Nearly 90 TALON athletes headed to the small Colorado Rockies mountain town of Leadville for a 100 mile adventure under run-happy conditions. The legendary Leadville 100 all started back in 1983 (Remember Miami Vice, Magnum P.I., parachute pants, and breakdancing?) with 45 runners. The sport has grown a bit through the years. This year around 1000 walked across the start-line timing mat at 4:00am for this out-and-back run on a mix of paved road, gravel mountain roads, double-track, and single-track fun. An event like this likely doubled the population of the city (2,643 – 2011) for the weekend.
While all the course is above 9,000 feet, the big bang for this course is the Hope Pass (elevation 12,600 feet) grunt near the end of the 50 mile midway point of the race. And when you make the return trip, she be waiting for ya.
30 hours. Keep it movin!
Every state of the TALON region represented this year! Pretty cool!
Texas laced up the most starters with 56, followed by New Mexico with 17, Oklahoma nine, Arkansas three, and Louisiana one!
Shaheen Sattar of north Texas lead our TALON tribe across the finish in 22:42:41, and earning a second place finish in the female race!
Douglas Ratliff, also of Texas, was our final TALON finisher! Doug ran up 6th Street and crossed the line in 29:54:23.
And how about our ultra slammer, Chris Barnwell?
Finish – 29:28:10! BAM! One more to go!
What a weekend in the mountains for all!!
Complete TALON Results
*Distances noted may not be completely accurate due to the challenging of finding accurate aid station splits for the event.
- Robert Alexander TX – 44.5 miles
- Greg Bargo TX – 29:26:10
- Christopher Barnwell TX – 29:28:10
- Cara Bass TX – 29:48:45
- Ryan Beard TX – 27:53:37
- Mariela Botella TX – 44.5 miles
- Edward Brown TX – 24:30:00
- Matt Bush TX – 50 miles
- Raul Cardenas TX – 29:00:29
- David Coats TX – 76.5 miles
- German Collazos TX – 44.5 miles
- Dale Cougot TX – 29:39:12
- Jason Crockett TX – 26:22:37
- Tyler Curiel TX – 24:21:38
- Ashley Dack TX – 70.9 miles
- Ted Davison TX – 27:47:22
- Sarah Flores-Valdez TX – 23.5 miles
- Denver Fredenburg TX – 76.5 miles
- Keith Gartrell TX – 44.5 miles
- Rebecca Gartrell TX – 44.5 miles
- Bobbie Glasscock TX – Twin Lakes 1
- Robert Ham TX – 26:45:59
- Erik Hanley TX – 44.5 miles
- Brian Hill TX – 29:24:28
- Celeste Hoffman-Luke TX – 39.5 miles
- Jean Hofschulte TX – 44.5 miles
- Gary Horn TX – 28:20:51
- Nicole Studer TX – 24:25:43
- Mark Keenum TX – 44.5 miles
- Ray Liberatore TX – 25:56:46
- Jason Lippman TX – 24:42:08
- Steve Macdonald TX – 29:21:51
- Allison Macsas TX – 29:18:31
- Steve Maliszewski TX – 60.5 miles
- Jered Mansell TX – 44.5 miles
- Edgar Martinez TX – 29:39:03
- Chris McDermand TX – 28:24:48
- Jeff Miller TX – 24:47:55
- Francisco Moreno TX – 44.5 miles
- Mike Munoz TX – 60.5 miles
- Kimberly Pilcher TX – 44.5 miles
- Nick Polito TX – 86.5 miles
- Scott Rabb TX – 23:06:23
- Douglas Ratliff TX – 29:54:23
- Steven Richard TX – 28:43:29
- Lorenzo Sanchez TX – 23:46:51
- Shaheen Sattar TX – 22:42:41
- Sandeep Shah TX – 29:42:19
- Erik Simpson TX – 55.5 miles
- Jennifer Sticksel TX – 27:49:29
- Barbara Stoll TX – 50 miles
- Robert Svatek TX – 24:51:16
- Miguel Valdez TX – 39.5 miles
- Rolando Vasquez TX – 27:06:55
- Rich Wessels TX – 55.5 miles
- Joshua Witte TX – 50 miles
- Alison Jumper AR – 26:17:12
- Tom Lane AR – 70.9 miles
- Stephen Ray Stafford AR – 55.5 miles
- Derek Dowell LA – 25:19:02
- Brandon Bleakley OK – 76.5 miles
- Jeremy DeGroot OK – 50 miles
- Randy Ellis OK – 28:15:51
- Lori Enlow OK – 28:40:23
- Ryan Nail OK – 50 miles
- Aaron Ochoa OK – 44.5 miles
- Nick Seymour OK – 23:28:32
- David Sooter OK – 29:29:27
- Eddie Spencer OK – 26:19:49
- Neil Blake NM – 55.5 miles
- Bill Blankenship NM – 55.5 miles
- Jason Bousliman NM – 60.5 miles
- Devin D Farrell NM – 30:26:55
- Bill Groth NM – 70.9 miles
- Judd Haaland NM – 23:44:55
- Vlad Henzl NM – 60.5 miles
- Jason Hoy NM – 50 miles
- Charles Keeling NM – 27:58 :10
- Bobby Keogh NM – 39.5 miles
- Clifford Matthews NM – 29:18:32
- Erin Mayer NM – 23.5 miles
- Eric Pope NM – 76.5 miles
- Randy Silva NM – 39.5 miles
- Katrin Silva NM – 23:16:25
- Tim Walsh NM – 44.5 miles
- Timothy White NM – 28:25:19
Ryan Beard – Texas
Leadville Trail 100 was one of my bucket list items that lived up to high expectations. I grew up in Colorado and hadn’t been back in 17 years, so this was a sort of a home coming for me. The buildup in Leadville is grandioso. I suspect there is a love/hate relationship with this race for the local Leadville people. Their town doubles in size and every restaurant is packed. Going into the race I felt good about my training although I had no altitude training to speak of.
The race is a beautiful runnable course. For the first 40 miles, I ran pretty well. Then you leave the valley floor at 9,300 and head toward Hope Pass, at 12,300 feet. The next 20 miles is a solid hike followed by a quick downhill and then repeat, going up, back down, back up and then back down. I came into mile 50 around the 11 hour mark.
At mile 60 of the race I got a pretty severe case of bronchitis. They gave me a nebulizer at the aid station and then I spit stuff from my lungs for the next four hours and then repeated. The 15 miles of the race slow for me because I couldn’t breathe well. I could only take shallow breathes, due to my lungs being filled with mucus.
27 hours and 53 mins was my finish time.
Overall, the race went well. I think that if I didn’t get the bronchitis, I could have broken the 25 hour barrier. Maybe next time.
Jeff Miller – Texas
I had a training plan and a sub 25-hour goal. Those are great, but since (in my opinion) 90% of ultra running happens in the 6″ between my own ears, I needed to get a little confidence and reassurance from some veterans. I was able to talk to three seasoned trail runners: Stephen McNeil, Mo Forshee, and of course Steven Moore.
Once on the course, I ran my race. The out-and-back race can be divided into three sections. Start to Halfmoon, Halfmoon to Halfmoon, and then Halfmoon to Finish. I went out slow, which was ok, but I fell off pace by over an hour by the time I hit the mid-third of the race, aka the heart of the race (which includes a double crossing of Hope Pass). My focus and mental reminders were, eating three gels an hour (“eat like a viking”) and staying hydrated (“pee like a horse”). By the time I hit Hope Pass, I was fueled, hydrated, and ready to do work. My goal was to power hike it slow and keep my heart rate under control. I had no issue getting up and over twice and I actually picked up time over my goal. After stopping at a cabin at the Twin Lakes aid station for a quick shower and change into warm dry clothes, I began the last third. This was the section that I was going to make time on and thanks to two wonderful pacers, Ning Cabiles (accomplished ultra runner) and Byron Benoit (accomplished runner and Ironman) I did exactly that. I carved away at my time deficit and exceeded my projected splits. Last but not least, were my two instrumental and amazing crew-leaders (half crew/half cheerleader), Kera Simon, my girlfriend and Mari Zapata, a good friend. Needless to say, mission accomplished.
As for any little antidotes, back in 2011, I DNF’d at the KEYS 100 due to poor mental focus. I keep the race bib hung in my office on a corkboard behind my desk to remind me of (1) how poorly I managed the race, (2) how awful I felt as my legs seized up from cramps and I heaved some awful yellow fluid from my gut, and (3) how much it sucked to go home a DNF’er. I wanted to use all that emotion and pain to motivate me during Leadville. So that bib was folded up under my Leadville bib as an extra little kick to my six. (…and yes it is back hanging on my corkboard!)
Brian Hill – Texas
- Register soon – If you want to run this race I would do so before it goes to a lottery – I thought there was a 750 runner limit but they had over 1200 registered and almost 1000 at the starting line! I can’t imagine there not being a cap and lottery soon.
- No time to waste - This race has some of the tighter cut-offs for a mountain 100 – plan on staying ahead of them early with most of the first 40 miles being very runnable with the exception of a few short, steep ups in a few places.
- Altitude - I thought training in 105 degree heat during the day would be a good substitute for cool weather at altitude. It wasn’t. It’s 10,000 feet+ and you’re going to be winded unless you’re able to go and spend a few weeks ahead of time. I did get a prescription for Diamox which seemed to speed up the altitude acclimatization process.
- Pacer - Make sure you have one. You won’t be alone on the trails because there are so many people – even towards the end I finished in 29:24 and there were 80 people that finished after me in under 30 hours – so there’s tons of people and you won’t be alone – but you need the support and camaraderie that a pacer provides. My pacer helped me save time at the aid stations – encouraged me throughout – made sure we were on track to finish – and was really the brains of the operation. I just took orders. Plus – it’s a ton of fun to hang out for 17 hours with a great friend in the mountains!
- Crews - my crew of one was very frustrated. There were so many people getting to the aid stations that it caused huge traffic issues. I missed her at mile 40 after she walked two miles with a folding chair and other supplies – saw her for the first time at mile 60 – and then didn’t see her until the finish because there were just too many people. Plan on running this race off of your drop bags – and if you get to see your crew consider it a bonus. Prepare them for this nightmare so they don’t have an emotional break down in a multi-colored mohawk wig when they miss you at an aid station. Yes – it can and did happen.
- Don’t let the size of the race scare you off - It was a great experience and I’m really glad I made the trip to Leadville and you will be too. It is a bit commercial just because it’s so large – but once you get going and get out on the trails you forget about all of that.
- Not the first time - If you haven’t done some of the tougher 100 mountain runs you might want to do a few as training runs before running Leadville. I ran Bryce 100 and R2R2R and used them as prep. The main factor at Leadville is altitude – yes there are a few big climbs but there are also really long stretches of runnable trail. You need to get used to miles of up and down if you haven’t run in that terrain before.
Raul Cardenas – Texas
The whole race was a pretty neat experience for me as Leadville was my first trail race. I had never done a race longer than a marathon so getting to each [aid] station felt like a huge achievement for me.
Living and training in Dallas, nothing will compare to climbing Hope Pass (twice) and obviously getting to the finish line felt great.
Mariela Botella – Texas
The lead-up to Leadville was the best.
Hanging out with my running buds was priceless. Being in Leadville in August away from the Texas heat was priceless. Running on trails in the mountains at 10,000 feet was challenging!
Alas, Kim Pilcher and I missed the cut-off at Hope Pass by 10 minutes.
We knew Winfield would be crazy, so we told them not to even try it. Heard there was a three mile back-up to park.
Our crew had a 45 minute hike from their parked car just to get to Twin Lakes!
It was just WAY too crowded…both for the crews and specially on the trail over Hope Pass.
I hope Lifetime Fitness corrects the overcrowding issue for future Leadville 100s.
Nicole Studer – Texas
For me, the best part of Leadville was my entire support system who traveled from Texas to be part of the race.
Allison Macsas – Texas
Leadville was my first 100 miler and only my second trail race, the first being the Leadville 50 last year. Though I went in with a healthy respect for the distance, deep down I also assumed that my background as an elite marathoner (2:40 at the 2012 Olympic Trials), several years of heavy mileage and a top 10 finish at the 50 miler would result in a strong, relatively impressive finish. Little did I know that I’d be struggling to make the cutoff…
My highlights and lessons:
*Leadville and the surrounding areas are gorgeous. Even at the worst points I was able to appreciate the view, especially on the top of Hope Pass, and our weather could not have been better. My rain gear and sunblock both went completely unused.
*All of my uphill work, heat training and years of high mileage paid off in dividends! I had no problems with climbs, didn’t notice the altitude and easily kept myself fully hydrated. I nailed my nutrition – stomach and energy issues didn’t plague me at all.
*My failure to do any downhill work or trail running was glaringly obvious! As a weak downhill runner even on the road, the combination of steep descents and technical footing (did I mention that I didn’t do any trail running in preparation?) was a death sentence. I estimate that I lost 2-3 hours on descents. I would have happily climbed Hope Pass four times, rather than climbing twice and descending twice.
*My other half is amazing. Not only did he surprise me with cupcakes and a bunch of Happy Birthday-singing strangers at Twin Lakes, he also stuck with me as a pacer for 22 miles, nearly all night. His longest run in months was seven miles.
*The support from friends and family, particularly the Rogue Running community in Austin, was unbelievable. No matter how discouraged I got, I couldn’t quit knowing how many hundreds of people were cheering me on.
*This race was full of absolutely incredible people. A runner with just one leg, a runner without eyesight, another conquering his 30th consecutive Leadville 100. I was in awe, and continually pushed to keep moving forward.
*I learned that road strength does not translate to trail strength, but that mental strength will get you through just about anything. I’m forever thankful that I had enough to keep myself going, and to get across that finish line in 29 hours and 18 minutes.
I’ll be back!
Steve Maliszewski – Texas
I DNF’d at mile 61 (Twin Lakes #2) I had been throwing up since mile 27 and hadn’t really been able to keep food down. After crossing the river my feet were freezing so I sat at the aid station to take off my shoes. Being low on energy and cold I began to get the shakes pretty bad and the thought have another eight miles of no food and shivering didn’t appeal to me anymore so I decided to call it a day there.
Even though it was a struggle being a flatlander, I loved playing in the mountains. Climbing up to Hope Pass and seeing the aid station and the llamas and the scenery was incredible. The trip down was fun. At the turn around the trip back up Hope was easily the hardest thing I have ever done. I just kept moving forward inch by inch. Once I got to the top it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I began running again and proceeded to bomb down the back side dancing over rocks. Unfortunately my stomach had other plans.
Despite all of this though…I had the time of my life!
Sarah Flores-Valdez – Texas
I had completed three 100s before Leadville and several other ultra races. So when my husband decided that he wanted to run it this year I gave it serious thought as well. I remember sitting at s stop light trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, how I wanted a new challenge. I had done fairly well in my other races and was even starting to place so I wanted to see what else I could do. There was just one thing kind of stalling my decision, how would my asthma treat me at such a high altitude? I pushed that aside and figured that I would never know until I toed the line.
Arriving in Colorado, I meet up with my husband Miguel Valdez, our friends the Gartrells, and super super crew Matt and Nate Rogers.
First big wow moment; why the hell is it 30 degrees in August! I’m from San Antonio, it’s 105 on a cool day. Second wow moment, being on that line at 4:00 in the morning and seeing the variety of people at the start.
When the race started I was fine, felt fine anyway. I had consulted with my doctor who gave me what I needed and I felt that as long as I took it easy I would be ok.
Third wow moment, small uphill at around mile six and I’m starting to gasp a little. I send the husband away because I realize he’s better off without me. I see my crew Matt, who without missing a beat hands me an inhaler and sends me on my way (no pity). I proceed to walk- try to pretend I can jog to the first aid station. Matt is waiting, I ask how my husband and friends are doing. There fine, he fills my stuff up, no pity, go away, and chase that guy right there. I love Matt.
It’s up the first mountain and I’m moving ok, but the tightness is like an elephant on my chest and my throat is now closing up. Inhalers to the rescue, sort of. On my way up I get my fourth wow, the people. I talk several runners/walkers who now inform me of the rare chance were gonna meet cut off and I’m in awe. There’s the IT guy from Denver who has run this three times, hasn’t finished but comes back every time. The Air Force girl who has thrown up seven times and is walking sideways but still moving up the mountain, Maggie from Florida who just finished Keys 100 and whose sons are waiting for her. The list could go on, I got to talk to a lot of people, which I never really get to do.
When we were picked up by the clean up truck I learned that the acreage we were running on was all his. He was out there, unofficial, handing out drinks and helping people out. He drove us down to fish hatchery where we met our crew, who I expected to have left me by then.
Wow number five; a crew that stands by and waits, gets your medical checked out, feeds you, and then forces you to shower (with no pay!) then drives you around to cheer on your husband and friends. I didn’t finish, I can’t even say I got as far as I wanted. I did however challenge myself to the best of my abilities, and like the posted from Leadville says “better to die trying, then live in regret”.
The scenery was great, the mountains huge, and the mountain goats we spotted- Awesome! But more than anything the people that made up this race, were the best thing about Leadville.
Lori Enlow – Oklahoma
After the race I saw the picture of me wrapped in my Cherokee blanket at the start..Feeling cloaked in the love of my family, friends, colleagues, and patients, and I suddenly remembered my ancestors who walked the trail. I wondered what they would think of my journey. As I stood at the start I thought about my excitement and then was struck by the sufferage of their trail. The trail of tears.They walked a very different trail. Not one with aid stations, cheers, and warm soup awaiting them every 10 miles. No finishers medal. No pacers and crew to encourage them and coax them to the finish. The finishers were the ones who survived. Over 40000 Cherokees died on that trail. Our milestones were marked by aid. Theirs were marked by the losses. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, infants, and elderly who died ore were left at this point or that along their trail. Yet not only did the Cherokee survive, but they adapted and prospered. I remembered this as I ran.
Going up Hope Pass: Here is where all of the lead males started coming down the mountain with their pacers. They were flying! But what geeked me out the most was that they were cheering us on…they were cheering ME on! Not just a little raspy “good job”… but “Alright! Keep going! Excellent work!”. Their pacers were even more enthusiastic and wordy. It breathed new life into my legs.
I had come back from the dead once at Winfield, too tired to argue with my pacer that my knee wouldn’t let me decend Hope Pass again. Now we were nearing Half-Pipe around mile 68 and my knee was crippling my downhill and even flat pace.
Moving so slow, I spent a fair amound to time formulating in my brain the words to present a compelling case for my pacer Shannon, so he would leave me the #$% alone and I could quit this race without an audience. I was pleased with my script I had come up with. I thought I would outsmart Shannon. So I presented my case, “Shannon, look…my knee is shot (and it was), I can’t decend, my pace is….we both know I’m eventually going to miss a cutoff….Go ahead, you can catch Tom (another racer) and pace him. He could really use your help….The whole time I was thinking, “Go away, PLEASE!, I don’t want anyone to see me quit!” Well needless to say, I was not nearly as sly as I thought and Shannon refused to go. Tensions rose, he chewed me out and I, in turn, told him in no uncertain terms, with curse words flying, where to go and how to get there. He would not need a pacer or a map for his journey, and he would not miss any cutoffs getting there!
We hit the last aid station maybe 45 minutes under the cutoff. 13.5 miles left to go. My hopes of finishing under 25 hours loooong gone. My only hope to just finish before the cutoff.
With eight miles to go, my husband Todd informed me that if I could “work really hard” I could beat my time from last year. I was sure he was lying. There was no way we were making up enough time. I plotted to kill him. After a few minutes, I decided instead to grill him on how many miles left, what time is it, what is our pace…and I’ll be damned if he was’nt right. It would be close, very close and with eight miles to go no way to tell.
By five miles out I started to believe it was possible. At one mile out, where my crew was to join us to run me in…they weren’t there…I smiled big…I told Todd, “they’re not expecting me yet are they”. He then told me, If you can run all the way in, you WILL beat your time. There was my crew at the top of 6th street and we ran…and ran. For what seemed like years. Someone had the theme to Rocky blaring. It was great! I felt like Rocky!
Nick Seymour – Oklahoma
Start to Mayqueen (mile 13): This feels too easy, I should really slow down…
Mayqueen to Outward Bound (mile 23): These climbs are tough, but I still feel great. What Altitude??? Quote to crew, “No more F*%#ing Peanut Butter GUs!”.
Outward Bound to Halfpipe (mile 26): Two miles on the road at a solid pace, then oh crap, I can’t run flats… Quote at Pipeline to my Crew, “Sh!t just got real!”.
Pipeline to Halfpipe (mile 29): Why am I doing this?
Halfpipe to Twin Lakes (mile 39): I just got passed by a 65 year old who is shuffling up the climb while I power hike…Wow, need some terrain to train on like this in Oklahoma. On the downhill section into Twin Lakes, I caught back up to everyone who had passed me and I was feeling invincible.
Twin Lakes to Hopeless (mile 44): Leaving Twin Lakes on top of the world… Start of Hope Pass, let the hike fest commence! I got smoked by everyone during this section climbing 3,400 feet. I’d take 20 steps then have to stop and catch my breath… Um, yeah I guess that training on Mt. Scott wasn’t that great and I suck at altitude.
Hopeless to Winfield (mile 50): Holy crap, I have to climb this damn mountain again. Picked up Bla (Brandon Abla) as my pacer.
Winfield to Hopeless (mile 56): Dying, dying, dying during the climb. Lots of stops and minimal forward progress.
Hopeless to Twin Lakes (mile 61): I can run again! Blew down the descent and took a bath in the river! Blew out the quads on the way down.
Twin Lakes to Halfpipe (mile 71): Picked up Josh Snyder as my pacer. Slow going on the climbs and the descents. Basically decided it would be a hike fest the rest of the way in. Also freaking out about pace required for a sub 25 finish.
Halfpipe to Pipeline (mile 74): Josh coerced me into a run / walk strategy to get me moving.
Halfpipe to Outward Bound (mile 77): Run two power poles and walk one. I was starting to make up some time.
Outward Bound to Mayqueen (mile 87): Nasty climb up Sugarloaf, but I actually was able to hike up it non-stop.
Mayqueen to finish: Realized I had five hours to cover 13 miles and as long as I didn’t fall and split my head open on a rock I had it in the bag for a BIG buckle! Power hiked this section with authority and had some running sprinkled in.
Finished in 23:28 and felt great mentally throughout the race and had a ton of energy… Legs just didn’t show up to the party, but that’s OK. Plenty of room for improvement next time .
More reflections from the TALON tribe:
- David Sooter – Oklahoma – blog report
- Scott Rabb – Texas – EB report
- Katrin Silva – New Mexico – EB report
- Ray Liberatore – Texas – EB report
Special thanks to all those that shared a little bit of your adventure with us!
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com