TransRockies Run will bypass Aspen
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” A six-day run will take up to up to 300 participants on a 125-mile run through the Colorado Rockies in August, but the event will bypass Aspen this time around.
The inaugural TransRockies Run took place last September, but not before organizers overcame a number of bureaucratic hurdles and opposition to routes they hoped would bring runners into Aspen on the final leg of the journey.
This year, the event has been moved up to August and organizers are planning a six-day route that begins in Buena Vista and ends in Beaver Creek.
Chaffee County put out the welcome mat for the Buena Vista start, according to Aaron McConnell, director of events for TransRockies Inc., while Aspen didn’t seem hugely receptive to hosting last year’s finish.
“We were disappointed that it wasn’t what we pictured it being, and the community didn’t see the benefit,” McConnell said. “It didn’t seem to fit the idea of what might benefit the community (Aspen), which was a surprise to us.”
Last year’s event didn’t get final U.S. Forest Service and Pitkin County approval until shortly before the scheduled start and organizers wound up cutting the six-day run to five days. They also scrapped their initial plans to bring runners into Aspen down Smuggler Mountain Road. Their alternative plan, a route involving Woody Creek, Lenado and the Sunnyside Trail, also met with opposition and participants were ultimately shuttled from Chapman Campground in the Fryingpan Valley to Basalt, where they ran the final leg to Aspen on the Rio Grande Trail.
“It’s certainly fairly clear that a lot of the good route options that would bring us in and out of Aspen would be problematic,” McConnell said.
The August timing of this year’s event will avoid conflicts with bow-hunting season ” another concern that cropped up as organizers sought permits last year. The September event had been scheduled to take advantage of autumn’s colors in the Rockies.
Last year’s run attracted 110 participants ” 55 teams of two ” and McConnell said he expects up to 200 runners to participate this year, though 300 is the limit for the field.
According to the TransRockies website, this year’s run will cover 125 miles through the White River and San Isabel national forests, with nearly 25,000 feet of overall elevation gain. It will feature more soft-surface trails and roads than last year’s route. The run is slated to take place between 7,400 and 12,600 feet in elevation. Participants will be housed and fed in a tent city.
Though the route is subject to Forest Service approval, organizers have outlined six stages for this year’s event: Buena Vista to Clear Creek, Clear Creek to Twin Lakes (with a shuttle to Leadville), Leadville to Camp Hale, Camp Hale to Red Cliff, Red Cliff to Vail, and Vail to Beaver Creek.
Go to http://www.transrockies.com for details.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.