A fantastic weekend. I traveled down to the Hardrock 100 on Friday with friend and fellow ultra runner Jake Jones. Jake is the guy who got me into ultrarunning; no doubt about it. He has several 100 mile results to his credit; Hardrock 100 finishes in both directions, Bear 100, Leadville 100, Western States 100, etc. He is the real deal. He and I were going down to help pace a friend of his: Mike Ehredt. Mike just moved last year from Crested Butte, CO to Driggs, ID. Hopefully we can convince him to move back to CB.
Mike is going for the Rocky Mountain Slam this season. He just completed the Big Horn 100 in a fast time of 22hrs. and change. He raced Hardrock, and will be racing Wasatch and the Bear later this season. Mike is a seasoned veteran to ultra-endurance competition. In years past he was an adventure racer/primal-quest guy. He has raced the Marathon Des Sables as well, most recently this spring.
Needless to say I was excited to be pacing Mike. His goal was to finish between 35 and 40 hrs, or, before dark on Saturday evening. He did. Mike finished in 38 hrs. and 39 min at 8:39pm. He was steady and consistent throughout the entire race; like any grizzled veteran should be. I was up to pace Mike from Ouray to Grouse Gulch; approx. 16 miles. This was to be mostly in the dark, as we left Ouray about 8pm. The cliff section was incredible (I can’t wait to get there in the daylight one day). We then climbed even steeper to the Engineer Aid station where we both partook in the bounty of warm soup and oatmeal. Soon we were off, again hot on the heels of Kirk Apt. We made it to the top of the pass and down the jeep road in to the Grouse Gulch Aid Station at 1:30am. This is where Jake took over and they headed over Handies Peak and down to Sherman before making their way to Cunningham (the 91 mile mark of the course).
Cunningham is where I camped that night. We rolled in there at approx. 3:30am… so it was too dark to see our surroundings. I threw down my sleeping pad and bag right on the ground by the car, and immediately fell asleep. I was wakened 3 minutes later to the sound of rocks tumbling down a hillside, and surmised that it was Kyle Skaggs and his pacer on the trail high above us. (It was). When I woke up at 7:30am, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer beauty of the Cunningham Gulch Basin… just incredible ridges, mountains, peaks, waterfalls, etc.. incredible.
Mike came in through Cunningham at approx. 4:30pm, and we were off and over the Little Giant to the finish in the town of Silverton. (a nine mile stretch) Incredible. We climbed straight up for 3 miles to 13,000′ and then headed straight down.. rolled along to the finish. The sunset was incredilbe, the views were amazing, and Mike was rolling on this last part of the course.