Fall EverGold Race
Last minute Tara and I signed up for the final race in the Evergreen Trail Race series - the Fall EverGold 10 miler (actually, about 11 miles). Due to the flooding from a couple weeks ago, they had to move the course to a two lap route in the Alderfer/3 Sister Park outside of Evergreen. With some snow and ice on the trails as a result of Friday's storm, the race started out of the west parking area right at 9:00am. Right away eventual winner and super fast runner Lonnie Cruz took off well ahead of everyone else. There were two other fast guys trailing Lonnie, while a group of four of us were just back in the leading pack. The course was super fun, with fast downhills, steep uphills, and some rolling terrain that gained 1,000' each lap. After the initial downhill and then climb on the Mountain Muhly trail, I was in eighth place struggling to find my rhythm. Since we signed up last minute, I did not tapper and could feel it in my legs fairly quickly as they lacked any pop. My only hope was to hold on and hope that others began to drop, as 10 miles is really short and my focus has been on longer endurance.
The first lap went by fairly quickly, and my position remained the same. After passing by the start again, I started to take it up a notch and initially passed the two other guys who had been just ahead of me. Soon, however, on the following climb I was passed again by one of them while the other seemed to fade. I didn't let the guy get out of my sights, and kept trying to stick right behind him. On the final to last downhill, with less then 2 miles left I really threw down the hammer and blew past the guy, which surprised me as he seemed to be running strong. I really pushed to keep ahead of him over the next section of rolling terrain, and then gave a final push across the flats to the finish line. I was happy to roll in with a time of 1:27, good for 6th place overall. Although I don't stand a chance in these shorter races, I really enjoy them as they push me in ways that longer races don't. The Evergreen series seems to be a real cool series, one that might be fun to do next year if not to use the races as hard tempo runs.