On the Bright Side

On Monday morning, I awoke to the announcement that this year’s Hardrock 100 was canceled due to the ridiculous snowpack that remains in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. As a resident of said mountains, this decision came as no surprise, but it meant that I’d not get to run my favorite event this summer. *sigh* Dang. But, you know what, I’m determined to have one heck of a year regardless. I’m going to opt for the bright side.

To start, I’ve decided to turn my training toward the one other event that was already on my calendar, the Middle Creek Flyathlon, a 12-mile trail running/fly fishing combo in mid-August that was an absolute blast last year. (Support freshwater fishery protection with iFishFar gear. ;-) ) More important, it’ll be an impetus to reintroduce some intensity into my running. Although… or perhaps because I came out of a high-school and collegiate track and cross-country background, I’ve not included speedwork into my running with any intention or plan for the past decade. While I might not focus on it for long, I and my fitness can only benefit from adding in a day or two of intensity every week betwixt my daily casual outings.

In Hardrock’s absence, I’ve already added one race to my schedule, the Silverton Alpine Marathon right here in Silverton, Colorado. I’ve known about this race forever, but have never taken part in it. Not only will it be a good chance to test… and build on my next month of more intense running, but I’ll actually get to run some local dirt roads I’ve never run. As a mostly run-from-home kind of guy, I’ve run the both ends of the loop out-and-back from Silverton, but I’ve never run or, in fact, visited what I’ve been told is a stunning stretch at the eastern end of the loop between Animas Forks and Corkscrew Gulch.

Getting back to Hardrock, I hope to shine a little light for the communities–both the Hardrock family and the Silverton/San Juan communities–by working with the race and independently to help organize fun activities in Hardrock’s stead. I’m even considering putting on my first fat-ass event. We’ll see.

Silverton, Colorado from Macomber

Finally, I’ll move my long focus race to the fall. In reality, this will be a better fit for my year in many ways. Life’s filled my past half year with amazing opportunities, many of which have diverted my attention away from training. Certainly, I’d have been ready to get around the Hardrock course in a little over a month, but, now, I have four or five or six months to build on an already decent base before giving it a longer go. This means that as the stunning San Juan high country finally starts to melt out, I’ll be building toward spending more time in the mountains rather than tapering for or recovering from Hardrock. Plus, I’ll be picking a race, one I’ve not run before, as the new focus of my attention. I’ve got some ideas that have me really excited.

Sure, I’d take running Hardrock over not every single time, but I’m determined to have a dang good time since I can’t!

Call for Comments

Whether due to cancellation or life events, when and how have you made the best out of not getting to run a race?

Silverton Rainbow

There are 21 comments

  1. Tim

    YOu could still stay in Siverton this year for the HR week and make it to Andorra for Mitic or Euphoria although today or towmorrw is the last day for entry ( thik they are a week later than HR was planned for this year). T

  2. greg

    whoa, tell me more about this flyathon! whats the format? run to a fishing spot, land a trout and then run to the next? what a rad concept.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Oops. I should have linked to more info about flyathlons. Basically, there’s a running race in which you (more or less) need to catch a trout along the way with there being a time bonus for the size and species. (It’s catch and release – you take a photo of the fish on your race bib.) You choose the when and where and how and for how long you fish.

          1. Bryon Powell

            There are rumors of a flyathlon up toward Sonoma County next year and there’s got to be somewhere up in the Sierra where you could help host one. I’m more than happy to put you in touch with the right people if this is your jam.

        1. Bryon Powell

          Last year, I raced with a Tenkara USA Hane rod tucked into the trekking pole loops of a Naked belt.

          I do some ultrafishing outings with flyrod and reel (and I love it), but tenkara is more than enough for the rivers, creeks, and high alpine lakes I mostly fish.

  3. Ccantwell

    “I’ve never run or, in fact, visited what I’ve been told is a stunning stretch at the eastern end of the loop between Animas Forks and Corkscrew Gulch.”
    Dude, you have a treat in store for you (can’t believe you haven’t been there).
    Love the fly fish and run thing. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  4. Todd

    I was scheduled to run my first 50 mile race a few years ago, but I was not able to run the race because of the need to move that same weekend. However, I set up my own 50ish mile run to do instead the week before the race was scheduled to be. I linked together a 50ish mile route and got a few friends to join me, and had my wife run/hike the last segment with me. It was a blast!

    Bryon, if you want to come do a 50ish mile run in suburban Massachusetts, let me know as I have a route for you. ;-)

      1. Todd

        Hi David.

        I started in Westborough and ran the charm bracelet trail out to Whitehall State Park in Hopkinton, ran two loops around Whitehall and Upton State Forest, and then ran the charm bracelet back.

        – charm bracelet to Whitehall ~12-15 miles
        ~Whitehall + Upton State Forest loop ~13 miles

        I didn’t wear a GPS watch so I am not sure the exact mileage. Surprisingly there is only about 2-3 miles of pavement in this route!

        Some day I have want to tack on some trails in Hopkinton State Park area to this route and make it a ~100k run.


  5. Aaron

    Black Canyon 60k and 100k have had fairly major re-routes 2 of the last 3 years, and while neither were as enjoyable as the intended course, Jamil and his crew should be commended for finding a way to make it work instead of cancelling. And the bitching from a lot of participants never ceases to amaze me. It makes for a much better day when you just tell yourself to adapt, improvise and make the best of it.

  6. Sarah Lavender Smith

    I’m supposed to be on a plane to Wyoming today to run Bighorn 100, which I trained hard for and planned a whole trip around, but 9 days ago I sustained a significant back injury due to a horse riding accident (fractured vertebrae and soft tissue damage). I have a whole knew appreciation for just hiking pain free. Today I met up with a local hikers’ group and did a very slow hike with them, which felt like a major accomplishment. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with others. I’m also determined to get back in shape to help with Hardrock trail clearing next month. As the saying goes, one window closes, another opens.
    Enjoy the Silverton Alpine event! I did it a couple of years ago. I hope they can manage their route around the avalanche debris. It’s a really lovely route.

  7. Ed Trzcienski

    Bryon, when Brian M and I met you at Avalanche last month and talked about the possibility of this cancellation, you discussed trying to rally the running community to come to Silverton regardless of the race decision. We’re still going to come, bring our families, stay in our hotels and try to support the community, which will undoubtedly be affected by the loss of revenue from the race (and other activities dependent on clear roads and passable high country). Let’s plan some runs, maybe do trail work, and show support for Silverton.

  8. Jack

    This year finds me back in the Middle East after a couple life tragedies last fall. I friend from the Boulder area planted the flyathlon idea and I’ve been wanting to do it ever since. Seems I look at the Running Rivers site every day. I volunteered for HR after last deployment and plan to next year as well. As an east-coaster, it’s hard to make all the cool Colorado events. A large part of my heart is firmly planted there…

    Good luck at middle creek, that’s a beautiful spot. I’ll be wishing I was there…

  9. peter

    Sorry to hear that you wont be able to compete in HR but important to keep that positive outlook. As i read this, my mind starts to wonder; means no Grand Slam this year. When i think grand slam, i think Nick Clark. Havent heard much from him lately, any idea on his whereabouts? Liked watching him race.

  10. David

    Bryon – the FA idea is great. I think there should be a lot more of those. Such great opportunities to run some longer challenges with others in a more relaxed format. Wish I lived closer to partake WHEN you schedule that. :)

    Thanks for the article!

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