Life elevated: Colorado Trail Race 2009

I am a lucky guy.  Lucky that for one key week in the mountains of Colorado the season long storminess eased up.  Lucky that Stefan devised such an imposing challenge as CTR.  Lucky that Scott carries (and shares) an albuterol inhaler.  Lucky to have more lives than the proverbial cat.  Lucky that the best of times unexpectedly come on the heels of the worst of times.

CTR was one big unkown to me.  About all I knew came from seeing Stefan & Jefe at the finish of the '07 event, the Guidebooks, and of course a bit of the CT near Durango has seen my tread a time or two.  But, from Denver to Silverton, it was all unkown territory.

I think it was back in June when the route was finalized - and the route alterations nearly had me backing out.  The profile tells the tale:

 

As if the first 350 miles aren't high and hard enough, the call was made to include segments 22 & 23 of the CT in this years race.  That's the red blob above, all above 12k' and it goes over 13,200 at the high point.  I get crushed at altitude.   It's a limiter I've dealt with over the years mostly by avoiding altitude.  But damn, the CTR is the summer's biggest party for technical multi-day racing, how could I not go?  And, it was certainly appealing to escape the 100+ temps of StG for a week.

Time to formulate the plan.  The route is so massive that I couldn't wrap my head around it before the race.  I like to know a lot about a route before racing it (to do otherwise in a *race* is darwinism) so the first decision was that this year was to be one big pre-ride.  If all was good towards the end I'd give'r some gas (ha!), but for the most part I just needed to scout the route, ride it with open eyes, see what everyone was doing, see how elevation kicked my butt and all that.  I planned to restock at BV and Silverton, make no use of any post office.  Simple, right?

A massive group of bikepackers left the Waterton canyon trailhead.  Roughly 40 started this epic ride!

Andrew Carney rode well on his new Siren.  He had more than  his share of mechanicals and forced detours but still made it to Durango by alternative routes.

 

Dave Nice came fully equiped to numb the pain he knew was around the corner.

36 inch wheels are huge!  They roll over telephone poles just fine.

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