ACE presents the 2008 La Sportiva Rattlesnake Ramble Race Report
Eldorado Canyon State Park, September 21, 2008 - The 4th annual La Sportiva Rattlesnake Ramble trail race went off this morning in Eldorado Canyon State Park. A record number of 67 finishers (80 signed up, but 13 did not start). With former champion Andy Ames and defending champion Dave Mackey in the field, it looked to be a fast race, and indeed it was. Overall, this was the fastest race in Ramble history. Each previous year we've had only two runners break the 30-minute barrier, but this year runners did it!
Adventure racer Travis Macy took the early lead and led up the big Eldorado Trail hill, but soon La Sportiva runner John Tribbia would take the lead and push the pace the entire way. Due to a volunteer error the course turn-around on the Fowler Spur was 20 meters too far, making the course longer than it should have been. This might have been the difference in saving Ames' course record of 28:05, for Tribbia ran a blistering 28:12 and won by 45 seconds. The race for second was desperately close with Macy edging out Matt Hill by a single second.
The women's field was loaded as well. World-class trail runner Lisa Goldsmith toed the line and there was never any doubt. Lisa went on to shatter the course record and win by over a minute and a half in 34:09. First-time rambler Heather Swallow also put in a dominating performance in taking second place, nearly two minutes up on third place. In third was two-time defending champion Lisa Ledet who barely held off road-running specialist Janet Rooney in an exciting high-speed finish down the Eldorado Canyon Road.
In the kids division, 10-year-old Derek Wright made it two in a row, defending his title from last year, though on the new 2-mile kids' course.
Thanks to everyone for making this such a great experience for me. I love runners, racers, and competition and the group of people that do this race are incredible. I'm excited to make next year's race bigger and better. More prizes, more food, and more race shirts - one for everyone and all the volunteers.
Special thanks to La Sportiva which is a great local company that does more for trail running than any other company and will do even more next year. Also,Fleet Feet, and Kahtoola. Also a special thanks to Rocky Mountain Rescue and their crew that have always provided medical and rescue support. Once again, though, we've had no injuries or mishaps in this race.
Thanks to all of you,
Race Director Rattlesnake Ramble
President Action Committee for Eldorado
Eric Coppock's Race Report:
It took a team effort to get me to the Rattlesnake Ramble this year! Between people getting sick and the unfortunate juxtaposition of the Ramble on the same day as my wife running 13.1 miles at the Boulder Marathon this year, I didn’t think I was going to make it. But, at the last minute, my sister-in-law stepped up to the task of taking a nice fall morning hike in Eldo with her kid and mine, and I was back in business. Good thing, as I’ve run the event every year it’s been held and would like to keep the streak alive!
As a nice twist, two of my kiddos decided to run! So I had a 9-year-old and a 6-year-old throw down for the 2-mile kids’ event, leaving Aunt Deba with only two kids to watch. Saved me feeling guilty, and greatly reduced the chances of somebody ending up in the creek. J
Now, between work and chasing kids around, I hadn’t done much in the way of training since relaying the 5430 Long Course triathlon with some buddies. And I was the bike … fortunately all the training I had done since then was “base” running, so I knew I was good for the distance and would be able to finish strong.
Race-day, I had only one strategy and half a goal. Stragegy: let Buzz Burrell set the pace at the start. I made the mistake of going out faster than him once before, and paid dearly for it. Especially this year, with the gnarly trip up the Eldo trail on tap first, I knew any friskiness in the first mile would pay “Wall Street 2008” style dividends. Half a goal: beat Bill Wright! J We have a nice history of beating each other up in the middle of the pack, and Bill is one of those guys you can go toe-to-toe with all day and still feel the love afterwards. It turned out that following Buzz’s pace up the road put me running right next to none other than Bill, and the pace was brisk yet comfortable, so I settled right in. The 3 of us hit the Eldo climb pretty much together. In keeping with my “conserve early, bust a move later” approach, I took to power hiking significant sections of the Eldo climb as soon as it got steep. For a while this worked very well, but a couple of switchbacks from the top they started to pull away from me. Bill in particular seemed to be throwing it down hard. Whether by discretion or wimpiness, I let them go and held my effort steady. Not to worry, I was plenty uncomfortable…
I ran the downhill farily conservatively as well… my days of hucking my body down whatever hill is in front of it seem to be over. Gimme a break, I’m 40. By the time I got back to the road I seemed to be pretty alone out there … nobody visible in front, and nobody making noises from behind either. I settled in for the gorgeous trip out the Fowler leg, tried to notch up the cadence by a couple of ticks, and let the legs start to stretch out. First thing I see after turning on to Fowler is my 2 kids running together, coming back the other way toward their finish. Oh yeah, what could make the morning more fun than that? At this point I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve gauged my effort, and I’m making good time. And then … before I get to the Bastille notch, whom do I see up the trail but Bill Wright, and he seems to be coming back to me. Nice, but I’ve got a lot of ground to make up, so now is not the time to get all freaky. I continue to focus on a clean, quick, efficient stride, and wait to see how this will play out.
Sure enough, but the time we get to the Fowler turnaround, I’ve almost caught Bill. I pull up on him on the way back toward Bastille and start to play the mental game with myself. How much more can I take? How much does he have left? I punch it by him and try my best to keep the speed up through the rocks and little whoop-de-doos. Nothing but encouragement from Bill, as usual… the only thing he seems to like better than giving his best effort is seeing others give theirs. Now I’m back on the ‘autobahn’ portion of the Fowler trail, quite possibly the best ½ mile of running you could possibly do anywhere on the planet. I’m in full flight, lungs not far from the redline but just feeling great and I know I can take it all the way in to the finish like this. Kirsten Kindt (ended up in 3rd among the women) is tucked in behind me and seems to be content with my pacemaking so I keep driving it. Running down the road is like it always is … all legs and arms flying all over the place, seems to take forever when you’re doing it and when it’s over you can hardly remember that part. I continued to make up good time on the road, almost catching Mark Bockmann and, it turns out, getting to within 24 seconds of the Buzzmeister by the finish. Not quite a PR … I did that when I was a lot stronger at going uphill than I am now … but overall probably the best quality effort and run I’ve ever put down at the Ramble.
Thanks again Bill. The Ramble is always the funnest, most low-key and yet super-hard and fast event around. And the location is simply unbelievable. You keep it coming … I’ll keep coming! J