All guts and glory in Snowmass
SNOWMASS VILLAGE As summer kicked into high gear with the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, the insane among us were over at Snowmass running our guts out on trails.A five mile “sprint” with 670-foot vertical started it out Saturday morning. Then a 1,370-foot vertical, 2.9-mile hill climb rounded out the day at 1 p.m. Sunday morning was a half-marathon. That race started out with the uphill from the day before separating the men from the boys. I was in between the men and the boys, I think.Local stars Bernie Boettcher and Lisa Gonzales-Gile showed up to give the not-so-local hotshots vying for the $1,000 top slots a run for their money. I saw Boettcher for about the first 10 minutes Sunday, then he was gone. Beyond that, not too many locals showed up. In fact, not that many showed up at all. Maybe the runs were just too hard for people to show up in droves. After all, some 20 miles and 4,000 or so vertical is no small feat. I would say the three races, taken together, are among the most difficult running I’ve ever done. It was hot and dusty. The trails were generally steep and required quick footing. And the downhills seemed about as grueling as the uphills at times.Still, looking out over Snowmass at quick moments during the races and running quickly through the Cross-Mountain trail and Government Trail, brushing aside aspen trees and splashing across creeks, made for euphoric moments. Perhaps the weirdest part was the rapid recovery between races. It’s always hard to know how hard you can push yourself until you do. I pushed myself as hard as I could and felt better on each consecutive race. Regardless, when I crossed the finish line Sunday, I felt drained by the sun and ready to lie down, for the rest of the month. I knew that if I could make it back to couch at home, then I could feel hard core, even in my dreams.
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Don’t freak out if you see helicopters hovering over the Roaring Fork Valley backcountry or fixed-wing aircraft making repeated trips. It is part an annual wildlife study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.