Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Moab's Red Hot 33K and 55K: An adiUltra Team Introduction

Chris Martinez, the race director for the Moab Red Hot 33K and 55K, rang me last fall and shared that he'd be opening up his event to 800+ runners.  I wasn't surprised, his races have become well known winter icons in the trail racing world.  The 33K serves as the first race of the year for the La Sportiva Mountain Cup Series and the 55K acts as a competitive fitness test for hundreds of ultramarathoners.  You can't beat this contest's location: Moab, Utah.  Smack dab between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and a finish line on the banks of the mighty Colorado River.  Red, sheer sandstone cliffs, petrified sand dunes, and the mighty snow covered La Sal Mountains act as the backdrop.

So, it's not hard to imagine how this little race, first run 2004, as a Fat Ass event, has blossomed into the behemoth it is today.  On that inaugural February day the course ran on the opposite side of the Colorado River.  With an arrow volley from Roch Horton, 44 runners headed up Pritchett Canyon, down Hunter Canyon to Kane Creek Road, over Hurrah Pass, past "Camelot", through Jackson Hole, and up to and down Amasa Back.  Then, in 2007, Martinez gave rebirth to this event and its course as it's known today.

Paul Dewitt on the cover of the 2004 edition of Ultrarunning Magazine.  He was the first to descend into icy Hunter Canyon that day.  He kept his lead and won the event in 3:57 by out kicking Grand Junction's Kevin Koch.  Dudes like Koerner, Meltzer, Hesseck, Vega, Ostrom, Graubins, and Torrence would give chase.  Crested Butte's Anthea Schmid would out run Darcy Piceu (now Africa) and Helen Cospolich to win in 4:39.  There were also 14 finishers in the 12 mile fun run option and a 50k mountain biker in the mix.

The opening lines of the story, by Jana Gustman, and a photo (by Jeff Heasley) of Roch Horton threading the bullseye with his bow and arrow to get the event underway.

2013 marked my fifth return to Martinez' official event.  This year I was able to wrangle the entire newly formed adiUltra Team into showing.  Like other teams before us, notably the Pearl Izumi Ultrarunning Team, we felt this a good place to have everyone together so team members could meet and greet one another.  Even though they had other racing plans, work to contend with, and some were recovering from illness they all put on a smile and ran either the 33K or 55K.  I look forward to seeing what this team does in 2013.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch a shot of our seventh adiUltra Team member Paulette Zillmer (who was recovering from a root canal, but ran the 55K anyway).  Be on the look out for her in these upcoming races:  Gorge Waterfalls 50K, the Wasatch Front 100 Mile, and as she defends her title at the Zane Grey 50 Mile.  Check out Paulette's team profile here.

Full 33K and 55K race day results can be found here.  On to the photos...

The adiUltra Team (led by Zoroaster) heads out on Kane Creek Road (the setting of the 2004 Red Hot) for a pre-race shake out run. (photo by Brianna Torres)

Race Director Chris Martinez assumes his race day position behind the megaphone.

Runners begin the first of many climbs as the "red hot" sun shines on.  (photo by Matt Clark)

The 55K lead pack with Rob Krar, Dakota Jones, Brian Tinder and Kevin Koch.  (photo by Jo Weakly Agnew)

The 33K lead pack with Jason Bryant, Trent Briney, Josh Brimhall and James Bonnett.  (photo by Jo Weakly Agnew)

Typical course terrain for roughly the first 17 miles.  The second half?  Well, that's a different story.  (photo by Jo Weakly Agnew)

Flagstaff's Rob Krar would go on to set a new Red Hot 55K course record in 3:44:05.  Factoid:  Krar ate 11 gels in the course of this race.  That's solid fueling!  (photo by Kristin Wilson)

adiUltra Team member and 2:32 marathoner Emily Harrison would set a new women's record in the 55K by breaking the tape in 4:24:02. (photo by Kristin Wilson)

Two weeks after his Sedona Marathon win, adiUltra Team member Brian Tinder cracks the top ten in the 55K event. (photo by Kristin Wilson)

Tinder with the classic La Sal Mountain backdrop.  (photo by Kristin Wilson)

adiUltra Team member Ian Torrence misses the masters podium by two minutes.  (photo by Kristin Wilson)

Krar refuels quickly at the Metal Masher Trailhead. (photo by Jo Weakly Agnew)

adiUltra Team member Trent Briney finishes third in the 33K.  (photo by Kristin Wilson)

Runners strung out along the course. (photo by Jo Weakly Agnew)

A week after his win at the Pemberton Trail 50K, adiUltra Team member and Red Rock Running Company (Las Vegas, NV) owner Josh Brimhall would stretch his legs in the 33K.  (photo by Kristin Wilson)

Crown King Scramble 50K's race director and adiUltra Team member James Bonnett runs the 33K event in good form.  (photo by Kristin Wilson)

Bonnett and Briney run stride for stride in the final four miles of the 33K.  (photo by Travis Zeke Burmaster)

Brimhall paces La Sportiva runner Jason Bryant in the final miles of the 33K.  (photo by Travis Zeke Burmaster)

The winning women:  Emily Harrison and Flagstaff's Alicia Shay (the 33K winner) enjoy the post-race festivities. (photo by Erin Strout)