Welcome from Salida, Colorado.
Today was a busy day for Jay and Thor of Team HumpMe. We of course found good beer, but we also trekked the 3 hour drive from Denver to Buena Vista to pre-race check-in and site of Stage 1 start.
The journey started early morning in Denver, but not too early since the wedding party of Jay & Gina (Super-G from here on out) and Heather & Thor partied late into the night the night before at the Colorado Rockies game. The morning started with a run for all four, which was a confidence booster for Team HumpMe since the elevation at a mile high didn’t seem to be nearly the breath-stealer that it was the day before. Acclimatization? Maybe. Maybe slowly. We’ll take it.
After a three hour car ride to the far south west of Denver, where we climbed another 3 to 4 thousand feet, with a high of 10K and maybe higher, on a route surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the wedding party arrived in Buena Vista for pre-race hoopla. Upon check-in, Team HumpMe received lots of swag, including a TransRockies hat and shirt, a Nathan handheld water bottle, and a bunch of other useful stuff. But the one thing Jay found wildly entertaining was the electric shoe driers. We laughed. But they just might come in handy.
Later that evening was the pre-race instructions, where numerous folks chatted about their field. Most interesting was the medical dude and the guys talking about the pain we’re all in for on day one. Best of the meeting was that Team HumpMe hooked up with Bob and Jackie of Tuesday Turtles in Rhode Island. Bob and Jackie are friends of Thor from the mountain race series back in New England. We all like good beer. And so Jay, meeting them for the first time, fell into line. Good people. I know we’ll all have a blast over the days. Bob kicks ass because he’s a very strong runner and takes his trade seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously to not enjoy a few choice ales. Good people. Bob and Jackie, truth be known, might have a good shot at winning the Mixed division. Good luck guys!
Jay and I have been feeling the effects at elevation, that is for sure. We both feel as if we are acclimating, but it is taking time, and we’re both still feeling strangeness every now and then. Like all of a sudden, if you talk too fast — something that happens to Thor a lot — you get out of breath. And you know right away what’s going on. Hopefully we’ll be good tomorrow, on opening day of the race. But we know to drive often and all the signs of what to look for for altitude sickness, something that is very real.
At the race meeting today, we also learned that the weather is supposed to be very good for us, which means that it will likely be very hot by day. Because it is so dry here, a 75 degree day, what is expected tomorrow, feels like 95 degrees in the sun. No kidding.
With all race duties for the night behind them, the wedding party headed back to Salida (race starts in Buena Vista, but due to hotel availability we are staying 25 miles in nearby Salida) for a great dinner at Aruba… or maybe it was Ariba. Either way, it is a kickass, fun pizza place that, take a guess, brews there own beer. The beer was surprisingly good, while the pizza was cheesy. It was also a nice way for Jay and Thor to have a few last laughs with their amazing wives. We are both extremely thankful that they not only put up with our shit but that they also support us in our craziness. Thank you, girls. We love you.
Stage 1 begins tomorrow at 9 AM. 20.3 miles and 2500 feet of climbing. Stay tuned. 🙂