Colorado Bend was the third stop of the Capt’n Karl’s night-time summer series and I was excited to enjoy some trail miles with the tribe. The trail series has three distances to enjoy – 60 km, 30 km, or 10 km, with a staggered start time beginning at 7:00 pm. Headlamps turn on between 8:30-9:00 pm.
New trail and park for me so I was excited to check it out.
At the start line in a nice canopy of shade from the hills blocking the setting sun, it actually felt pretty nice with temps dangling around 100F…but dry.
Fifteen minutes after the 60 km runners took off, Joe told us 30 km runners to “go!…and if you didn’t bring a bottle, you are stupid.” Fortunately, I brought two and felt slightly smart. That would change later…
Why bring bottles? The Capt’n Karl series went paper cup-less this year. I think it is cool that they are giving this a test-drive and hope it sticks.
I watched runners cross the timing mat before I jumped in mid-pack.
The 30 km course is lolly-pop – three miles out, a loop, and three miles back to the finish.
Relaxed and a flat dirt road for the first 1/3 mile provided a nice opportunity to get all the plumbing workin’ before hopping on the singletrack.
Hanging mid-pack means a bottle neck once at the singletrack. We all merge from four-wide down to single file and begin a gradual rollin’ climb up amongst an abundance of fist and foot sized fixed rocks. I don’t care how hard you kick them, they aren’t going anywhere. The big rocks usually aren’t a big deal but it is those smaller ones that can surprise you and grab a toe or twist an ankle.
All worth having in your toolbox on this run.
The trail flowed like a river (with lots of smilin’ rocks) through a canopy of trees. The first mile on the trail was essentially a hike before I could slide past a few of the runners and begin to find a running rhythm on the singletrack.
One bottle to drink and the other to squeeze over my head for a bit of cooling between each aid station…felt good.
Shortly before the mile three aid station I began power-hiking up a hill and was stride-for-stride with the famous power-hiker extraordinaire, Chris Russell. Chris can likely power-walk 9:00 minute miles…on trail. I was pretty stoked and thought my power-hiking must be improving, maybe even Chris Russell Certified…and then I found out he had some leg injury and was likely at half-stride power. Damn!
Into the first aid station at mile three-ish, I see Joyce Prusaitis and her team of volunteers. Water refill and a quick and sweaty “Hi” and half-hug with Joyce. Then down the trail feeling good.
This next 5-ish mile segment contained alternating patches of technical and non-technical running. Plenty of nice, runnable downhill grade that allowed you to relax and flow.
Saw some north Texas tread, Jackie, Sonia, Dat, and Malea, getting it done and shared a Woot!
This section of trail is fairly quiet besides a few 60ker’s. The front group was up the trail and the majority was behind me. Lots of open trail ahead.
More water and ice at the aid station.
Had fun seeing how long I could hold off before turning on my headlight.
Over the next 7-ish miles lots of fun twisty single track with a few ups and down. Many of the densely populated rock sections started to become quite funny to run through especially as darkness set in. Many of these sections didn’t allow a way around these jagged little objects, you simply intuitively pick a line and committed.
Fast Feet. Fast Feet.
Envisioned running across hot coals.
Here is where I feel less smart…
Apparently I haven’t worn my headlamp in while…as I danced through the shark teeth segments of trail my headlamp would gradually drop off my forehead and land on my nose (apparently a nice big surface for the light to rest). I stopped, looked at the strapping and it looked like the strap was adjusted as tight as it could go.
Maybe the strap had stretched out?? (Post-race analysis – It hadn’t. Nor was the strap fully tightened. Rookie. )
So I kept cruisin’ along and during any of the coal dancing segments the light would bounce, bounce, drop. Slide it back up. Repeat.
About one mile out from the final aid station, 2:40 on my race clock, it felt like I hit my fitness wall. This was also a really tame trail section with some gradual uphill grade and all runnable if you had the go-jo in ya. I didn’t.
Enjoyed a brief chat with Tom as he was setting himself up for a 60 km finish. My stomach was feeling a little funny so I wasn’t the best conversationalist but we both kept moving forward.
Did my best to regroup over this mile before arriving at the final aid station with 3-ish miles to go.
Grabbed some coke and water and got ready for some more hot coals.
Was able to get running again and mixed in a few walk segments when I started to feel a bit wonky.
Had fun cheering on the front-end 60km chase group in this section as they were heading out for their second and final loop. Noticed EJ and Brandon looking solid.
Survived the final descent down to the dirt road without taking a digger. (sloppy running)
Then a relaxed steady push to the finish on the dirt road/path.
Crossed the line in 3:34:54.
More coke please!
Post Race Thoughts
- The two handhelds worked nice. One to drink, one to bathe in.
- Really like the simple vests for storage of nutrition and stuff.
- The Patagonia Evermore shoes worked great 95% of the time. Could have used a bit more buffering a dozen or so times when I stepped just right (or wrong) on a rock.
- Bobblehead headlamp not so fun. Take a look at the light before the race and make sure you know how to adjust it.
- Fun to be back at the start line with the tribe.
Thanks Brad, Joe, and all the amazing volunteers for a great event!
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com