Sunday, February 27, 2011

Winter Quadrathlon 2011-Grants, NM

Well, a week has gone by and I am still not quite recovered from the punishment of the Quad.  This year was my 4 trip to Grants, an 8 hour drive from Gunnison Colorado.  A big drive and a huge effort for the 5,000 foot ascent/descent.  A road ride up 1500ft over 13 miles, off-road gravel road run 5mile that turns to mud/ice/snow on the 1200ft ascent, switch to skis with skins (rando race kit) up 1200ft over 2 miles, then peak out on snowshoes you carry in your pack for the ski up the remaining 600ft in 3/4 of a mile.  You must then return back to the start via the same modes minus skins and no drafting on the downhill bike.  Many people choose to team up for this greweling event but this year there were more soloist than ever with nearly 250 racers.

The start was honest as there were some fast cyclist in the soloist race.  I made a solid minute effort on the first steep climb and established a gap but had Josiah Middaugh on my wheel still.  We did manage to put space between us and the Travis Macy (the winner of the last two years).  Once on the run I had to ditch my chamois as I felt like I was running in a diaper.  I was hoping to get some time on Josiah during the uphill run but he kept me in check the whole way.  At the run/ski transition I was passed but I closed up by half way up the skin ski. The SCARPA carbon boots and heel lifts on the Low Tech bindings helped with stability and saved my calves with the steep climbing.   Josiah was jogging the whole first third and I had to go full gas the whole uphill ski!  Again I was gapped on the transition to snowshoe but kept in contact at about 15-20 seconds back.  On the downhill ski I was able to make up lots of time on the steep downhill and caught Josiah after his second crash.  By the time we got to the last 300 meters of flat skiing Josiah had managed to close it up again and pass me out to the run down.  Sitting about a minute back I still had hopes of making contact again until my groin seized up.  I needed to stop and shake my leg as it wouldn't move.  I pulled through for the end of the run, grabbing my chamois in the ditch on the way.  I was only 1 minute down still and was very hopeful that I could do it then both groins seized up and I had to coast the whole first descent. On the second and final descent both calves seized and I was looking over my shoulder for the first time.  Up the road I saw a police car leading Josiah to the finish about 3/4 of a mile ahead.  Ugh!  I finished 1 minute 50 seconds down and I took nearly 15 minutes off my fastest full-quad time and was seven minutes ahead of the winner from the last two years.  One serious effort.  Looking forward to the next COSMIC race-The Power of 4 with Wick.  Thanks for reading.

click here for a link to a video interview of Brian Smith and the other top two athletes

Smithy

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