A few months ago when planing our summer vacation, we had planned on doing Moab, UT with the kids for some fun hiking adventures. I brought up the idea to fly into Aspen, CO and drive to Vail for the La Sportiva Vail Hill Climb. So we fly out of Dulles on Friday morning and get to Denver, from Denver take a small plane over to Aspen. Here is a quick shot of me goofing around at Dulles
Get there, get the rental car and off to Vail. This is where the real fun begins. Heather had mentioned that she wanted to take a different route to Vail which would lead us through Aspen up to Independence Pass which sits at 12,000 feet elevation and then cruise into Vail that afternoon. So, we hop in the rental SUV with no water, no food and expect to hit something along the way. Well guess what, there wasn't shit along the way. Unless you call death defying cliffs with no barriers something...as far as food went, we were shit out of luck. Now Aspen sits at about 7800 feet so I was feeling a tad whoosy plus only had one bottle of water to drink about 3 hours before. The whole purpose was to drive over Independence Pass and through Leadville, CO, an ultra runners must see. Here are some shots of the top of Independence pass and Leadville, CO:
It's about 100 miles from Aspen to Vail much of it driving 25 miles an hour and through tiny and dangerous roads. Finally, we got to Twin Lakes, CO which had this little dump of a store but to me, was heaven - I got 7 bottles of water for the family and I and some food. We finally arrive at the Vail Marriott soon after and checked in the hotel.
|Packet pick up|
So the day of the race comes and after a gallon of water, 25 trips to pee during the night and 3 solid hours of sleep (maybe), I am ready to go for my first altitude run in Vail, CO. We wake up around 5am, get dressed and head out of the Vail Marriott to the shuttle.
|Waiting for the shuttle|
|Shuttle ride to the start line|
As I always do for any race is assess the shitter situation - I give this one a B+. They had no port-o-shitters but they did have a nice and warm bus station center you could use if you want to dump it up.
|Near the start line|
It was about 53 F out, alot colder than the 90+ temps I was used to in VA. Get to the starting line, pee 5 more times, go to SBUX to warm up and then kiss heather goodbye. No, I didn't have a mocha however, a guy I met in line waiting said he went out all night drinking. Thinking that was not quite a good idea, he tops it by ordering a bacon, egg, and cheese AND venti ice coffee...10-1 he chucked on the course or DNF'd. Heather and the kids headed out early so they could catch the gondola up to the top of the mountain.
|Kids chilling in the gondola on the way to the finish line|
|View of Mile 6.5 aid station from gondola|
|Course views from gondola|
|Waiting for Dad-you could see down to almost the mile 3 marker from the top|
|Shot from the top of the mountain-Where's JD? (Hint: Look for the red socks)|
After the race, I took some shots at the top of the mountain finish line:
|Grabbing the swag - no shirt until you finish.|