Mountain Ultra 2013 Race Report - Stage Four
The long one, the tough one, the impossible one – whatever you call it one thing is for certain, the previous 3 stages pale in comparison to this monster of a stage...
Stage 4 – Aspen
The long one, the tough one, the impossible one – whatever you call it one thing is for certain, the previous 3 stages pale in comparison to this monster of a stage.
There’s no making the second half easy to get the runners in, artificial routing to make life easier to make sure they finish – as we’ve said before this is the toughest race in our series.
The route goes from Crested Butte South all the way to Aspen via some of the highest and most exposed passes in the area and taking in some pretty awesome climbs.
The forecast for today showed an 80% chance of rain and highs of 15°C up in the mountains. This is going to be a little different to the clement 25°C we’ve all become accustomed to on stages 1, 2 & 3. Today’s start was split, with Jasmine Pierce, Alex Flynn and Hugh Glyn-Jones being short coursed, but electing to start at CP2 rather than wait until CP4 and be picked up by 4×4. The main group left Crested Butte South at 6:05 whilst the short coursed group started at 7:30 from CP2, the idea being that they would get a chance to run with and in front of the front pack – something most of us mortals never experience.
With the race underway our team on the far side of the course were busy placing our checkpoints from 50km – 80, and placing our sweeper vehicle at Star Pass and locating supplies at Taylor Pass. Reports were starting to come via sat phone that rain was falling high up in the mountains, from our chief medical officer Trevor Black. After sending a team up by UTV we decided to instigate the short course, basically cutting 20km and the highest pass from the course for safety.
After another check we found snow to be falling at the highest points, even before they reached the highest point on the course, which was a significant cause for concern. After a check in with all the previous checkpoints the difficult decision to finish the stage was taken. All runners were stopped at the next CP they came to and taken down from the mountain for safety. From that point the snow only got worse, with each of the high passes turning to complete white out.
Well our competitors really got to taste true Rocky Mountain weather, a true adventure – each one of them had their own story to tell, each one of them had a smile from ear to ear. At least they did once they had warmed themselves in the hot showers. Tomorrow’s stage has been brought forward to a 9:30 start as everyone was in camp early enough to allow an earlier start time. The course takes them up over Buttercup and in to Snowmass – a fantastic way to end this amazing adventure – zigzagging down from high above as we all cheer them in below. What a day, what a race, what a great group of competitors! Last blog for the MU tomorrow.