Colorado June 2019
Dates: September 10 - 15, 2019
People: Mark, Marcia, Denny
- 9-10 (Travel Day)
- 9-11 (La Plata Peak)
- 9-12 (Brown's Creek Falls)
- 9-13 (Steamboat, Rabbit Ears Pass)
- 9-14 (Run Rabbit Run 50)
- 9-15 (Travel Day)
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 10
I worked this morning and then took off the afternoon as it would be an early trip to the airport. With a 4pm flight Sarah and Anya drove me up to the airport and dropped me off at 2:40pm. I was amazed how few people were around, relatively speaking. I made it through security quick and was out to my gate. We made it out on time. It was a mostly full flight into Midway. We arrived 20 minutes early. It was a bit of a bumpy flight and so we had minimal drink service, water only.
I walked a bit at Midway seeing if any food options caught my attention. As I waited at my gate I noticed a 5:05p flight to Denver (an hour earlier than mine). I thought might as well see if I can get on it. They had room, but I would have to pay the fare difference which would be substantial so I declined. My 6:05p flight was boarded on time and only half full. We had lots of room. We left on time and had a nice flight out to Denver, arriving about 20 minutes early. I made a quick stop in Concourse B for Chick-fil-A and took it to go so I could get to baggage claim before my bags sat waiting.
Once I had my bags I made another quick beeline to Door 504 to see if there was an 8pm Epic shuttle, but no luck. So I ate my Chick-fil-A as I sat waiting for the 9:30pm shuttle. The shuttle was on time and it was only me and one other passenger for the ride out to Frisco. I slept some of the drive out. The other passenger had a home dropoff in Dillon which then left me and the driver. He took us over the Dam Reservoir road and then into the Frisco Transpo Center where Mom and Dad waited. It was about 11:20pm, we made it 10 minutes early.
It was 12:30am when we hit the house down in BV. I unwound a little bit and unpacked a few things. Dad and I settled on doing La Plata from its southwest ridge in the morning and to leave the house targeting the trailhead at first light.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 11
With about four hours of sleep, Dad and I were up at 5:35am this morning to get ready for another 14er climb. We were out the door just after 6am. We drove up to the Clear Creek road to Winfield and then on to the West Winfield trailhead. We made it there at 7:09am.
We were back to the car at 2:38pm. We made the drive back to the house and got there around 4pm. We took a nice long break. It wasn't an exhausting day on La Plata but it was still a 14er hike. We had the rest of the evening free and so it was nice to be able to enjoy a peaceful evening. We had plenty of beer and a good shower. My dad grilled steak for supper while my mom prepped potatoes and corn on the cob. Had a great supper and then settled in to watch the Cubs game.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 12
I was up at 7:55am today. I actually slept in a bit. Rest was a good thing this week as I had a long day yesterday and needed the rest before the 50-miler on Saturday. We took the morning pretty leisurely as we had no rush into anything today. I had breakfast and spent a little time reflecting on yesterday's 14er hike. Also spent time making final thoughts and preparations for Saturday.
By 10:00am we had finally settled on the perfect hike for the day. I had thought of Kroenke Lake or even another short segment hike of the CT as options, but we came to Brown's Creek Falls as the perfect choice. Had just less than 6 miles and only 1000 feet of elevation gain plus a beautiful sight at the turnaround. We made it to the trailhead at 10:45am.
By 2:15pm we were back to the car and it was about 3:15p when we made it back to the house. Dad and I worked on a quick turnaround to get the kayaks loaded onto the vehicle and whatever gear we would need for that. The weather was looking good with a slight chance for wind. It was just about 3:30p when we left the house. We drove up to Twin Lakes and hit the boat ramp on the northeast side.
We did finish up right around 7p having been out on the water almost 3 hours and getting in 6.9 miles of paddling. A big day. We packed up and made our way back down to BV. We picked up carryout at Jade Palace for supper, I had the pork fried rice which is pretty good there.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 13
We kept today a very relaxing morning. We didn't have to be in any great hurry to get over to Steamboat. I spent time getting my things packed so that I had everything ready for the race the next day. I had a tub with basic essentials as well as a clothes bag ready to go.
We left the house at 11:15am to drive into BV. We hit Sorelles Deli for lunch as Mom and Dad wanted me to try their Italian beef. It was good, though not in the same category as Portillo's. The beef was similar though not the same texture and it definitely didn't have all the flavor and seasonings. These guys also used ciabatta bread instead of a hoagie. So a nice sandwich, but not other worldly.
We left BV at 11:50a and drove up through Frisco. We made it through Kemmerling a small and rustic looking town. We were surprised how the landscape changed as we went north. Things got dry and a bit flatter with more plateaus than mountains.
It was 2pm when we hit Rabbit Ears pass. We hiked up the road to the Peak for half a mile and back just to scope that out. Then we hiked the CDT towards Dumont Lake campground and then back. This helped us get an idea of what this area would look like during the race. The plan was for Mom and Dad to be my crew at this aid station and have some of my essentials there waiting for me.
We left the pass about 3p and drove on down into Steamboat. We checked into the Steamboat Lodge Hotel and spent an hour there just relaxing. At 5:10p we drove over to the ski resort. We walked around just a bit which was enjoyable for Mom and Dad. They had skiied at Steamboat back in the 80s and it was a blast from the past to finally return there. At 5:25p I did my race check-in at the Steamboat Grand. They had a tent outside on the 2nd level. They gave me my bib, a t-shirt, some Smartwool socks, and had a table with racewear being sold. I walked around a bit more heading over to the ski area base to see if I could understand the race start area.
At 6pm they had the pre-race meeting in the tent at the Grand and the race directors went through everything we needed to know and handed out some free goodies from the race sponsors. This meeting went 40 minutes. Mom and Dad picked me up after and we drove over to the shopping area with Walmart and grabbed supper at Jimmy John's. We did a quick hit into Walmart for some snacks and then headed back to the hotel. It was a quiet evening in the hotel as I was looking to get some sleep once I was all packed up and ready. It was probably like 9:30pm when I got to bed.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 14
It was a 5am wakeup today for the race. It started at 6a and of course I wanted to get there early, but not too early. There wasn't anything to do there but stand and wait for the race to start. My dad got up early as well and at 5:20am we made the drive over to the ski area. He dropped me off close by and I walked to the start. He ended up parking at the Upper Knolls and then he too walked to the start. It was dark and in the upper 30s. They walked us over the creek and out to the base of the dirt road. All of the spectators lined he side of the road to wish us all off. With a string of glowing headlamps 6am hit and they got us started. It was almost anticlimactic in the dark, yet still wonderful.
After the race wrapped up for me we walked to the car and started the drive south out of Steamboat Springs. We followed CO131 south to I70 and then over to Avon where we had reserved a room at a Comfort Inn. Originally, I had in my plans to stay at the Steamboat Mountain Lodge a second night so that I could simply crash there after the race. I would then drive my rental car out to DIA in the morning. Then Dad said they would do all the driving and that I should use the Epic shuttles and we decided to go with that plan. This allowed us to do some of the driving out of Steamboat on Saturday night.
We got into the hotel perhaps around 10pm. I wasn't overly tired yet, surprisingly, but I was definitely looking forward to a shower and fresh clothes. I had some chafing pretty bad from the race and so I was looking for comfort.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 15
After a long day yesterday, there was no rest for the weary this morning. I was quite curious how my legs would feel after yesterday's 50 miles. I was certain my quads would be wrecked but that was not the case. I didn't run as much downhill as I otherwise could have. I was pretty stiff with some soreness as a whole in the legs. My movements were slow but I could go.
We were all up at 5:30a to get the car packed by 5:50am. We hit the Comfort Inn breakfast at 6am right when it opened. Their breakfast was not overly impressive, the basic sausage patties and eggs, a waffle maker, and a few other basics. We hit the road for Frisco shortly after 6:20am. We got into the Transpo Center right around 7am and waited around until the shuttle arrived right at 7:15am. It was a nearly full shuttle, only one open seat.
I figured I would sleep on the shuttle drive, but that didn't happen. I read and watched a little TV and took in the views. Somehow I was wide awake. We got into Denver about 10 minutes early at 9:05am and was dropped off at the terminal. It was slow moving for me carrying my heavy duffel on the tired legs but I got my bag checked and then spent 40 minutes in the security line waiting to get through. Conveniently, I had all the time in the world.
I made it out to C Concourse and was ravenously hungry. I hit the Villa Pizza place twice for slices. It was really time to get caught up on calories. Our flight out of Denver was full and we got left on time. It was direct to Detroit and they put us into Detroit about 4:50p, 10 minutes early. Once my bags arrived Sarah was there with Anya to grab me and make the trek home.