LooseCrew-JeffO: Hardrock 2009: spectator-ing


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

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hardrock 2009: spectator-ing

What do ya do when you can't run? Help others to run!

I know, I know, this is late. But that's what you can expect of me these days. Hardrock began at 6am.

I left work at 2:30pm. First stop was Leadville where I picked up my packet for the Leadville Marathon. I already paid for the shirt and fancy bag, so I wasn't going to forfeit that.
In line behind me was Nick Clark. He seemed to be having some doubts, but I was pretty sure he could possibly win. It's too bad it wasn't his day, but when you run with the elites, anyone could best the others depending on the slightest things. Great job, Nick! The Hardrockers were talking about you and the Marathon, even as they ran (walked) the HR100.

After grabbing my bag, I drove to Ouray. It had just gotten dark when I pulled into town. Knowing that once I got started at the aid station, I'd probably not leave, I grabbed a beer at a random brewery. It was an "amber bitter", as the brewmeister called it, and extremely good. One of the best beers I've ever had, in fact.

Then I parked near the Ouray aid station and helped out as much as I could, while also staying out of the way of crews.
I was hoping to see Olga and Larry, so I looked at the Hardrock Live web site, saw that Olga was at about a 48hr+ pace, and decided to get some shut-eye. I slept for several hours in the back of my CR-V.
At 2:30, people in the car next-door woke me up. I dozed for 20 minutes and finally got up at 2:50. Unfortunately for me - but great for Olga - she blazed down from Engineer Pass in amazing time and went from a 48hr pace to a 43hr+ pace. So she was about to leave Ouray with Larry about the time I woke up.
Oh, well, I knew so many others, and kept helping as much as I could.

Jon M. asked me if I could pace Ricki R. I told him I was injured and my foot was hurting unusually much. Too bad, because that stretch of Hardrock is the only stretch I haven't done. I now regret it, even with my injury. Ricki ended up getting paced by someone else. Good for Ricki and good for my plantar, though.

After helping half the night, I drove to Telluride. I barely got there in time to keep the sun from actually touching my car.

Even the coffee shops don't open in Telluride until 7am! Heck, why would I need coffee that late?! 6am is LATE! 7am is... well, THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW!! I didn't want to steal any coffee meant for runners, crew, pacers, and official volunteers, so I waited. Then I had to wait yet another hour for the breakfast places to open! Here I was complaining while eating hot breakfast and drinking coffee, and I hadn't even gone one mile, much less 71 miles through the night in rugged terrain.

I watched one friend after another march through. It was fantastic, and I actually got to take a shift with clipboard and walkie-talkie helping to log runners in and out. That earned me a slice of pizza later.

Olga and Larry came in looking strong. No doubt, having Larry as a pacer had to have been way better than going solo. Outstanding performance.
They survived a vicious freak thunderstorm that exploded between midnight and 1am. Lightening was cracking. One runner was blown off his feet and knocked several feet away, but not directly hit - he finished.
Olga and Larry told me they saw a course marker that had obviously been struck. The reflective medallion that hangs from the wire "looked like a Tootsie-roll"!
Along with the lightening came tons of small hail. This sort of weather practically never brews at night, so this was all very weird, and thankfully it was brief. These later finishers could have finished faster if they hadn't been held up for so long by weather. And maybe a few who missed the final cut-off could have finished. Oh well, that's the "Hard"rock 100.

I wish I could have gotten some good video of Olga finishing, but my camera was worthless in the dark, and the buttons were engineered by a retard (didn't help that the operator was also a retard).

The best story I got to be part of was Patty B...
She came into Telluride looking bad. That's not unusual after 71 miles. After eating and drinking, though, most get up and get out. Patty just sat there. And sat there. And she was still there after about 40 minutes.
In fact, for quite a disturbingly long time, no one left! I complained to one of the station volunteers that it was getting to be like the Hotel California. So I announced that we like everyone, but they're not welcome to stay.
At some point, I turned around and saw one of the officials standing over Patty with a pair of siccors about to cut off her wrist band. Yikes! So I went over.
Patty seemed very near tears. Her husband was trying to talk her out of it. A friend was trying. I tried, but her mind was made up - she was through! Done! DEAD! So then someone said she didn't have to get her band cut off immediately. Yeah, we all chimed in. I told her she ought to wait until the cut-off. If she just quits, then it hurts more than if an aid station official stops her and says, "You missed the cut-off - you're not allowed to leave." Her husband jumped on that and said, "Yeah, that's still a few hours away. Why don't you lay down and get some sleep?"
Patty liked that set of ideas, so she went to sleep with her wrist-band intact.
About 75 minutes later, Patty woke up, saddled-up, and left for Chapman, with time to spare before the cut-off. At 5:15am the next morning, she crossed the finish in Silverton in 47:15 race-time.
Absolutely awesome to see someone that had mentally/emotionally DNF'd, but managed to come back from the dead for the finish.

I guess the moral of the story is, it ain't over 'til it's over. Unless you have a true medical situation - like your lungs are topped-off with fluid, or a metatarsal broke, or a tendon or ligament is ripping off, etc. - never DNF until you miss the cut-off.

And finally, here's Fred Ecks great finish.


At 2:00 PM, Blogger Larry said...

Jeff: Thank you so much for coming out to the San Juans. It was a great surprise seeing you at Telluride and the Finish. Heck, I only did 43 miles and it was quite the adventure. Getting to see Olga in action was awesome. The tougher it is the tougher she becomes. That was the first finish we have to our credit when either one of us was pacing the other and to have it happen at HR. Go figure! :) Take care and heal up quick!


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