LooseCrew-JeffO: Vasque Golden Leaf Half


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Vasque Golden Leaf Half

I didn't take photos this year because nothing compares to the snowy adventure of last year.
The only other photo-worthy subjects were a plethora of comely lasses. OMG! The longer the ultra, the fewer women show up. Looking purely at percentages of male/female in races, 10K's in cities are swarmed with women - usually 60-70% female. Hundred-ultras out in the boondocks are down to about 10% female. You could argue this shows how much smarter women are, and I'm afraid I'd have a hard time gathering an argument in that arena, but I'm certainly not used to having so many women around me.

I met my peeps in Aspen Friday night. There were 17 of us! We all left at different times, between about 6 vehicles. (Cell phones have revolutionized social lives, for sure.) I slept at Difficult Campground east of Aspen with John and Naz, but I slept outdoors under the stars.
Saturday morning, we drove to Snowmass and got our packets, coffee, warmed-up, and I mingled with other people.

This half-marathon was the shortest race of 2007, for me. There were about 600 registered and 550 people started the race. Like the last two races, this one started out by going straight up. The difference was this one didn't climb for 5-6 miles! This one was EASY!

I didn't want to blow myself on the initial climb, up a ski slope access-road. I wanted to have an impressive time starting with the downhill, which this course mostly is since we start miles away from and above Aspen. Unfortunately, with more people in this race than ever before - by far - there was nothing but traffic-jam for the vast majority of people. There were some times I jumped-trail and passed beside the single-track, but mostly I was just plain stuck.
Then ahead of me a woman wiped-out catastrophically, tumbling ass-over-tea-kettle so bad, I hope she didn't break something. I stopped to help, taking off one of the Ace bandages from my knees to clean her wounds.
After that, I'd lost so much time, and it was futile anyways with the traffic-jams, that I resigned myself to enjoying the fantastic Fall colors, perfect weather, beautiful women, and making sure all my tweaks don't explode. I only passed when it was easy and convenient.

I met a few fun women along the way, and lacking competitive spirit, the most aggressive thing I did was fly through the creek-crossings. This freaked the women out. There were a few women who run across, but the majority were stopping and tip-toeing across the rocks so as not to get wet or gooey. I tried not to splash them, but come on - was it a "trail race" or what? I've found in the past that it is safer to ignore the water and step the safest places. Varying speed is more hazardous, not less. Keep the momentum and GO! So sometimes I step on dry rocks and sometimes I plow through the deep waters.
There was one woman who wiped-out gracefully in front of me and I helped her back on the trail in front of me. Not sure if that was chauvinism or camaraderie, but it felt good.

My right ankle tweak didn't start to unravel until about the 11th mile. There wasn't enough miles left to worry about disaster, so I just kept up a steady pace until I finished. A dismal 2:31 and 231st place (odd coincidental 2-3-1 combo).

They had gourmet food for us at the finish. Very good and lots of it.

I was like a kid in a candy-shop, meeting so many women. Too bad there weren't many my age. Since there usually aren't quite so many women at my races, I worked the crowd more diligently.

I won another Ultimate-Direction bottle in the raffle, and a subscription to Trail Runner mag, which is the only subscription I lacked.

John, Naz, and I hooked-up afterwards for BBQ & beer at the Hickory House. These guys are hilarious to the extreme and we were admittedly crude, but we didn't inflict our behavior on anyone else.

After retrieving my CR-V from Snowmass, we headed back to the campground. We headed down to the river to soak our legs. John did a total submerge. That's when his new Crock sandal came off and floated down the river. I went after it, which wasn't easy with the rocks being covered in slippery moss.
You had to be there. We were all laughing hysterically. I was practically naked wearing nothing but my tighty-blacky underwear and sandals working my way down the river after a floating crock. Hikers walked by gawking, dogs on each bank stopped to cheer me on - what a complete circus! But I did save the Crock!

The ice-cold water felt great, and we all felt rejuvenated.
The entire group gathered one more time over dinner at an Italian restaurant.

A very fun weekend. In fact, I haven't had that much fun in DAYS! You'd have to go waaaay back to last weekend to find so much fun!


At 7:41 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

Dude, fun weekend! That 2-3-1 stuff is cool.

I can't tell your level of seriousness regarding women in this blog post. Are you really occupying your time by chasing tail during the race? If so, we gotta find you a lady to hook you up with so you can just race during races. ;)

Good thing there was no snowstorm. They are predicting snow at my elevation tonight. I'm crying inside.

Hope you're well!

PS. I have a question for you, so I'm going to email you soon.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger JeffO said...

Seriousness? Me? I adjust quickly to maximize fun. I learned that from my years of climbing mountains. Many people who get into dangerous situations in the wilderness got there because they developed a single plan and refused to budge, even when the situation changed and dictated that they need to go to a plan-B.
I'm both intense on the one-hand, and laid-back on the other. When my original plans fail, I easily slip into the next-best thing. Whatever is the most fun (but never at anyone's expense).


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