Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Steamboat Springs

I just spent the past three days in Steamboat Springs to have a little look at as much of the Run Rabbit Run 100 course as possible. It is going to be an incredible race and one that is going to be way harder than I had expected.

Quite a pretty place
To be totally honest I don't think the skiing will be up too much in the winter months however the trails in summer are absolutely brilliant. The landscape is amazing but not quite Alpine epic however the quality and diversity of the running trails beats Europe hands down for sure. Granted nothing I have seen here so far with maybe the exception of the San Juans has anything like the steepness or ruggedness of the Alps but that's not to say the trails here are easy. There is still big big climbs. The first 4.4 miles of Steamboat 100 climbs almost 1400m. There is also some proper technical stuff to be found but they just do not have the same kind of elevation differences. Steep technical down hills might only last 300-400m whereas back in France you can get it for 1000m. The one thing they have here is lots and lots of rolling single track over amazing terrain and most of the time it is at 10'000ft or higher. The altitude does have an effect on you for sure. Luckily though for me Run Rabbit Run doesn't go nearly as high as the Leadville 100 but it still hits close to 11'000ft on a few occasions. Do I think this course will be harder than Leadville? Yes. For sure it will be. Leadville was hard , very hard in fact and I am so happy to have finished it but I do feel RRR just has a little bit more. Leadville has the altitude and the two crossings of Hope Pass which yes are brutal but other than that it is nice single track and a lot of dirt roads which even at a walking pace can be covered a bit faster than walking a single track.

Mountain View Trail at the start and end of race
RRR has three climbs of over 1000m plus some other 500m ones thrown in as well and they are right through the course from start to finish. Yeah there is really only 1000m more climbing overall in RRR than on the LT100 but the terrain is going to make it slower. RRR has way more single track than Leadville and that is the main reason for me doing this course , I love single track and hate dirt roads however there is one dirt road section on this course I am dreading already but will explain later. From looking at previous finishers times and their Leadville times most people are 2 , 3 or 4 hours slower at RRR.

The final downhill
Anyway we arrived on Thursday morning and went straight to check out Kims pacing section. Miles 63.5-73.5. An out and back section from Dry lake – Spring Creek Ponds – Dry Lake. The 5 mile run down to Spring Creek is brilliant trail through a forest of Aspens and I am pretty sure I will be able to run this section pretty well. The turnaround and then the 5 mile hike back up this will take a long time.

Checking Kims section. Miles 63-73.
I never ran the 73.5-81 mile section but we did drive up it to go Bear spotting(no luck) and this section will be hard. Woody takes over for this section until the end and she has been pre warned how slow this will be. It is never that steep but it just climbs on and on and on for what seems like ages and that was driving in the Jeep! It really is going to take hours to do this but once we get that out of the way it looks to be single track heaven to the finish line.

The name says it all. Miles 21 and 41.
We also managed to check out miles 21-41. Olympian Hall back to Olympian Hall via Cow Creek. This section is brilliant with a mix of steep up hill , rolling down hills and only a 2 mile section of flat dirt road. I do still expect this to take me a while , especially the 7 mile hike back up and over to Olympian hall where I hopefully pick up my first pacer. I say hopefully as at the moment I don't actually have a pacer for this bit. I can make do without until mile 63 when Kim takes over then Woody from 73 but it would be nice to have someone before that but if not then I am sure I can manage without.

Going to be hard from here. Mile 73.
Getting a chance to go and recce a part of the course was great. I will have a couple of days before the race as well to have a look at some other smaller sections but overall I am happy to have looked at a good chunk of it. To be honest I am more excited about it having seen just how good the trails are but also a bit nervous as usual. I really don't know what to expect. If my knee gives up on me again like last year then it will be a long long painful race on the other hand if my knee stays in good shape and I run a sensible race then I am pretty optimistic that I have it in me to run a good race. When I say good I mean pain free(to an extent) and maybe between 30-32hrs but who knows. I could feel great and run 28hrs or terrible and scrape the cut off or DNF. That's one of the things I do love about these distances , you just never know.

I went with Kim today to check the Hope Pass climb from Twin Lakes(17km) as the LT100 is next week and she wanted to see it before the race. Pacing this for more than 30 miles is going to be great and I cannot wait for it to happen.

The first climb is tough
I am currently sitting in the town of Frisco and staying here tonight and tomorrow morning early doors I am setting of on a pretty long run/hike/climb. The Tenmile Ridge Traverse (named after Tenmile peak not the distance) goes from Frisco over 10 peaks(none below 12'000ft) and ends up in Breckenridge. A total of 16 miles over some amazing ridge lines and a section between peaks 2 and 3 of 4th-5th class extremely exposed climbing which I am stoked about doing. Next post will be up pretty soon after I get this done. Fingers crossed the storms stay away as it's gona be a long long day.

No comments:

Post a Comment