“There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.”
- Edward Abbey
(This is the fourth of five blog posts, covering my nine days at Camp Hardrock. Days 1 & 2 are found here; days 3 & 4 are found here. Days 5 & 6 are found here.)
After nearly of week of running in the San Juans, catching up with friends, and helping with Hardrock 100 race prep, it was time to send the runners off on their epic adventure in the mountains. I was at the Silverton Gym at 5:15a, greeting my peeps and wishing good runs to those about to start running for the next 24-48 hours. Nearly all my photos were blurry, so I pinched the following three snaps off Chris Gerber, who was less than 48 hours away from obtaining veteran status as a 5-time finisher. Boss!
|Milling around the gym before race start (Kirk Apt, who completed |
his 20th Hardrock is in the lower right corner in the blue shirt)
|Nolan's 14 finisher Eric Lee finally got in and |
was excited to notch his first Hardrock finish
|Photographers were everywhere. Here Kilian (red coat, bottom left) |
chats with Julian, Joe, Seb & Adam just before the start
The only decent snap I got was still blurry with the exception of Race Director, Dale Garland in the yellow coat. A picture of calm in the midst of the storm. Awesome. The spectators count down the final 10 seconds and then Dale says "Alright, Get outta here!" and they're off. Very low-key, with the exception of all the professional photographers. There were certainly a lot more people at the start this year than last year, which I attribute to "The Kilian Effect".
|Dale and the two blurry Adams, Campbell & Hewey|
Back at the house, Meghan was uploading video and Travis was getting ready to head out onto the course to get pictures and provide real-time updates via satellite phone. Other IRF volunteers were already getting themselves situated on the course to keep everyone updated via twitter throughout the next 24+ hours.
Since my assignment was to get pictures on the Bear Creak Trail out of Ouray (mile 47), I had a little time to kill. First thing I did was make Meghan some breakfast since she'd be going pretty much non-stop until Saturday night.
|Meghan's colorful breakfast|
After packing up my stuff for when I'd be leaving on Sunday, taking a little time to check out the last couple of miles of the course, I headed on out to Ouray. It was a beautiful day and my plan was to be in the canyon by 2p, in case runners were pushing course record pace. As it turned out, they weren't so it was nearly 4p when Kilian rounded the bend with Julian following about 5 min later. Julian appeared to be on the hunt while Kilian looked pretty relaxed. Here's some of the pictures that I took for iRunFar, posted on their Facebook page along with a few others that I took:
(All remaining photos: iRunFar/Shelby)
|Kilian rounded the bend in good spirits, chatting and giving high fives|
|Taking in the beauty of Bear Creek Canyon|
|Julian Chorier and his pacer, Brendan Trimboli|
|Julian was focused; he got 2nd place|
|Prez followed a few minutes later, looking good despite the pain |
of a turned ankle and dealing with some dehydration at this point
|I managed to coax a slight smile out of him, anyway. |
His ankle got worse and he had to drop later on.
He wrote a delightful report about it here
|Seb was having a low patch and not in a smiling |
mood. He later dropped with Rhabo symptoms
|Took me a few seconds to realize it was the Canucks -- Adam |
Campbell and pacer Gary Robbins -- rounding out the top 5. Adam
was looking great at this point and went on to a 3rd place finish
At this point, I headed down to the trailhead and got a few more shots of the front runners before sending them to Bryon Powell:
|Check out that smile I got from Coach Koop. Unfortunately, he got stuck in a lightning storm on Handies and had to drop due to hypothermia.|
|Joe tore his quad and later had to drop. He was still his |
chatty self though as he told me about his bum leg on
the way up the climb. He wrote a great report here:
|Kaburaki, before he got hit in the face from a rock fall. |
Still managed to finish 6th, blood and all. Rock star!
|Jeff Browning had a great blog post on his 4th place finish|
|Diana Finkel dropped with rhabdo symptoms for the 3rd time|
|Darcy Piceu went on to win for the 3rd straight year, 11th overall|
I saw Scott Jaime and his pacer Nick Pedatella on the way up the climb, but wasn't in a good spot for a picture. Scott went on to finish 5th in textbook style. I was sorry to have missed Tim Olson, as he was in a low point, but still managed to get 12th overall by gutting out a hard-earned finish. He wrote a blog post about his Hardrock experience that's worth reading.
After going to Ouray to send photos to Bryon, I heading back to Silverton to eat and get to bed early. Kilian was expected to finish as early as 4:30am so I wanted to be there for that.
The next morning, I was a running a few minutes late and as I was jumping in my car at 4:41a, I heard the cheers as Kilian was coming in. Crap! So I missed his finish by a few minutes as I drove down and parked outside of the school.
|Great video here from iRunFar of Kilian's finish line interview|
Kilian smashed Kyle Skagg's stout course record by 42 minutes and that was only due to pushing the pace in the last 28 miles. He employs strategy keeping the pace easy (which was still faster than the other runners) and then pushing the pace in the end. I loved how he enjoyed the course by taking pictures, waiting for Julian to join him for some some company and taking his time at aid stations talking with the volunteers. He nailed this run expertly after less than a week of scouting it and only a month after setting an FKT (fastest known time) climbing up and down Denali's West Buttress in 11 hrs and 48 minutes. He really is in a class all by himself.
Kilian is the first ultrarunner I became familiar with, after Runner's World did a two-page spread on him back in 2009. I've been following his career ever since and was inspired to do longer, more technical, mountain runs here in Colorado thanks to the inspiration of his Kilian's Quest videos. Congrats to him on yet another outstanding achievement. I expect that we'll see him next year to run the course in the opposite direction and thus becoming an "official" Hardrocker.
I'm going to break this report into two parts since I still have my Saturday pacing adventures to post about as well as Sunday's award's ceremony. Stay tuned for the last installment, which I hope to get out in the next day or so.