Friday, August 28, 2009

Leadville 100 pacing and crewing


I went to the Leadville 100 trail run again this year. This year there was a large contingent of Kansas/missouri runners toeing the line. The plan was to pace Nick Lang later in the day from Twin Lakes to the Fish Hatchery (mile 60 to 77).
I was staying at Ben Reeves house in Denver before the race. We set our alarms for 1:15 and left his house around 1:30 so we could make it up for the start. We had a run in with the cops that cost us some time , but we still made it to Leadville with about 10 minutes to spare thanks to some badass driving by yours truly!
After the start we went to Chris Langs house for breakfast and to talk strategy. We wanted to get Nick across the finish line. Chris had run the race before so he knew what Nick needed to do in order to be successful.
At Mayqueen and the Fish Hatchery we cheered and crewed for all of our runners! I think everyone really appreciated the hometown support. Twin Lakes at mile 40 is where I think people were starting to feel the day's effort. We tried to get everyone refueled and send them on their way over Hope pass. See you at Winfield we told them.
Winfield can be a bad place. A lot of runners either drop here or don't make the cutoff and we had a few casualties. Andy, Paul, Greg, Tony, Nick, Josh and Colleen all refueled. and took off to get their asses back over the pass!
Ben left Winfield with Nick at around 5:45. Not much ahead of the 6:00 cutoff. When we got back to Twin Lakes we found out that the cutoff was 9:45. 4 hours to climb and descend 3000 ft over 10 miles. We were all a bit nervous because Nick seemed to be at a bit of a low point at Winfield. I prayed that he would make it time.
I think it was around 9:20 when I decided to go put some of my extra gear in Ben's FJ. When I got down to the parking lot I saw some people rooting around in the car. It was Nick and Ben! They made the cutoff easily. I was ready to go! We got Nick up the Aid station and filled his pack and bottles, got him food, lights, fixed blisters. Ready to go. Crack the Whip!
The climb out of TWin Lakes inbound is not small. It took us quite awhile to get to the top of it-mostly hiking. Once over the top we were able to run a surprising amount. I'm not sure if Nick realized it at the time, but whenever I saw a light ahead, I would increase our pace ver so slightly. No one passed us the whole time I ran with him.
I don't remember what time it wa , but eventually we cayght up to Colleen Voeks and her pacer Debbie Webster. Colleen was sleepy and I gave Debbie an extra caffiene pill so she had one too. We wishe dthem good luck and away we went. Shortly after Nick complained that he was getting sleept too. Luckily I had a 5 hour energy that Rick Mayo had given me back at Twin Lakes. A lifesaver. Nick was back online in a matter of minutes an we were cruising.
A quick stop at Box creek and we kept going. Between Box creek and Treeline I started to feel the effects of being up for over 24 hours. I started weaving a bit and started kicking rocks(not on purpose). We made it to Treeline and our crew where we both enjoyed a Red Bull. Now I was good too. Time to crack the Whip again! Nick and I passed probaly 20 more people on the road between Treeline and the Hatchery. When we got there Nick's dad was ready to pace him over Sugerloaf to Mayqueen. After a little tape job on some blisters they were off. My work was done.
There are a few runs that I'll never forget and this was one of them. I never thought about a thing other than how awesome Nick was doing after 60 miles at altitude. I was proud to be his pacer and I was confident he would finish as soon as he and Ben got to Twin Lakes. I made sure to keep close tabs on his food, drink, and salt intake. I wanted him to get that buckle!
At Mayqueen we tried to sleep a bit, but I really couldn't, so we went up to the aid station to wait. Nick and Chris came in around 5:20? I think. Soover four hour left to do the last 13 miles with no major climbs to stand in the way.
Laurie was pacing Nick from here to the finish. There was noting left for us to do but wait so we had Chris and Bonnie drop us at the Super 8 for a quick shower before the finish line gathering.
Andy henshaw had finished long before any of us got there (sub 19 hours!) . So we all got coffee and sat down to wait for our runners. We missed Paul Schoenlaub too! Dang. So Greg Burger comes in with Nick righ behind him. 28:50 something for both! Awesome finish guys! Gary Henry was a few minutes behind them! WE were all waiting for Colleen. fingers crossed. getting down to around 10 minutes to go....here she comes! and we all let out a sigh of relief. There were a few tears too.
I'm proud of the guys that didn't make it too. They were all there at the finish cheering on the ones still running.
An amazing weekend. Great job everyone!

8 comments:

Gary said...

You're right, the hometown presence was huge lift for all of the runners, especially me! It was great to see you at Winfield and MQ, even if I was a little out of it. Thanks again for going to so much effort to help the homies finish!

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