With so many factors going into organizing and executing a race, it’s difficult for any race to be perfect but I’d say Sherpa John (the brains and brawn behind Human Potential Running) pulled it off with the Indian Creek 50s. Ideal fall weather and spectacular scenery contributed to making this race memorable but the work put in by John and his crew was apparent. The course was well-marked, aid stations well-stocked (even though volunteers had to cart food and water 3-6 miles) and post-race food and beer was plentiful and delicious. My only complaint was that I was undertrained!
Starting at 6AM in the dark may sound daunting but truthfully darkness made the first 9.5 miles fly by. John warned us that the course would go up and down with very little flat in between but in the blackness with costumed super heroes and cats running past the hills seemed easy. Spirits seemed high as runners greeted the sunrise over Roxborough State Park.
After the promised climbs and descents we arrived at the first aid station (Rampart) with a huge spread of food. I enjoyed this food immensely, especially after seeing the huge hill the volunteers had to carry all the supplies up. I think carrying a 35 lb water jug sounds much harder than running a 50k (even with my UD pack fully loaded)!
Although weather forecasts had predicted 70+ degrees, we were fortunate to have cloud cover and a breeze that kept temperatures reasonable. For November 1st it was ideal weather. After the Rampart aid station we headed into a wooded section of the course.
With just 130 runners doing both the 50k and 50 mile races there were stretches with a lot of solitude. With the soft trail and variety of terrain and scenery, I enjoyed this quiet time. I did have some torturous miles where my mind could not stop hearing the chorus “Let it Go” from the movie Disney movie “Frozen. ” Luckily I stayed sane enough to keep from singing the lyrics aloud.
Leaving Roxborough State Park, the course had a short stretch on the Colorado Trail down to the Stevens Gulch aid station (THE DAM station). Run by Brad Bishop, this aid station did not disappoint! Runners were welcomed with cheery smiles, signs claiming “Phidippides almost died at this point in his run” and warm quesadillas. Brad and his crew encouraged runners to take food to munch as the trail was going to get significantly steeper. (Which it most certainly did!)
Although I was feeling sleepy, heading back toward the Rampart aid station (and eating a handful of EnergyBits) put a spring in my step. It seemed every time I’d feel an energy lull, I’d come upon another runner and we’d strike up a conversation. It seemed every runner I met had a cheerful demeanor.
I was very excited to come around a corner to see the campground parking lot that signaled the final stretch of the race. While it was an amazing day, I was relieved to be finished. The post-race festivities fulfilled me almost as much as running the race. I spent the next few hours sitting in the sun, munching delicious Noodles and Co. pad thai and chatting with other racers as we cheered on other finishers. It was exciting to see so many runners completing their first ultra with huge grins on their faces.
This was a memorable way to end my 2014 ultra season. With wintry weather looming I’m glad I could squeeze in one final ultra.
Next up – rest, recovery and some entertaining Fat Ass runs around the front range.