Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quad Rock 50 Race Report

Date: 5/12/12
Stats: 50 miles; ~11,275’ elevation gain
Results: 7:57:16; 4th overall

This race report is long overdue, but better late than never. I’m going to spare you most of the details because 1) you probably don’t care about things like how many times I went to the bathroom and 2) at this point it’s been long enough that I don’t remember most of them. As you can see from the stats, this race was no joke. Nick Clark and Pete Stevenson, co-RDs for the inaugural running of Quad Rock, created an awesome course that showcased many of the trails in Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park in Fort Collins. The 50 miler consisted of two 25 mile loops run in opposite directions. Running these trails on a regular basis will definitely harden you up quickly. It was no surprise that most of the “favorites” were local guys who were familiar with the trails and used to running crazy amounts of vert.

elevation profile

 The week leading up to the race was unseasonably hot. However, Friday night we got a lot of rain and it cooled off considerably. There was much speculation about trail conditions and race day weather. However, it turned out to be a perfect day for running…high around 50 and overcast. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt all day. Unfortunately for the spectators, perfect running weather means less than desirable spectating weather (sorry Jess). Ultra running is such a selfish sport. I’m lucky to have a girlfriend that is willing to sit around in crappy weather for 8 hours just to see me twice.

The race got under way at 5am, with the 25 milers and 50 milers starting together. The first few miles (also the last few miles) are really the only flat part of this course. It was a nice way to settle into a rhythm and loosen up. I saw a few familiar faces and said hi, but for the most part I ran by myself until the first summit of Horsetooth, around mile 12. Here I caught up to Jason Koop, a much more successful and experienced runner than myself. I figured it’d be unwise to pass someone of his caliber, especially this early in a race, so I tucked in behind him and grinded on. And this is where I would stay until mile 36… We actually didn’t even talk at all til about mile 28, where we exchanged names and then went back to running in silence. I think we were both just focused, not necessarily anti-social. After all, we were racing.

Speaking of racing, this was really the first race where I felt like I was racing and I loved it. All my other races I felt like I was participating. Anyway, back to the race. I came in to the 25 mile checkpoint in 6th place, a few seconds behind Koop. I quickly refilled a bottle, grabbed a few gels and gave Jess a kiss. Koop and I left simultaneously, passing another runner in the meantime. We left in 4th and 5th place, with the leader, Fort Collins local Ryan Burch, about 15 minutes ahead. Second was Jim Rebenack and third David Riddle, a crazy fast guy from Ohio who has crushed the east coast trail scene the last couple years.

Making the climb back up Arthur’s Rock was definitely a grind. Luckily I got to see some friends making their way down to the 25 mile checkpoint which helped pass the time. At mile 35 Koop and I surprisingly caught up to Riddle. Shortly after, Koop started to walk a bit on a steep hill and I decided to make a move and pass him. I was now in 3rd place, which was kind of exciting. Maybe this excitement got the best of me, because I thought that maybe I could put enough distance between Riddle and Koop to hold on for a podium finish. But the experienced Koop caught back up to me a couple miles later and was able to drop me quite easily. This was frustrating. I was really hoping to be able to hang on a bit longer.

From then on I didn’t see another person and was able to cruise to a 4th place finish. Upon returning to the relatively flat Valley trail, I was happy to see that I was still able to run with some sort of speed. My last three miles were 7:03, 7:22 and 6:54. I was really happy with this race. I guess my training paid off, although it really doesn’t feel like training. I simply love running every day…literally every day. The freedom, the challenge, the competition with myself and others. Now I just can’t wait for Hardrock!

coming in to the 25 mile turn around  

2 miles to go (photo: Eric Lee)

post race with Jess


  1. You are super fit man, Hardrock is gonna be awesome. I may make it out to spectate a bit with my oldest son, you know, just some recon in case I ever get through the lottery!

  2. That was an impressive race! You had an absolutley crushing pace on the second half of the course. Im planning on coming out to Silverton to cheer you on as well.

  3. Thanks guys. Definitely am looking forward to HR. Patrick, recon will definitely help...I've heard a lot of stories about people getting lost. I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I haven't been on any of the course yet.