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Rock/Creek Race Team places 5th at TransRockies Run

As usual, our Race Team members can always document their race experiences far better than we ever could from up here in the media office, therefore, the following is from our front runner (no pun intended) Rock/Creek Race Team Member, Matt Sims and his experience at the recent GORE-TEX TransRockies Run with fellow Rock/Creek Race Team Member Sheridan Ames, where they finished 5th in the 80+ men’s division. – Rock/Creek
DSC02641“The Trans Rockies is a 6 day stage race that takes you from Buena Vista to Beaver Creek, Colorado. The total distance over the 6 days is 115 miles. Elevation gained is around 25,000 feet. The format is teams of 2. You must run with your partner through the entire days course.
This event was incredible and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Is it hard? Yes…
Does the altitude affect a lowlander from Tennessee? Yes…
Is it worth the $2,000 entry fee? Yes…
The Trans Rockies event is very well organized. The team of event coordinators and sponsors take care of your every need. No detail is over looked during the 6 days of fun. When you arrive in Buena Vista, Colorado they give you a huge duffle bag that is home to all your gear for the week. Every morning you pack up the duffle with your personal items and drop it off at the U-Haul truck. While you are running they break down your tent (that they supply) and haul it to the next location where it is set up waiting for you when you arrive.
‘What does a normal day look like at the Trans Rockies race?’
Wake up at 6am and crawl out of the tent, only to realize that it is 33 degrees and you wish you had brought a heavier down jacket. Stumble your way to the breakfast tent and fill up on eggs, bacon, cereal, oatmeal, and of course lots of coffee. Go back to your tent and pack up your sleeping bag and pad. Drop off your duffle and head to the starting line by 8:00am. At this point you look at the course map/profile and realize that you will likely suffer thru 4,000 feet of elevation gain and suffer even more when you have to run 9 miles down the mountain. High point today is only 12,600 feet. Oh, that should be fun. Go find your running partner and make them believe that you feel totally fresh and ready to run, as if the 24 mile day previous was no big deal.
8:00am- As you enter the starting line corral you have to go through a mandatory gear check. It is required that you have a emergency blanket, waterproof jacket, hat and gloves with you at all times. Once you have been “okay’d” you make your way up to the front when you suddenly realize that you aren’t at a local race any longer. Both male and female winners of the Western States 100 are there. Standing beside them are another dozen male and female runners that have won countless 50k, 50 mile and 100 mile races. Then there is Dean Karnazes who looks like he is just going out for his routine morning jog.
Off you go down a dirt road that will eventually lead to a 20% grade up the mountain on single track trail. Stunning views await you at every turn. Eventually you pop out above tree line and realize how fortunate you are to be where you are. Every 7 miles you come to an aid station/checkpoint. This is where you graze through the fresh cut fruit, GU, pretzels and myriad of other snacks. Eventually you top out at your high point of the day and then run down hill forever, finally crossing the finish line sometime before noon.
DSC02704At the finish line you gourd yourself on the post race food, reflect on the day and how you feel. Eventually you work up enough courage to go sit in the nearby creek for 15 minutes to speed up the muscle recovery of your legs. After you’ve done this you walk to your tent, grab your duffle back and head to the mobile shower.
Once you’ve cleaned up then you are ready to hang out at the Salomon/Gore-Tex Relaxation Station where you can eat, listen to music, stretch and basically just hang out. If you want a massage then walk across the grass field and go pick between 20 massage therapists. If you’d rather walk into town and grab a beer, check your email, post a tweet or blog your little heart out, then go for it.
DSC02674Dinner is at 5:00pm underneath the tent. It’s literally a little city of runners that moves from one place to the next. After dinner they do awards and photo/video presentation of the day. It’s always a ton of fun during the evening ceremony. The evening ceremony typically ends around 9:00pm, where you can then choose to hang out by the fire or head straight to your tent. For me, choosing the tent was always a no brainer.
People have asked me if it was worth the $2,000 entry fee (per team). I think any normal week vacation is going to cost around $2,000. In my mind this was a true vacation. I was doing what I love to do, which is run; in a unique place with a bunch of great people. We met some really good folks that we will undoubtedly stay in touch with. Every day is filled with activity as well as plenty of rest. I will also say that the sponsors of this event really out did themselves. They gave away so much stuff to every participant that I seriously thought I was going to have to ship a box back home. This doesn’t make or break the event in my mind, but if you are one that really likes to “get” free stuff, this is the event for you. (jackets, watches, gloves, scarf, flashlights, first aid kits, duffle bags, hats, visors, socks, coffee mugs, water bottles) and the list goes on…
DSC02626Go do the Trans Rockies race next year. Sign up early, because this event is gaining in popularity every year. Keep in mind that if you are not a “camper”, you shouldn’t let this stop you. You can easily do this event and sleep in a hotel or campground cabin every night. There were even families of runners that brought their kids. It’s totally doable for the average runner.
‘How do I prepare for the Trans Rockies?’
Run… Run up hill and run downhill and when you are done running, then run some more. If you live at sea level, then run with a bag over your head.
[Editor’s Note: Extreme sarcasm was used in the previous statement. We DO NOT support running with a bag over your head as an effective training model, so don’t even try it!]
While we don’t have anything quite as extensive as the TransRockies, we do have the Lookout 100k coming up, as well as the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k, where Dean Karnazes will be running as well as speaking. Come join us, and hear first hand from Matt and Sheridan about the race!
Also, big thanks to Salomon for inviting the team out for the race!