Evergreen teachers win America’s Uphill
The Aspen Times
The America’s Uphill titles for 2014 are going home to Evergreen — to one neighborhood in Evergreen.
Travis Macy and Brandy Erholtz, a pair of high school teachers who are up-the-hill neighbors, won titles in the annual winter ascent of Aspen Mountain on Saturday morning.
Both were quick to credit Brandy’s 5-month-old son Asher for their victories in America’s Uphill.
“Without Brandy and her son, I would still be asleep,” Macy said after winning the 2014 uphill in 46 minutes, 56 seconds. Macy, 31, had planned to meet his Evergreen ultrarunning neighbor Erholtz in their hotel lobby early Saturday before the 7 a.m. start of the race.
“I had slept through the alarm. I had gone back to sleep,” said Macy, who also brought his family (including an infant) to Aspen.
“Thankfully, Brandy knocked on my door and woke me up,” he said.
“My key for being up early is I have an infant who is nursing every two hours,” said Erholtz, who overcame the sleep deprivation of being a new mom to win the America’s Uphill women’s division (54:30).
She also overcame an uncharacteristic reluctance to start the race up 3,000 vertical feet to the finish at the Sundeck restaurant.
“I had a pretty negative attitude today, and I’m usually a positive person,” said Erholtz. “Normally, I love the constant grinding of the uphill. But I just couldn’t find my groove. Normally, I love that hurt. But today, I just wanted to get done.”
That drew a laugh from Macy.
“Brandy on a negative day is more positive than anyone I know on a positive day,” said Macy, who lives just about a mile up the hill from Erholtz in Evergreen.
“Really, I’m pleased,” Erholtz said, “even though this is the slowest time I’ve ever done here … this is my third time.”
She power-hiked the course, wearing javelin spikes.
“I need to learn to run with poles. I want to go faster … but it really was beautiful. And my big goal-races are coming this summer,” said Erholtz, 36.
Macy, who does ultrarunning, trail running, mountain bike racing and adventure racing, had targeted the 2014 America’s Uphill in Aspen.
“This is my first time doing America’s Uphill. I’ve been meaning to do this for 15 years,” he said. “I’m doing an uphill running focus this year, so this made sense to come here.”
Macy has been up Aspen Mountain before.
He participated in the Summit for Life Uphill in December, supporting Chris Klug’s efforts to increase awareness of organ and tissue donation.
“I did the Summit for Life, a cause dear to my family, and I finished second them. So I wanted to do well today,” said Macy, who also ran and power-hiked his way to the top of Aspen Mountain.
He finished ahead of a pair of Aspen skiers — Evan Pletcher and Tyler Newton, who will team up in two weeks for the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse ski mountaineering race from Crested Butte to Aspen. They were the first finishers on skis Saturday.
“I kind of kept the lead guy (Macy) in sight the whole time, which kept me going quick,” Pletcher said. “I made that my goal to keep him in sight.”
He said he tried to keep a smooth pace up the hill, helped along by “music with high cadence.”
“And I kept looking back for Tyler,” he said of Newton, who was the first skiing finisher two years ago in America’s Uphill.
Newton was second to Pletcher among skiers last year, too.
“The best part is if I’m going to get beat by somebody, it’s good that it’s my Grand Traverse partner,” said Newton, who added that conditions were perfect for Saturday’s race.
A bit of fresh snow, which fell during the first 45 minutes of the race, slowed the field a bit, he said.
But words of encouragement along the way from an endurance legend made the 2014 uphill special, Newton said.
“Mike Kloser (the Vail ultra athlete), who has won this race a number of times … had hiked up,” Newton said. “I saw him and talked to him.”
Kloser cheered Newton and the uphillers as they worked their way up Aspen Mountain.
“Words of encouragement from a former champion … that was pretty cool. That was a big boost to my morale,” he said.
Erholtz, the women’ winner, found another source of encouragement late in Saturday’s race.
“A guy in a Hawaiian shirt passed me. He was having such a good time, so I just focused on him,” said Erholtz, who was ninth overall in Saturday’s field of 211 entrants.
Aspen’s Kim Master, 19th overall, was second among the women competing Saturday in the now 25-year-old America’s Uphill, which is sponsored annually by Aspen Parks and Recreation and the Ute Mountaineer.
Complete results will be available online at utemountaineer.com.
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