Monday, May 17, 2010

Sky Mesa Pass Trail Marathon

I guess there are two Gateway, Colorado's?  But the setting for this blog takes place in the one just an hour south of Grand Junction, Colorado along the Dolores River.  From Gateway Canyons Resort one can look in every direction and see the Moab-like walls of the stunning Unaweep Canyon:  An awesome setting for a race!

Race Headquarters:  Looking out from within the Gateway Canyons Resort.  Pretty sweet, huh?

Gateway, Colorado and the race's finish line.

This marked the third year of the Sky Mesa Pass Trail Marathon:  a very small, low-key event put on by the staff of the Gateway Canyon Resort Adventure Center.  I have no idea how they came upon this course, but it proved to be an excellent race.  There was a little of everything on this point-to-point course:  After seven relatively fast dirt road miles through Salt Creek Canyon and Sinbad Valley, runners were thrust upon the old, rutted, boulder-strewn ATV "road" that ascended three miles to the Manti-LaSal National Forest mesa top.  Once on top, the track weaved through aspen-pine groves, alpine ponds and marshy meadows.  The final eight miles descended steeply from 8,500' though John Brown Canyon on well-maintained dirt roads to the finish line at the resort's front door at near 4,000'.  There were two unmanned aid-stations and three aid-stations staffed by the always cheerful Adventure Center employees.  Basically, not an easy race!

Typical course setting on the mesa top (miles 12 to 19).

A runner heads through the aspens into an aid station on the mesa top.

The author heads down the fence line, followed closely by the aid station crew (who are taking the photos) on their ATV.

Jeremy Duncan (fresh off his second place finish at the Free State 100K) heads down the "fence-line."  He and I exchanged leads all morning.

Criss-crossing marshy meadows.

My favorite photo.

Heading out of an aid station on top.

Jump the log or run through the puddle?  Shoes laden with mud.

Looking back along the final mile and the mouth of John Brown Canyon.

From hence we came: Way up yonder.

Sky Mesa Pass Trail Marathon Final Results:

Top 3 Male Finishers
Ian Torrence - Flagstaff, AZ - 3:18:30 (New Course Record!)
Jeremy Duncan - Carbondale, Co - 3:18:58
Kerry Matticks - Castle Rock, Co - 3:37:46

Top 3 Female Finishers
Ashley Arnold - Carbondale, Co - 3:46:32
Elenor Fish - Carbondale, Co - 3:57:59
Jen Burns - Carbondale, Co - 4:14:38

Results In Order by Bib Number (not place) 
3. Steve Bremner- Manitou Springs, Co- 3:39:55
4.Rebekka Hannula - Manitou Springs, Co - 4:48:13
5. Ian Torrence - Flagstaff, Az - 3:18:30
6. Jenna Gustman - Pacific Palisades, Ca - 4:27:29
7. Kerry Matticks - Castle Rock , Co - 3:37:46
8. Brad Anderson -Boulder, Co -4:02:32
9. Deanna Adami - Littleton, Co -4:53:20
10. Waldo Burnham - Salt Lake City, Ut- 5:47:22
11. Lori Olsen - Logan, Ut - 4:53:20
12. Joseph Robertson- Prescott, Az - 5:34:00
13. Christina Roberston -Prescott, Az- 5:23:53
14. Cory Bringhurst - Orem, Ut- 3:45:19
15. Bill Moyle - Long Tree, Co - 6:59:46
16. Thane Kraut - Lone Tree, Co - 4:29:57
17. Carl Burggeman - Carbondale, Co - 5:30:40
18. Ashley Arnold - Carbondale, Co -3:46:32
19. Jeremy Duncan - Carbondale, Co- 3:18:58
20. Jen Burns - Carbondale, Co - 4:14:38
21. Ross Kuntz - Salida, Co - 3:43:22
22. Ashley Kuntz - Salida, Co -5:12:04
23. Mark Kahler - Cedaridge, Co- 5:01:03
24. Sandra Harting - Leadville, Co - 6:26:20
25. Elenor Fish - Carbondale, Co- 3:57:59
26. Joe Britton - Boulder, Co - 4:00:36
27. Kirk Nichols - Boulder, Co -4:08:47
28. Will Keneld - Boulder, Co - 4:29:26
29. John Novak - Denver, Co -4:53:42
30. Lisa Moot - Montrose, -5:01:13
31. Joanne Sanders - Montrose, Co - 5:01:13
32. Jeremy Bradford - Denver, Co - 3:47:26
33. John Constan - Grand Junction, Co -4:03:22
34. Sarah Shradder- Grand Jucntion, Co -4:42:50 

Race Director Nick Kroger works the finish line.

Second place finisher Jeremy Duncan (3:18:58) and the women's winner Ashley Arnold (3:46:32 and winner of this year's Collegiate Peaks 50 Mile).

Congratulations to all finishers!

Postscript:  A toot of the horn:  Though a small event and run on "trails" this was my first marathon win.  It was the only standard distance victory I lacked in my primordial running resume (got everything else from the mile to 100 miles).  I appreciate Jeremy's sportsmanship while I sprinted away from him over the last mile to take the honor.  The bucket list continues to shrink.

Now For Your Moment of Zen...
Post-race Doggy Dancing! (Why is that black and white dog not on a leash?)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Sweep the USA National 25K Road Championships

Team USA Arizona and McMillan Elite's Ten Easy Steps to Successfully Sweeping a National Championship:

Last weekend Andrew Carlson, Brett Gotcher and Nick Arciniaga placed first, second and third respectively at the 2010 USA National 25 Kilometer Road Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 
Here's a step-by-step synopsis on they got there...

Step One:  Listen to your Coach (Greg McMillan, with back to camera, explains the goals of the day.)

Step Two:  Train hard with your Teammates on Flagstaff's Lake Mary Road (LMR) at 7,000 feet. (Nick Arciniaga, left and Andrew Carlson get after it.)

Have a great tempo workout on LMR...

...Or a not-so-good workout on LMR.

Thusly resulting in cutting off the prized mullet.

Step Two Continued:  Train hard with Teammates on the track in Sedona.  (Martin Fagan and Brett Gotcher hit the red roundy-round.)

Step One Revisited:  Listen to your Coach again while he BBQ's under the shadow of Mt. Humphrey's.

Step 1A:  Emulate aforementioned Coach and chow-down. (photo by Tracy McMillan)

Step Three:  Enjoy the BBQ's finished products with entire Team.

Step Four:  Run with Teammates in a strong pack.  Step 4A:  Surge insanely when foolish competitor angers you by spilling water on your shoes at an aid station.  Step 4B:  Teammates are the only ones crazy enough to match said surge. (photo by Chris Clark, Grand Rapids Press)

Step Five:  Revel in a 1, 2, 3 sweep and victorious finish at the USA National 25K Championships. (photo by Rex Larsen, Grand Rapids Press) (l to r:  Arciniaga, Gotcher and Carlson post-race)

Step Six:  Re-hydrate by double fisting it.  (Carlson can't make up his mind, eventually he settles on the beer.)

Step 7:  Re-fuel with monster nachos...chili topping optional. (Carlson, left, and Gotcher down the largest plate of nachos in Flagstaff.)

Step 7 continued:  ...Or sliders and fries.  (Looking good Nick)

Step 8:  Share the Victory with a Team celebratory dinner.

Step 9:  Consider thoughtfully the next race and next opportunity to inspire and impress!
(Brett, left, and Jordan Horn contemplate Horn's USA National Mile Road Championship Race in a few days.)

Step 10:  Repeat steps one through nine.  Easy, right?