19 May 2013

Quad Rock 50 Rockin' Report

Photo: E. Bibeau

Needless to say I wasn't brimming with confidence coming into QR. I had been watching shadows of my former self running effortlessly on the walls while I lay horizontal in the fatigue cave. On the couch, feet off the ground, wondering what my deal was. Was QR going to turn into another second half 25 mile death march like Sonoma? These were some of my thoughts leading up to race. Here's what it looked like on paper since Sonoma:

Week 1- 9.5 miles, 5 days off, "recovery week"
Week 2- 81 miles, 1 day off, started feeling a bit better so I resumed "normal" training
Week 3- 34 miles, 3 days off, felt like I was re-entering the cave, kept it real like chill
5 days before race- 20 miles, 2 days off, felt worked after these super easy runs

Went to bed early on QR eve. Woke up unsure of how the race would pan out. Drove to the race with the jams going LOUD! Singing along full throttle was a HUGE boost to my energy and spirit. It wasn't Aldean or Church that saved my race...it was Shelton! "Small Town Big Time Night" got me ready to roll! Whew! Disaster averted.

Rollin' in the valley. Photo: M. Hodges

The race started and we rolled out comfortably on the road catching up with those we knew and figuring out who was who from those we didn't. On the first descent down Spring Creek I was enjoying the home trails and moved past Arthur, Briney, and then Aish to take a brief (any my only) lead of the day. Aish and I struck up a bit of conversation about his NZ homeland shortly before we hit the Horsetooth AS. From here out the race was on! As we headed up Southridge I watched Aish, Briney, Arthur, and Hamilton float up the second climb of the day as I took it somewhat conservative as I thought about the remaining 4 we still had to ascend.

Aish and I dropping into Horsetooth AS Photo: N. Peterson

From Southridge I ran solo all the way to the Timber Trail descent where I went by Briney on the steeper pitches before the bridge. I hit the turn in 3:39 (3:36 in 2012) and soldiered on. The temp was warming and the climbs were feeling tougher. I was mentally preparing for my rematch with the crux climb up Mill Creek. Last year it kicked my butt. This year I took it easy not letting the heart rate skyrocket as much. More intentional hiking on the steeps...maybe I went too easy. I got to the top where I surprisingly saw Aish in a chair at the AS. He apparently took a brief detour off course descending Arthur's Rock Trail. Instead of following the named trail to the AS he went left on Overlook. During this time Arthur unknowingly took the lead and began his Mill Creek ascent. Aish then went beast mode to catch up to Arthur and was stopped short by the accumulation of lactic acid by the time he got to the top.

Photo: N. Testerman

I got knews that Hamilton was only a few minutes in front of me and was looking rough. I figured keep it steady and I'll catch him within the hour. I passed by the oncoming masses ascending Horsetooth as I made my way down with no sign of Hamilton. Once I got to the Horsetooth AS Erskine gave me the status, "Kiss your course record good bye, Arthur is looking STRONG!" "Hamilton is only two minutes ahead and looking rough, you've got 2nd!" I went up Spring Creek and never got a visual on Hamilton. Same thing at Mill Creek AS. "He's only 2 minutes ahead and looks ROUGH!"

Photo: N. Testerman

I bombed down Towers and had my first Goding sighting of the year. "There you are" said Goding in a very relaxing yet reassuring way. Goding revealed the truth. "You're not even close to 2nd. Just keep doing what you're doing. Stay in the present moment. Be the trail. You'll run faster when you stop running. All we are is dust in the wind. Grasshopper." (Disclaimer: only the first quote is legit, the others are what I heard after 7 hours of running)

The Finish! Photo: S. Price

Once I hit the valley I cruised to the finish; mistiming my kick by 22 seconds to finish in 8:00:21. (4:21 second lap, 4:04 in 2012). Another awesome post race and successful event beautifully directed by Pete and Nick and the INCREDIBLE ARMY OF AWESOME VOLUNTEERS!!! Congrats to King Arthur for making it 3 in a row! On his first pass of Arthur's Rock he grabbed the sword and never looked back! Shelby Berg- awesome job on your first 50! No DFL...keep rockin!


  1. You're a class act, Burch -- thanks for the vote of confidence. Glad you had a good day and hope to see you again soon on the trails!

  2. What did I know? Hamilton ran faster the last section than Arthur did. I hope it at least gave you some incentive to push, and I'm glad your CR is still in place.