TransRockies Run 2013
Vail to Beaver Creek
20.9 miles, 5200 feet Vertical
Can you believe the final day is here?
We woke up excited and a little tired. The final days’ breakfast was the same from the Gourmet Cowboy. I loaded up on Bacon since it was the last day. Everyone was in good spirits and excited to get the last day in the books and see that finish line.
The bag was packed for the final time and we wished our tent a fond farewell.
Lisette was feeling great but was a little concerned about the heat forecast for the day. I was still quite sore in the left knee and right shin. Our plan was to do the same thing we had done on previous days and run as we felt like it and hike other times.
The day started from the finish of Stage 5. We ran up Vail Mountain and across and then down into/through town. A pedestrian bridge brought us across the interstate (Hwy 70) and along some more town road until we finally started the uphill on the North Vail Trail and Buffehr Creek.
The uphill (again) was harder than we expected. We were quite happy to power hike comfortably with the normal crew of people we had gotten to know (two friendly couples – one from Germany and one from Tahiti). The Birch and Aspen were gorgeous as we worked our way to checkpoint 1.
A very slight downhill and then more gradual up across a saddle to checkpoint 2 and our high point of the day. This was about mile 10 and we were feeling good.
Then the downhill started and it was steep. I immediately had issues with the left knee. It just wouldn’t let me stride at all without some sharp pain. After a lot of walking and experimenting with technique (and getting passed by lots of people) I found a shuffle worked pretty well. It was kind of a hop on my right leg that allowed me to not bend the left leg much and go at a bit faster pace than a walk. Walking was even hurting at this point so the shuffle was a great compromise as it didn’t hurt.
After winding our way down through a variety of trail types we reached Avon. There were a couple miles of pavement to deal with (actually easier to jog) and we reached checkpoint 3. We were warned about the uphill before the finish but were still excited to be almost done. There were several times during the day so far that I just had to put my head down and march forward. Needless to say I was happy it was the last day.
We leave checkpoint 3 and the trail goes up. And then it goes up more. And then it goes across and up some more. And then it has some switchbacks that go up more. Good grief when does the uphill end?
A mountain biker was coming down and told us we were almost there. After an initial bit of excitement we learned that anyone that says “you are almost there,” is not to be trusted!
We finally reached the high point and had a downhill to the finish. Luckily, this downhill was a wide trail (possible a jeep trail or mountain access trail) that allowed us to jog to the finish. We even passed someone on the way (the competitive stuff never really goes away completely).
We crossed the finish line together and had a long hug and a kiss. It felt incredible to have completed the run with Lisette.
I grabbed a bag of ice and we hobbled across the street to our hotel. The Osprey is a nice, small hotel. Our room was not ready so we went to the bar and ordered some food and beer. It was delicious. Maybe they have great food there. Maybe we were just filled with endorphins that altered our taste. Either way, we enjoyed it thoroughly.
After finally getting checked into the hotel we cleaned up and then went to check out the Beaver Creek area across the street. It was very similar to Vail in that there were a mix of shops, restaurants, bars and tourist traps. Beer, ice cream, and window shopping allowed us to kill time until the final dinner and ceremony began.
Once again the food was good and we had drink options (besides Michelob Ultra). Awards were handed out and we retained our 2nd place overall in the Open Mixed category. The final award was $1000.00 towards any Transrockies event. We knew that was coming so we had already decided we would sign up for next year!
The TransRockies experience was all that we had hoped for and expected…and more. It was organized very well from the initial arrangements through the daily grind to the final ceremony. The staff and volunteers were helpful, friendly, engaging, and hard working. The event had something for everyone. If you are competitive, there are elite athletes to contend with. If you are just wanting a 6 day hike to celebrate a marriage, life, or anything else then you will have company.
We made several new friends and acquaintances that I am sure we will see again at future events somewhere in the world.
I’m looking forward excitedly to our next adventure!