Another Elk Mountain Grand Traverse has come and gone. The annual 40 mile ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen has become a rite of spring for Christy and me, we’ve done it 13 of the 17 years it’s been held, the last seven as a couple. We’ve always loved the event and we’ve encouraged anyone who’s curious to check it out.
Unfortunately, for the 3rd time in the history of the race the conditions up high were deemed too dangerous for it to follow its intended course to Aspen. There was a lot of snow and wind in the days before and to send 400 people (200 teams of two) through avalanche terrain in the middle of the night would have been irresponsible. We can all respect a decision made in the interest of safety, so the alternate course now dubbed the “Grand Reverse” was implemented and those of us that stuck around skied in and around Crested Butte.
It wasn’t our first time on the Reverse course. We did it as a team the last time conditions warranted it, five years ago (2010). I even participated when the first Reverse was called back in 1999, when the GT was only in its second year. It’s too bad that 15 years later it’s more or less the same boring course. It was disappointing to not be able to complete the intended route, but we were there and it was paid for so we decided to make the best of it. At least the East River Valley section wasn’t a dry hike this year. read more>>>
The weather challenged everyone from the start, pictured here, all the way to the finish.
What a day….
As we drove to the start of the race in Snowmass, the storm’s intensity increased. Despite the March 1st date, it was actually raining, so heavily that our windshield wipers were on high as if we were driving through a summer thunder storm. read more>>>
It was a beautiful day for a race.
Another year, another bout of punishing weather at the Breck Five Peaks.
We haven’t had much luck timing the conditions at this event. Last year’s race course had to be modified due to cold and wind, which was so punishing we were just happy to reach the finish. It was kind of a bummer because we were looking forward to the cool tour up and down the five peaks of the massive Breckenridge ski area.
On May 29, 2003, the inaugural Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon took place. Nepali owned and organized, the race has been run every year on May 29th, the anniversary of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic 1953 Mt. Everest ascent. The mostly downhill course descends the Khumbu Valley along popular trekking routes, from Everest Basecamp at 17,500 ft. to Namche Bazaar at 11,200 ft. In recent years, the race has had over 100 runners participate, but the field is primarily filled by Nepalis, with the minority of runners being from other countries. Rarely have there been more than a handful of Americans.
Ten years after that inaugural event, the organizers are adding new races. On the same day as the marathon in 2014, the Everest Ultra 60k Run will follow a longer course, but with the same start and finish lines. And planned for June 2015 is yet another event— a multi-sport adventure that includes a marathon, mountain bike, and a tandem paraglide– that starts from Annapurna Basecamp and finishes near Pokhara. read more>>>
Start with a 100 mile race in the mountains, strip out any crew support or pacers and add a bunch of winter weather– snow up high, mud down low, and temps in the low 20s all through the night– and you have last weekend’s Bear 100. Lucky for us, Christy and I were both able to say we had a great time.
I improved on last year’s finish by 45 minutes, finishing in 5th place in 21:38. If you take out some 30+ minutes spent at the 13 aid stations, that averages to around 12:30s for 100 miles on a course with over 22,000 feet of vertical gain. Yes, I’m pretty happy with that.
But since I’ve been here a few times now and have already done it unsupported, I knew what to expect. I think it was actually Christy’s race that was the most impressive. read more>>>
I thought I’d pass along a little video that recently hit the Internet about Seb Chaignieu’s winning Hardrock 100. I don’t usually re-post content created by others, but this race is a tough subject to accurately capture, and I think this video does a pretty good job.