This weekend I headed out to the four corners region. The initial reason for being out that was was for Nathans 12 hour mountain bike race, 12 hours of Mesa Verde, but on top of that I found a trail 10K in Durango and I had been itching to do a race so that is what made the decision for me.
When I got out of the tent saturday morning lots of people were already wide awake getting ready for the bike race; lots of people wearing spandex, drinking coffee, checking tire pressure, and making last minute preparations for their day. The bike race started at 7am in what is know as a Le Mans mass start, this was my first time watching such a start and it was very entertaining. The riders had their bikes set up near the barn where they would record their laps but the actual start was probably 400m from the barn down a gravel road. So the bikers line up 400m away from their bikes, the gun goes off, and they then have to run to their bikes. Lets just say some people really went for it trying to actually sprint in mtn bike shoes, some took their time, and some people unfortunately fell. At any rate watching helmet and spandex clad bikers try to run in mountain biking shoes was well worth getting up early.
After watching the start of the race I gathered my running things and headed to Durango, about 40 miles away. It was still cold but by the start of the race at 9 it was pretty warm and sunny out. It was a pretty small local race with a 1 mile, 5K and 10K option. Looks like there was 34 people in the 5K and 52 in the 10K based on results.
The race started with running up a dirt/rocky road it leveled off and we made a turn to run around a meadow still going slightly uphill. After the brief run thru the meadow the trail really started to go up and there was a series of switchbacks. After 23-25 minutes or so I reached the highest point and we headed immediately back down.
The first downhill part was pretty steep and scary, for me at least. To the left was a bit of a drop off and where there weren't rocks there were sections of sand that were hard to stop and turn on. All in all it wasn't that bad I just had to pay close attention to where my feet were going to land. After this steep section the downhill became more managable and eventually we ended up in the meadow. I think this was probably my favorite part of the race as there were tiny rolling hills and some banked turns it didn't hurt that I was feeling pretty strong at this point too. In this last meadow part I managed to pick off a couple of runners as I tried to pick up my pace for a strong finish. I would have picked up the pace a bit sooner but my watch inidcated I had more distance left then I did, guess it lost signal at some point. Luckily the end was the same as some of the 5K and when I saw the ribbons marking the 5K course I knew I should pick it up as there couldn't be much left. Before I knew it I was headed back down the dirt road and I was done. Results are up and I managed a time of 50:52, which is around an 8:08 pace which I'm pretty happy about considering how long the hill was in the beginning.
The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. I headed back to the mountain bike race, went for a short road ride and followed that up with a nap.