Smack From The Back: GoreTex Transrockies Run Day One

Day one of the GoreTex Transrockies Run is in the books and Thomas Miller has his day one report. Thomas set off on the trail with 400 other runners to tackle the two person adventure run through the Rocky Mountains.

Written By: Thomas Miller

"Team Do Da Do" readies for the trek. Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Miller

As I stood before nearly 400 athletes, staff and volunteers at the 3rd annual opening ceremonies of the Gore-Tex Transrockies Run, I was quickly taken back to three years ago when just about 65 of us first time participants sat on the porch of the Chophouse at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain listening to the race organizers describe the event we were about to undertake.

In the three short years since this race was launched, the race has doubled in size each year.  When you stop to think about the time commitment, financial commitment and sacrifices that all of the athletes go through to make it to the starting line each year, and then overlay the wet blanket of this past years economy, it is truly amazing that this race has grown to the level it has.  That is a huge testament to the athletes, the TR race organization and the incredible event sponsors lead by W.L. Gore (makers of Gore-Tex) and Salomon.

On to Stage 1…

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Stage 1 began in the beautiful Rocky Mountain town of Buena Vista, Colorado.  Under sunny skies and warm temperatures quickly approaching the 80′s, 270 of us lined up on Main Street to hit the trails.

As expected, the race leaders took off at a blistering pace and many of the who’s who in the trail running and ultra running world dominated all 5 categories. To view detailed race results please visit www.transrockies.com.

Out on the trails on day one. Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Miller

The course took us quickly up into a gorgeous high mountain desert with an unobstructed view for much of the day of Mount Yale, one of the many 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado.  The trail alternated between single track, unpaved jeep trails and fire roads.  There were three check points along the way at mile 7, 14 and 17 –all fully stocked with GU Sports products, Cliff bars, Salt Stick capsules and an assortment of chips, pretzels, candy, water and bananas.  They had everything an endurance athlete would need to get through a stage like today.   The  Gore-Tex Transrockies Run consists of two-person team, with both team members required to run the entire distance and stay within 2 minutes of each other for safety reasons.  At each check point the teams check in to ensure that “search and rescue” is not launched to find wandering trail runners.  The incredible energy of the volunteers working the checkpoint was a huge energy lift to all as we ate, drank and ran our way to the next checkpoint.

So here is a view into our day.  Monica and I went out conservatively and stayed at a very comfortable pace for the first seven miles.  I had to remind her that we had a long day with much climbing and extremely hot temperatures and, oh yeah, five more days of this. If I have learned anything in my past two Gore-Tex Transrockies Runs is that the slower you start each day, the faster you finish. Today was no different.

After a slow and comfortable 7 miles to the first aid station, we began to pick up our pace and began to reel in about 40 teams for the remaining 14.8 miles.  At mile 14 we threw on our IPOD shuffles and rocked our way to the finish line.  I was still able to make Monica laugh at mile 17 doing my air guitar as I jammed out to some killer tunes.

Managing my diabetes went as planned, as I held to my strict regiment of nutrition and hydration with Cliff bars, GU Rocktane gels, Salt Stick capsules and water.  Energy wise, it truly was a perfect day.  So far so good.

Of all the 12 stages of the Gore-Tex Transrockies Runs that I have participated in, today’s was the most memorable. Rolling down the trail, side by side with Monica, smiling at each other, listening to music and taking in the incredible vistas that the Rockies have to offer was an experience that will be forever etched in my mind.  We can’t wait for Stage 2.  She was amazing.

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