ELDORADO RATTLESNAKE RAMBLE RACE REPORT
By Buzz Burrell
It was a happy day Saturday for the 1st annual Rattlesnake Ramble. Held in Eldorado Canyon, this is the only legal trail race you'll ever see this close to home, as all competitive events have been banned in Boulder City and County Parks and Open Space. The State Park however, was very cooperative, the event was fun and no problem for anyone, leaving us all still wondering why the heck Boulder is so incredibly anal.
Andy Ames - USATF Masters Runner of the Year - took it out fast, showing his
old form after a injury-ridden start to the season. He was followed by Brian
Dayton and Jeff Valliere, as the first half of the course was smooth and fast.
Andy seemingly had a comfortable lead at the highpoint and turnaround up on
the South Boulder Creek Trail, but Brian ran a blazing technical descent, making
up possibly a minute in a mile, catching and passing Andy before regaining the
road. The two of them then launched really impressive finishing kicks, running
past the Bastille at I'm sure a sub 4 minute mile pace as they blazed to the
finish in a very close 28:35 and 28:43 for the
4.1 mi/850' course.
Lisa Ledet led the women from start to finish, following the "other Lisa's" Pikes Peak example by doubling with the Masters and Overall Female win. (She then did another "double" by climbing Ruper on Reguard Wall!)
Prizes were furnished by the La Sportiva GoLite Team, almost everyone won something,
and major thanks go to Bill Wright for organizing this event (who will hopefully
post full results later today). All funds went to the Action Committee for Eldorado.
It was the perfect set-up for me. Trail running is “not my sport.” I had run a total of 4 times to prepare for the event. I’d never seen the course. I could even claim to be more concerned about getting back for my kids’ soccer games in Longmont. In short, I could do no wrong!
On the other side, there were several things conspiring to get me in trouble. I have in fact done a good bit of trail running before, when we lived up at Horsetooth Mountain Park West of Ft Collins. Conditions were perfect, with a beautiful blue sky, ideal temperatures (though a bit too much down-canyon wind), and I felt pretty good. I had more coffee than usual. Plus one small misunderstanding … I though Bill’s email on Friday had said he ran the course in 34-something, so I was thinking I could do 35. In reality Bill ran a 37-something, it was the guy he was with who ran the 34. I didn’t know at the time I was proposing to beat Bill’s baseline time by 2 minutes. But then, I am an arrogant bugger…
Honorable start-meister Buzz Burrell gave us the yee-ha, and a pack of 5 guys at the front took off like they were running a 400. I ran most of the way up the road to the first turnoff with Stoobke, just sort of trying to get into the feel of things. Steve was stronger than I expected and running really well. We were in about 12th or so at the turn onto Fowler trail. Steve had dropped back a bit, and Fowler is this really beautiful flat trail that just makes you want to wind it up, so I started to stretch out. I was using a couple of guys in front of me as rabbits, and they set a really nice pace and closed in on one guy who had been dropped out of the front bunch by their manic start. About the time my two rabbits passed the guy, I realized it was Bill. Cool! If I can keep in contact with Bill, then I know I’m having a good day. Buzz was there (above Bastille) taking pictures and I totally did a double-take (hey, weren’t you at the start line?) until I realized that he just hiked up the Bastille climber’s trail to get ahead of us. I sat in behind Bill from the Bastille out to the turn-around and back to Bastille, then I slipped by him on the left and said “hey, I’ll take a pull.” As if that helps in trail running, but it seemed like the right thing to do to a chronic biker. Bill gave me a little push and I really stretched it out and let fly. By the time I hit the road I was alone. Huh? Wow.
Another quarter mile up the road to the turnoff for Eldo trail. It didn’t exactly feel good to start uphill again, but I held it together really well and didn’t let it slow me down much. As soon as I hit the Eldo trail I started mixing in power-hiking. That was my plan from the beginning. I didn’t think I’d make up time on anybody on the uphills, but I knew for sure I would lose time hand over fist if I was totally redlined when I got to the top and couldn’t immediately attack the downhill. So I commenced a hot-tempo power hike with a few strides of running thrown in there and there as the trail dictated. My two rabbits were a switchback ahead and appeared to be trying to run the whole thing, but I was slowly gaining on them. Bill was a switchback behind me with a guy on his wheel. He seemed to be running more than I was, but if he was gaining on me it wasn’t much. I tried desperately to play it cool and promised myself I’d go ballistic on the downhill.
The top came sooner than I expected, and I busted a move. Bill shouted some encouragement as he went by on his way to the turn, not 30 seconds behind me. The chase was on! It was a pretty rocky, technical downhill so I didn’t get too crazy, but there wasn’t a whole lot held back either. I ran down one of the guys in front of me (Ryan) and passed him just as we got back onto the road to move into 8th place. Whoa, this is pretty wacky. Top 10? I hadn’t looked behind so I had no idea where Bill was. I ran with Ryan on my shoulder for about 300m before he started coming by again. I also started to hear somebody coming up from behind. Man, I’ve never been in that much pain running downhill before. I was completely crosseyed and was getting beat up really bad. I obviously need to learn some technique for running down moderate grades, because I just couldn’t do it. I lost contact with both of these two guys and followed them in for 10th at 34:40. Bill came in 23 seconds later.
A very cool event in a one-of-a-kind location. Don’t miss it next year.