get out of town. It doesn’t take long. It doesn’t take long for the top teams to break off the front or to head out of sight. The mountains, they are never lost around a bend. Big and small, forested and treeless, they are omnipresent and unmoving. Only we move. Some quickly, some not, but we all move. It frees us. It makes us free and our spirits sour, we can do what the mountains cannot.

Team Montrail, Team Nike/RVR, Team Salomon, and Team Saab/Salomon Gore-Tex TransRockies RunTeam Montrail, Team Nike/RVR, Team Salomon, and Team Saab/Salomon et al.

In our motion, we are not alone. Our teammates provide us with friendship, passion, strength, wisdom, and je ne c’est quoi. They travel the trail with us, physically and spiritually. Our struggles are their’s and their’s are our. We cannot got it alone. The pace a bit too hot. The day getting hotter. His stomach… not too hot. A notch down pace wise. We, not he and I, proceed.

Martin Gaffuri Gore-tex TransRockies Run - Day 1Martin Gaffuri – friend, Frenchman, phenom – looking smooth early

Preconceptions are shattered along the course. The “flat, straight dirt road” route is barely any of things and the remainder is quickly forgotten. Cool rock formations, the Collegiate Peaks, and the Arkansas River captivate the runners. The sky and the foreground add to imagery. My camera clicks away as fast as the miles.

Clouds and hills 2008 Gore-Tex TransRockies RunPuffy clouds over rolling hills.

Martin suffers. His stomach falters. He continues to run hard. I set the pace and try to encourage. I learn I am fitter than I believed, fitter than I could have hoped for… at least for today. Possibly my best run of the year – the effort, the feeling, the camaraderie, the scenery. I feel like the locomotives which have rolled the tracks beside our route. I aim to pull Martin today, so that he may pull me another day.

Martin Gaffuri Gore-tex TransRockies Run Arkansas River Collegiate PeaksMartin, the Arkansas River, and the Collegiate Peaks

The road, stretches. My mind stretches to turn miles in to kilometers, to provide my teammate encouragement. 5k, the road, 3k, 2k, 1600 meters, we can see the finish flags. Martin’s stomach fails. We finish. 1:39:37. We are proud.

Gore-tex TransRockies Run - Stage 1 FinishThe path to the finish of Stage 1 of the 2008 TransRockies Run

The companionship of one turns into the companionship of many. The secret is out. The “adults” jump into the river like kids at a summer camp on a hot August day. Stories from the trail are shared and friendships rekindled. All are welcome at this winner’s circle. I smile at the thought of all those wonderful people. They make me happy.

Ok, back to real sentences for a moment before bed. Martin and I had a good stage and may be more evenly matched than it seemed during our time in Boulder, where he clearly appeared to be stronger. Despite our good run for the 12.9 miles and 700′ of net gain, we sit 13th out of 21 open men’s category teams. No teams from any other categories are in front of us. I suspect both of these will soon change, the former for the better and the latter for the worse.

Today, I wore the Salomon Speedcross 2 for more or less the first time. The shoe is light and much more versatile than I suspected. The Speedcross has a very aggressive tread pattern that I was hesitant to use on paved road, but it handled today’s 2+ miles of pavement very well with my stride smooth and comfortable.

Salomon Speedcross 2I think the Speedcross will be even better suited for tomorrow’s stage up and over hope pass. We will begin Day 2 with a bit less than 2 miles on dirt roads – a surface on which the Speedcross proved itself today. The 2.5 mile, 2,500′ climb up to Hope Pass from the south is rockier than I would descend in a rock-plate less shoe like the Speedcross, but that will not be an issue. On the other hand, the Speedcross should in its wheelhouse as we descent for 3,500′ in 5 miles thought idyllic Rockie Mountain forest on what can be slick, but non-technical trail. The final 2 miles to Twin Lakes are over easy lowland terrain that will involve a stream crossing. Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to climbing to one of my favorite spots in the world.

Uhhhh….. did I forget to mention everything I did before 9 a.m and between say 1 and 10 p.m. today? My bad! Well, I:

  • played a ton of tag with Sierra
  • talked smack with Meissner and Hart
  • went to town with the awesome Keith, Leslie, and Meghan
  • ate TWO grilled cheese sandwhichs
  • called both my jacket and myself “puffy” (only the jacket should be “puffy”)
  • are marshmellows, but avoided playing chubby bunny
  • got to hang out with awesome trail runners, volunteers, and staff for another day in the mountains

Check back in tomorrow for an update regarding what happens when 150 runners get a good Rocky Mountain high during Stage 2 of the 2008 Gore-Tex TransRockies Run.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.