Feeds:
Posts

Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Category

It was three in the morning, completely dark, except for the starlight and the occasional headlamp from a Leadville 100 runner. The only sound was lake water lapping against the shore. We could see the Milky Way and my daughter saw her first shooting star. That became my favorite moment of the summer.

The Boat Ramp at Turquoise is not an official aid station but, at mile 93, it’s the last best area to offer a runner support and we were waiting to see if Jean needed anything or John wanted to bail before completing the last 7 miles.

Our early morning stay at the boat ramp lasted about 45 minutes but my daughter and I only had 10 minutes or so entirely to ourselves. Other support teams came and went. We watched as the runners came by ~ some still running very strong, while others were struggling a bit. I shined my flashlight on the trail letting them see where to continue running as Logan shouted out “Doing great, only 7 miles to go. Two hours and you’ll be under 25!”

Jean and John waved to us as they went by ~ both just wanting to complete the last 7 miles and be done. Thankfully, they didn’t stop since those few minutes would have put Jean over the 25 hours.

Oddly, I did witness cranky supporters who felt since they waited for their runner, the runner was somehow obligated to stop. To me, the best thing was when Jean DIDN’T need anything and felt well enough to continue on. I could certainly entertain myself well enough at all the aid stations ~ the beautiful scenery, people and dog watching and, most importantly, spending time with my family. And then seeing Jean strong enough to continue on at such a great pace made it all the more enjoyable.

I went back the next day to see the boat ramp and it’s a beautiful spot but at night, it’s incredible:

Boat Ramp at Turquoise Lake, Colorado

Boat Ramp at Turquoise Lake, Colorado

It’s been an amazing summer but this is the moment I cherish the most. As I see the leaves turn colors, it’s time to chase a favorite fall moment. Do you have a favorite?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Now on the day that John Wayne died
I found myself on the continental divide
Tell me where do we go from here?
Think I’ll ride into Leadville and have a few beers
Think of “Red River”, “Liberty Valence” can’t believe
the old man’s gone”      Incommunicado  (Jimmy Buffett)

Leadville Silver Dollar Saloon 1879
As Jimmy Buffett fans, we couldn’t resist having “a few beers” in Leadville even if it wasn’t on 11 June, the day John Wayne died.

After being away from Colorado for many years, I was happy my memory of the clean, crisp air and wide open spaces didn’t fail me. We got out of Denver (altitude:5,430 ft) right after landing and made our way to Silverthorn (altitude: 8,730) for an overnighter. Coming from sea level didn’t cause any of us too much trouble although we all felt our hearts beating a little faster and any exertion (running up stairs) caused a bit of heavy breathing.

Colorado driving to Leadville
The next day we headed up to Leadville (altitude: 10,152). Our vacation rental house wouldn’t be ready until 4 pm so we stopped often and enjoyed the beautiful views as much as possible.

Colorado Continental Divide Jean Logan and Patti
Continental Divide ~ Tennessee Pass.

Every continent, except for Antarctica, has a continental divide. The North American Continental Divide divides the flow of water between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Rain or snow that drains on the east side of the Continental Divide flows toward the Atlantic Ocean and drainage to the west side flows toward the Pacific Ocean.

Colorado cabin 2
A Colorado Cabin

Colorado biker outside of leadville
Biking at 10,000 feet

Colorado Leadville Fly shop guide sign
Fly Fishing Anyone? Think “A River Runs Through It” setting

Leadville Turquoise lake Logan walking along the shoreline II
At Turquoise Lake just outside of Leadville

Leadville Sunset from rental house II
Sunset in Leadville

Leadville High Mountain Pies

If you find yourself in Leadville (or nearby), be sure to eat at High Mountain  Pies. After all my travels and more than a few pizza pies (Italy included), I can honestly say it’s the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. YUM! Now I’m on a quest to find a similar pizza in the Washington DC area. Where’s your favorite Pizza place?

Read Full Post »

After spending the weekend amongst the elite ultra runners at the Leadville 100 race, and seeing it with my own eyes, I still can’t fathom how they ran 100 miles. Not only 100 miles but a course which starts at a little under two miles high to an elevation of 12,600 feet.

Leadville cabin near twin lakes
A gorgeous Colorado scene

We arrived in Leadville two days prior to the run and the atmosphere was abuzz with the anticipation of the event. It was wonderful to be back in the Rockies ~ wide-open spaces, beautiful mountains, crisp clean air and charming western towns. Aside from an occasional rapid heart rate when going up steep steps, none of us succumbed to altitude sickness.

My involvement with the 100 mile run, along with my daughter, was strictly as a crew member for our New Zealander friend, Jean. I felt as though I was part of the run ~ minus all the bother with the painful, difficult, exhausting running part. My husband had dual responsibilities as a crew member AND a pacer. Thankfully, he’s still talking to me even after I misinformed him that his running would consist of 10 miles. Once we got to Leadville, Jean asked if he could pace her from Outward Bound/Fish Hatchery aid station to the finish. Hmmm…nothing like a surprise marathon (24 miles) at night.

How we ended up in Leadville: We met Jean three years ago in London. When she first told me she was an ultra runner, I distinctly remember thinking “what a nutter” and didn’t think we would spend much time together since, in my mind, ultra runners surely had to be totally obsessed with little time for other activities. Happily, she shattered those myths ~ her life is as balanced as anyone I know. Fast forward to this past January, we found out Jean was coming to the states to run the Leadville 100 in Colorado. I invited myself and family to be her crew. Somewhat presumptuous since I had no clue how to be a support crew but I’m always willing to learn a new skill set and was thrilled to have the chance to help her meet her goals. As we planned what we would do as her “crew”, we talked about split times. She told us to let her know if she was in danger of missing any cutoffs, especially the final 30 hour cut-off. That all changed when we met her at the first aid station ~ she was running fast enough to finish between 22-23 hours. Even after 75 miles, she was projected to finish between 24-25 hours.

Leadville 100 outbound at the Outward Bound fish hatchery aid station
At the Outward Bound/Fish Hatchery station

John joined her at the 76 mile point (Outward Bound/Fish Hatchery aid station) and this is where it became apparent as to the importance of having a pacer who could help with the timing. We knew she had a good shot of finishing under 25 hours which meant she would get the coveted big belt buckle. We next saw John after he had been running 13.5 miles with her and his only comment to me was “I’m running with a billy-goat!”

Highlights of the Leadville 100:

bazu-6820817
Photo credit: Official Leadville 100 Race Series.
Jean crossing the finish line at 24:57:15 ~ with a smile on her face.  Not going to lie, we were holding our breath wondering if she’d make it under 25 hours.

Leadville rainbowBeautiful rainbow and an inspiring message on the fence.

Leadville 100 Jean at Twin Lakes aid stationJean coming into the Twin Lakes station well under the time we expected her to be there. Leadville 100 at the Fish Hatchery stop #2 chilly and slight drizzle. Loved the camaraderie with the other crews. It was a little chilly and raining but spirits were still high.Leadville Dog
There were so many dogs ~ including this cutie.

Leadville 100 at the start of the run 4am
The 4am start was fun especially the playing of the national item and the shotgun (a real one) start.

Leadville 100 last runner under 30 hours
The “last ass” finisher. He came in right under 30 hours. He’s a cross-country coach and his students walked with him across the finish line. He didn’t topple over at the end ~ he’s kissing the ground. There were lots of cheers and even a couple of tears.

Over 600 runners started the run and 312 finished. It’s a tough run and I was thrilled to be a small part of Leadville 100. I have no ambition to actually run a 100 miles but I would certainly be on a crew again ~ it was a lot of fun planning out what to have at the stops and cheering the runners on. We clapped for everyone who came through the stations.

Next time I’ll actually know what I’m doing!!

Read Full Post »