Here is a race report by Jen S. from early2009 that I read again today. I was excited about the snow!
24hrs of Sunlight
Race ReportI'm back home now in Squamish to where there is oxygen in the air and I can breathe like a normal person! The race was awesome and I can't wait to go back next year. However, I will be giving myself a full week to hang in Gunnison prior to the start. Coming from sea level to try and compete with the high altitude mountain folks is just plain hard!!!
So, Friday afternoon we made the drive to Glenwood Springs with crew members Ben and Agnes. It took 3hrs along this gorgeous twisty mountain road and we arrived in time to register, meet 3rd crew member Keith, grab some food and head to Sunlight Mt to our slopeside hotel. Now, Sully and his crew knew what was going on and knew what it takes to dial in this race. Our hotel room as only a few steps away from the transition tent at the base of the hill. Perfect for our crew to dry skins, make food and exchange gear for us! The evening was spent trying to make me a 2nd pair of skins for my rando skiis - mission successful! After cutting a pair of Keiths skins (so nice of him) and bending the crap out of the front attachment and using a carabiner from Ben's key chain, we had a sweet set-up for me to hammer on and switch out. I was so ready to hit this race in the morning.
Had a good sleep and things got under way at 11am! I felt great the first few laps, climbed well and logged some sub 40min laps. However, by 2pm, it was a different story! The altitude was making me sleepy. Frick I thought, how am I going to survive 24hrs of this if all I want to do is curl up on the side of the ski hill! Luckily, as night approached, my adventure racing mentality kicked in and I woke up! Maybe it was my coffee from Beans Around the World that I had brought down (oh ya, we gave it a new name "the 24hr Espresso Special.")My laps times stayed pretty much under 1hr and I was happy with that. I continued to lead in the women's category, putting some time on the 2nd place female with every lap. For the most part, I felt great out there! Ben, Keith and Aggie did a wicked job of feeding me every lap (about 100 -200 calories) and filling my bottle with nuun. We had a great sytem going and the transitions were kept to about 1min each lap.
However, by 4:30am, Things are not going well!!! My breathing became super hard and I just couldn't get the oxygen in. I would skin for 10 steps, stop, gasp for air, feel like having a heart attack and then take another 10 steps. Embarisngly enough, my 16th lap took about 1hr30min or so. Yikes!!! This was not good. I was so dizzy at the top and could hardly focus despite having all the other encouraging competitors doing the team category around me! I only had a 35min lead on 2nd place and thankfully, had put a 3 lap lead on 3rd place. I skiied down to the bottom and we decided that I needed to take a break, get out of the cold, drink hot fluids and try to heat up my lungs. They took me into the hotel room and I layed on the bed, hacking up flem and gasping for air! I tried to sleep as I watched my 1st place slip away!!
What could I do??? The crew kept their eye on the results for me and Dina from Jackson Hole, WY (now in 1st place, ) put some solid laps in on me. However, 3rd place (Polly McLean) was still moving steady and in order to secure my 2nd place, I had to get my butt back out there and suffer another few laps. Frick!!!! It was so painful to move again. 8:15am, I trudged back out, put the skii's on and tackled Sunlight Mt, a few more times, just to be sure! It wasn't pretty but I got the job done.
The real kicker was this......I was so ready for this race, more than I realized. My legs felt amazing and I attribute this to my CrossFit training in Whistler! You'd think that after 24hrs of going up and down some 30,000 vertical ft my body would be tired, but it just wasn't! It was my lack of acclimitization that got me and cost me the the race. I'm happy with 2nd, all things considered, and cant wait to race this one again!
Sully killed it again like a true champion. He did just enough laps to win the men's solo and did it very easily at that ( I think he took 2 x 2hr naps)! The race atmosphere was great and it was well put on! Highly recommend this one to anyone looking for a fun winter challenge! Thanks to Sully and our wicked awesome crew for taking care of me and showing me what true Colorado Rando Racing is all about!