Harriers form bond on TransRockies Run | AspenTimes.com

Harriers form bond on TransRockies Run

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” Kyle and Eric Skaggs hardly seemed fazed after finishing the five-day, 110-mile TransRockies Run on Thursday. The duo crushed the rest of the field in the inaugural race, covering about 17,000 vertical feet of climbing and the equivalent of a marathon per day.

For the Skaggs brothers, both sponsored trail runners, this was hardly more than a solid training week. Kyle said he regularly puts in 130-mile weeks when training. He was the winner of the Wasatch 100 on Sept. 8, when he set a course record on the brutal 100-mile trail run that climbs 26,000 vertical feet.

Eli Lane and Ben Evans, both of Portland, Ore., won the final leg of the TransRockies Run, but the two were mere mortals compared to the Skaggs brothers.

“I got all kinds of muscle problems,” Evans said. “You get up in the morning and don’t even think you can run.”

Stage 1 of the run began in Beaver Creek, with 15 miles and 4,100 feet of climbing. The next day was a marathon with 5,500 feet of vertical. The third day consisted of 24 miles and 2,900 feet. The fourth day, from Leadville to the Chapman Dam campground in the upper Fryingpan Valley, was 28 miles and 2,900 feet of climbing. Thursday was the final day, from Basalt to Aspen on the Rio Grande Trail, 18 miles and 2,100 feet of climbing.

The race was originally intended to be six days, but difficulties with permits and homeowners along the route caused organizational problems. The race was eventually cut to five days, and organizers decided to shuttle runners to two starts.

Early last spring, organizers eyed a route that would have brought runners down Smuggler Mountain Road into Aspen. The plan was scrapped in favor of a run through Woody Creek, Lenado and the Sunnyside Trail, but that route sparked concerns about both wildlife and traffic.

“It was more of a road race than I anticipated,” Kyle Skaggs said. “I run 100 percent singletrack.”

Fifty-five teams started the race at the beginning of the week, and 52 teams were still around Thursday. Organizer Chester Fabricius said he thought the dropout rate, considering the difficulty of the race, was very low.