I accomplished my goal of getting a great tan in Fruita this weekend at the Desert RATS 25 mile race. I approached this race more as a fun, well supported training run but still managed to make it hurt a little bit. When the gun went off Tim Parr and Daniel Goding shot out front in hot pursuit for the $100 preem that awaited the first runner to mile 1.3. I thought about trying to stick with them but wisely chose to keep the effort sufficiently chill.
Timmy got the 100 beans and quickly slowed the pace significantly. Dan took the lead as Timmy and I fell into a similar pace up the initial climb. On the ensuing descent a guy I didn’t recognize came blowing past us looking very strong. I was pretty sure that Timmy was the one to beat so I didn’t feel tempted to give chase so early on. So, for most of the first seven or eight miles, Timmy and I ran in 3rd and 4th place chatting about our plans for the coming summer months. Timmy is going for the Leadville, Wasatch double. What a freak.
Soon enough we caught up to the leaders, who were also running together, and ran as a 4 man group for a bit. The trail flattened out here and I immediately felt more comfortable. I’ve found that all the road running I’ve been doing for the past six months has made me very clumsy and slow on really technical trail, particularly anything with a downhill grade. I’m hoping for a rapid spring thaw so I can get back on the local trails and build back the type of agility necessary to be a truly fast trail runner.
Anyway, I took the lead here for the first and only time of the day. Timmy was in tow and we quickly built a bit of separation on the other guys. We continued like this until about mile 12 where there is a short but steep climb to another flattish plateau section. Timmy jumped in front here and slowly began building a lead on me. He ran through the aid at mile 13 as I stopped to fill my bottle. By the time I was back on the trail he had at least a minute on me and I pretty much figured I couldn’t catch a guy with his speed.
Still I gave chase as well as I could and ended up finishing a couple minutes back of Timmy in 3:11 which was good for 2nd overall. What a beautiful morning of running. This course is stunning. I am glad I didn’t run the 50 miler however. Right as I was finishing we could really start feeling the heat of the day. It was probably only 65 degrees but, when you’ve been running in 20s and 30s for many months, it feels much hotter. Last year I ran the 50 in similar conditions and really suffered during the second half, especially since I had never heard of salt pills. I was a crampy mess and wasn’t man enough to do it again this year.
I could only stick around at the finish for a few minutes and was happy to see Ashley Arnold, a fellow Roaring Fork Valley resident, crush the field on her way to the female victory. Ashley is a very strong runner. Look for her to be a dominant force this summer.
Huge congrats to Duncan Callahan on his convincing win in the 50 miler. He looked rock solid at the 25 mile turnaround and was apparently able to crush his second lap and finish in 7:38. Stout time on a tough course.
I highly recommend the Desert RATS series. The organizers are very passionate about putting on a quality event and it shows. Great aid stations, great marking, and great atmosphere. Pumped to come back.
I drove directly from the finish line in Fruita to Invesco Field in Denver for the annual CU vs. CSU Lacrosse battle. It was great to see all the old Lax bros again especially during a convincing Ram victory. I am officially on vacation until May 12th and couldn’t be happier. Time to get in shape. Next is Collegiate Peaks 50 on May 7th. Fire it up.