Written By: Thomas Miller
Originally posted August 29, 2008
Please excuse me while I gloat. I promise to keep it short. Today, for the first time in my entire life I made it up onto the podium. Whoo Hoo!!!!. Thanks to the amazing support and unyielding encouragement from my good friend and amazing teammate Mark Kaufman we grabbed third place in the mens 80 Plus category. What made it even sweeter was we did it on one of the toughest stages of this years Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. Thank you MK, you are the rock.
The day began under crystal clear blue skies and our coldest morning so far. It was the first morning we actually had frost on the ground and on the tents . A rough way to begin a day that would take us up over 11,500 feet in five miles. With the sun shining on us at the start we began our journey up the 3000 foot ascent to the summit where we were greeted with some of the most stunning views I have ever had the privilege to witness. On one side we had views of Mount Holly cross and to the other direction we had views of Vail Mountain where we will end our fifth day of racing on Friday. After we crested the summit we began another blazing extremely technical descent to the small and charming town of Red Cliff. With three miles to go to the finish we not only had four knee creek crossings in a row we actually had to run in ankle deep flowing water for about 1/4 of a mile. The water was so cold that by the time we had completed the fourth and final crossing we could not feel our feet for about a mile. It felt like we were running on pegs.
The climb was brutal and pitched up to 45 degrees in places so it was a slow relentless grind that was quickly replaced by the rooted and rocky steep descent. The quads were so engorged with blood by the time we reached the peak that every foot strike going down was shear agony. I have never been so happy to be finished with a run in my life. The sweet reward waiting for us was our third place finish and a trip to the podium where we earned some serious Timex swag. It was a great day.
And then there is stage five tomorrow. We begin at Red Cliff and will run for 23 miles to the finish at the base of the world famous Vail Mountain. The total gain for the day will be over 4000 feet and we will top out at about 11,700. The profile looks much like todays stage with an additional nine miles to get us that much closer to our Saturday finish in Beaver Creek. As the days go by you can begin to see the signs of four days of racing at high elevation and many hard miles take it’s tole on the field. We have been above 9000 feet now for days and so the bodies ability to recover and rebuild is drastically diminished. So not only are we beating our bodies up pretty good with the miles and the climbing we are also tearing ourselves down due to essentially living above 9000 feet for four days. Beaver Creek here we come.
See you after stage five………..