1 april 2012

The Grand Traverse - Check!

It's 22.00 and we're leaving a friends house down town Crested Butte that we borrowed for a nap and prepare us and our back packs for the 23.00 (11 pm) start. This is the 15th anual Elk mountain traverse, even called The Grand Travers from Crested Butte till Aspen, Colorado. Walking out we hit the bus perfectly, it's packed, not with racers but with dressed up seasonal worker. They are having their anual end of season party next to our start line up in mountain village we get to know. Usually the start is down by the high school but because of lack of snow this year and private property owners not allowing us on their property the first stage of the course this year was redirected and new to everyone. Which meant, a fast little skin up through the ski area, than down to a river that we had to cross on a 12 inches (30cm) wide bridge, super slick when melting water started to freeze on top of it. One team feel in and had to stop the race right there, such a bummer and really unfortunately. All together we were 130 teams (260 people) that took of yesterday night. An incredible snake/line from everyones headlamps formed up along the hillside on the other side of the bridge. An magnificent view when looking back. This hillside we hit is south facing, that means NO snow and boot packing, skis on your back pack and your walking/running in your skiboots on small cow trails for 5-7 miles (8-11.2 km). Super fun running and we did really well this part of the race, once done with this part, my boots where full of branches and mud from all small bushes and wet trails. And there was no time to stop and fix it. Still with our skis on the back we continued up a dirt road that turned in to a singel track, we finally decided to put on our skis again after leaving the artificial snow at the ski resort. We had to skin over mud and rocks where the snow didn't fill in but committed to it. That way we were fast and made lot's of progression up through the start field. That together with our great start on the hike/run made us have more headlamps behind us than infront of us, that was the only thing we knew.
The skinning we just began was going the be a killer for me, it was just soo long and it never ended. I got into a bad mood just because I was living in unawareness of what was coming up. Himay in the other hand, who done the race one year ago and talked me into doing it with him this year knew better and just told me it's long. Finally after a few hours we reached the pass, I was so happy to set my ski boot in skimode instead of walk mode. Such a relief to get to ski, it took us almost 4,5 hours into the race before we got to ski our first real downhill out in the remote wilderness in between Crested Butte and Aspen.

After that I felt good again and I took the lead again setting a good fast pace for us. Skipping all aid stations and not listening to recommendations about taking of skis or to keep them on made us progress fast and efficiently through the course. When the sun rise we already past Taylor pass, more than halfway. From here it's just an on going long ridge that last all the way to the finish line. To accomplish this fast we used Himay's knowledge of the course and where switching positions with a couple of other team back and forth. We stopped at the mandatory 10 min aid station 7 mils (11,2 km) from the finish line. Here we got to now that we where in the topp 30 position. Our strategy was, -7 miles is nothing, let's go for it! Let's go fast and see how many positions we could take. From here we stopped using skinns and where just booting all small hills. Skating on the hard and firm crust next to the snowmobile tracks made it easy for us the gain one after another position.

We topped out on top of Ajax, (Aspen mountain) just before 9.00 am a clock and had a fantastic cruiser corduroy run in perfect spring conditions all the way down the the finish line/area at the base of the Gondola. We finished 18th, our time: 10,03 hours we are really happy with. To compere it we can use Himay's last years time. We shaved it of from last year with 4 h 59 minutes, Pretty damn good! We both feel that we have more to give, both when comes to energy levels and lighter gear as skis and what we have in our packs, so maybe next year, how about top 10. ? .  =)

Now I haven't sleept in more than 36 hours and are sitting next to my bed writing to you all, aspire after to cuddle up under my comforter. Once again a big Thanks to my/our locally sponsors, Jagged Edge and Erik and Wagner Custom (that I forgot to mention last time, but they are really important to me, Thanx Pete) and of course Peak Performance and PocSports!

Worth mention might be that this years conditions where faster then ever, not easier but faster. There was a new course record in 7 hours & 32 minutes, a team from Crested Butte. Congrats!

The Grand Traverse!

One hour before start! we get our becons checked.

At the start line! A lot of people.

Himay makes last preparations, 5,4,3,2,1 - GO!

And of we went, first 100 meter (300 feet) like a sprint race  and than it calms down. 

Headlamps are a key in this race when we race through the night.

God Morning! You can almost see Taylor pass behind Himay, it's real position is to the right of this picture.

Great morning light!

Getting closer for each step/stride.

More downhill to come!

Me in the morning, tired but happy! 

And god morning friends, finally I can see you without a headlamp!

That goes for you people on the tail too!

9,03 am this morning we crossed the finish line on a time on 10 hours & 3 minutes!

Overall 18th, in our category 9 and our time 10.03 hours!

1 kommentar:

  1. Grymt jobbat!
    Jag gick södra och norra tväråklumpen igår (31mars). Första riktiga toppturen för min del. 5.03h och 2 vurpor, men jag är nöjd. :)