Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Friday, June 20, 2008

Desert RATS stages 2,3,4

Hello friends! It's Friday about noon and I'm sitting at Eddie McStiffs on my day off enjoying my favorite all natural earthy, hoppy beverage. Much needed! Obviously I haven't had any cell coverage because we have been off the beaten path a bit. So without further delay here's the story:

Stage 2 5.25, 101 degrees: 36 myles today. The stage was supposed to be 38 but the place where we were to set up camp was under water so we ended the stage a little short making the next day a little longer. I had predicted a time of 5.55 for the stage to keep me under 24 hours so my time was right in line for that. Allen and I ran together until mile 26 when the heat just slapped me up side the face! We were pushing and we knew it so I opted to stay below the red line and Allen continued on as he saw an opportunity - don't blame him. I was reduced to a run/walk the last 6 myles because of the heat. Lost 19 minutes to Allen today that will be hard to make up because he is so smart and tough. Spent the rest of the day lounging at the Colorado river soaking my dogs because as Aric Manning would say "they were barking!"

Stage 3 1.25, 97 degrees: 11 myles today. The additional mileage was added today from yesterday, didn't mind. Allen and I ran together today (again), no sense in sprinting on this stage for minimal gain. We both used it as a meter to test each others foot speed. I can say this with confidence, I have more foot speed and Allen is better longer - we both concur. Having said that, I have a feeling he's gonna pour it on for the long stage. This stage has a little up and down along the Colorado river so it made it seem a little cooler, and because it was early in the day we avoided the heat of the day. We ended in a gentleman's finish and called it a draw. Even though we didn't want to push the pace it seems easier to go faster with someone of like speed. 24 hours is going down for both of us but how far under 24 hours?

Stage 4 9.46, 101 degrees: 52 myles today. This stage is what it's all about! The most scenic, the most diverse, the most arduous! 10,000ft of elevation gain! This stage starts out in the slick rock canyons and ends high in the La Sal mountain range, some of the most beautiful terrain I have seen in my life.

The plan today was to go out nice and easy, stay together through 28 myles and who ever had something left would hit it. Turns out Allen had it and I didn't. I am climbing very well but Allen is just really, really good climbing late in a race. Allen came in at 8.53, about an hour before me but he said he was running scared all day and had given it everything he had. After the race he told me that he saw me eat a PB sandwich and saw his opportunity. Eating food late in a race slows you down to digest so it takes blood away from circulation and him being a physician, he understands the dynamics. He put the hammer down on the second climb around mile 35 and never looked back. I tried to match his footsteps in the sand, which I did most of the time but he slowly pulled away setting a course stage record by 1 hour 25 minutes - remarkable! My predicted time for this stage was 9.55 so again I stayed within the 24 hour mark. Allen told me last night that he gets very nervous during the early part of every stage because I'm setting the pace and he's hoping it doesn't last. That makes me feel good because my plan was to take it out fast and burn him up a bit, obviously that hasn't happened. Allen is the man!

Right now I'm on pace to hit the mid 23 hour range. I feel pretty good right now but the morning will tell the story. The stage tomorrow will take us along the porcupine rim trail and then drop us down into the famous slick rock trail. There is no chance I will catch Allen but remember in the beginning my goal was to under 24 hours and that's exactly what I'll do! I will give it everything I have tomorrow. I'll post again tomorrow around 3 p.m. to give the final standings. I thank all of you for your support and look forward to chatting with you soon!
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