Yesterday morning Ashley and I finished up a race that took our team of 10 just over 24 hours to complete. Similar in nature to the Hood to Coast run in Oregon, the Colorado Relay covers 170 miles and it makes its way from Idaho Springs to Glenwood Springs. The coarse goes over 4 passes, each between 10 and 12 thousand feet in elevation. We began the race at 8:00:00 on Friday morning and finished at 8:01:27 on Saturday morning.
Our team was made primarily of Golder employees (my office paid for and sponsored the event, which is a fundraiser for Outward Bound). This time of year, the weather can range from snowing to sunny and warm. We lucked out as the sky was clear for the entire race, which meant that the day was warm (70's) and the night was cool (30's).
My legs (7, 17, and 27) involved an 8 mile downhill run from the top of Guanella Pass (-2000 ft), an 8.8 mile downhill run from the top of Vail Pass (-1800 feet), and a 5.4 mile flat run. All the downhill in the first two of my legs took its toll on me. After the second leg, my quads felt like I'd had a surgical procedure where my quadriceps were extracted, put through a meat grinder, and the resulting mush reinserted into the cavity where my intact quads used to be.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the race is dealing with sleep deprivation. Our van got about 1.5 hours of sleep between 5 am Friday morning and when we returned home after the race at 1:00 on Saturday. My last leg started at 5 am Saturday morning and my quads had not recovered much since the meat grinder incident. It was a painful and delirious 5.4 miles. To add to the strangeness of it all, my final two legs were in the dark, running with a headlamp and reflective vest.
Ashley's legs (10, 20, and 30) were 6.8, 4.9, and 4.4 miles, respectively. The first and longest was on a hilly trail through beautiful Aspen forests near the now infamous town of South Park, while her last two legs were mostly flat. Her final leg weaved through the town of Glenwood Springs and was the last leg of the race. As the race rules required, the rest of the team joined her for the final 30 meters of the race to the finish line.
Our team just after crossing the finish line
Our finishing time of 24:01:27 was good enough for 4th place out of 25 teams in the corporate division and 24th place overall out of 150 teams.
Ashley and me with our "bottomless" free beers after the race