168 hours with a Flying Monkey

Team events.....beware on picking your partner or your partner picking you. Beware of making statements like, "I never pass up an opportunity to expand the level of my comfort zone." You may just get what you wish for.

I left Memphis on Thursday 9-13 drove into Kansas and camped at a nice state park that had a nice system of trails. Got a good 1 hour run in. Got up and picked Whit up at the Denver AP at 5 pm and headed to Boulder. Got to boulder and went to a pre screening of a bike flic called The Flying Scott about a crazy cyclist in his effort to break the 1 hour track record. The one hour record is famous for tourturing it's foolish participants and this film was definately a forwhadowing of what was to follow in the next week. After the flick we went to Pete Backwin and Steph Earharts house to crash. Two great people with adventure and running resume's as long as my arm. We got up the next morning, chowed, and headed to Beaver Creek for check in of The Trans Rockies Run. We got there, checked in, and immediately realized we were in for a week of media, hype, craziness, euro-glitz, tecno music and some trail running here and there too. We hooked up with the Skaggs bros, Montrail teamies, Kyle fresh off a Wastch 100 course record, and hung with them most of the week, except while we were running because these boyz are really fast and won the overall title for the week. Got up the next morning and the race started at the bottom of the hill at Beaver Creek Ski area about 18 miles Climbed about 1000 feet and dropped to the town of Avon and we ran a 7 mile road section to Vail and Climbed about 1000 feet to the top of Vail Ski resort on single track. We ended up 6th of 50 teams and first in category by 3 minutes. We rode the gondola down and were shuttled to tent city where we got in just escaping a major thunderstorm that lasted all night. we were fed roayally and we experienced our first awards cerimony. music, a slide show of the days stage and a video of the day. it was crazy. we podiumed in category and then they presented leaders jersys to the category winners. this trend lasted the first 4 stages. you would not believe the schwagg. all in all i took home, $450 cash, 2 watches, 2 wind stopper jackets, 6 tech shirts, 1 pair sunglasses, 1 pair addidas shoes, $75 gift cert from addidas, 1 nathan hydration system, a customized duffle bag, 2 coffee mugs, a backpack and some other misc items. it was nutty i tell you. the second stage was a run from vail to somewhere and was about 22 miles. the day started cold and rainey and snow was pretty deep as we climbed and ran a ridge for about 12 miles (11,000 feet) and then did a 10 mile downhill to the finish. we picked up another 4 minutes on our rivals, a team from the Gore company, in category. Awards, dinner, messages and hupla followed. the next morning we ran from where we had finished to the town of leadville, co. it was a 26 mile section with big climbs and it is where i had my best day feeling like i could actually contribute to the team. we did well, finishing 4th overall and put another 6 minutes on our rivals. i got a message and a stretch and we walked into leadville for some grub. my quads were starting to feel the pounding as i hadn't done much of anything since hardrock and finishing the AT. the next morning we were shuttle to the end of Tourquoise Lake and did a 10 mile uphill section to 12,500 feet and we ran probably 90% of it. we then looked forward to an 18 mile section of mostly downhill running with a 4 mile flat setion. my legs were toasted from all the hard running. it had been a race since day 1 and i was feeling it. the gore boys past us with about 10 miles to go and they looked really good. we managed to get to the finsih only giving back about 4 minutes of the 13 we had accumulated over the 1st 3 stages. at the finish, i was pretty much a wreck. legs hammered. stomach in knots and sick. i got a message and headed to the tent and pretty much faught nausea the rest of the afternoon. we had one more stage and a 9 minute lead an my legs were toast. we needed a miracle and it did not come. the next day was an 18 mile flat road run from basalt to aspen. the gore boys were both very fast on the roads and they took it to us early and by 10 miles had made the 9 minutes back and more. they pushed hard and ended up crushing us to take the overall victory in category. I wish i had been more fit going in but i was in now way, shape or form ready to race when i arrived in Beaver Creek 5 days earlier. we just got caught up in it and that was that. it was really for me, a big suffer-fest trying to keep up with Whit. I ran and climbed with all i had and left absolutely nothing out there in every single stage. i am happy with that. Whit, on the other hand was a monster. with a stronger partner, he would've won for sure. oh well....thusday night they put us up in a great hotel in Snowmass Village up the road from aspen and we were treated to an awesome final farewell. the food was incredable the whole race and they spared no expense. (i can now understand the $2500/team entry fee....we got in free thanks to whit) the next morning we got up and drove to Moab where the Skaggs boys were helping a friend at a 50 miler and Whit got the idea to run it. crazy man....i crewed him and had a fun time hanging out in the lasalle mts and the red rock dessert and helping at aid stations. Whit ran great placing 9th overall in a little over 10 hours. at 6 pm we loaded up in the subaru and drove all night and i dropped whit off in bend oregon to his wife and son and made the remaining 3 hour drive to portland to visit Lenore. man, was i glad to see her.
What a week of travel, running, Making new friends from all over the globe. Getting to know Whit alot better, hanging out with the hottest ultra runners in the country, the Skaggs boyz, and getting to play in the mountains and dessert was great.
What did i learn? i learned that i have got to continue to live my life to the fullest. to never limit the realm of possibility. that bounderies are self imposed. that the next time someone askes me to do something i may think a little out of my reach, SAY YES!


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