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Hardrock 100 miler

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  • greg loomis
    Hello, I m back from 10 days of fun in Colorado! Steve Pero (my friend from Boston- who would run during the night with Sue Johnston-my friend from Vermont
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11 8:49 PM

      I'm back from 10 days of fun in Colorado! Steve Pero
      (my friend from Boston- who would run during the night
      with Sue Johnston-my friend from Vermont who would
      win..)and I left University of Virginia where I am now
      a proud masters student!!.. on the first of July and
      drove 32 hours to arrive in Silverton..Colorado.. Met
      the great 64yr old John Dewalt and 61y young Rollin
      Perry who would both finish (6th & 5th) times for
      each.. and after an hour in town headed up the Kendall
      MT. summiting our first 13,000 footer! Sucked!
      altitdue is rough, terrible headaches, dizzy,
      panting.. could not even run down.

      The next day I took it easy and tried to run the 6
      miles into town from our campsite. Ended up
      hitchhiking in. Could only run 2-3 min. at a time...
      wow no air even at 9300ft.

      Tuesday I summited Oscar pass with Bert Meyer(a 4
      time finisher) and Steve and ran down the way the
      course goes. Nice 8 mile trek and actually felt good.
      Still headache but not as bad.

      Rested Wed. and Thursday watched amazing fireworks,
      listening to them echo off the mountains, as Silverton
      is surrounded by 12,000fters.

      Fri. Morning woke at 4:15 a bit nervous but ready...
      Got around and was off and running around 5th place
      next to Sue down the streets the first 1/2 mile.. Felt
      okay so I told Sue I'd hang with her for as long as I
      could. When we hit the first trails (and slight
      hills) the Cliftons, Jureks, big 100mile race winners,
      Course record holders, annual top ten finishers went
      by us and we settled in.

      The first climb began and ended 2 hours later with me
      realizing I could climb with the best there is, and
      stay with Sue but I was not acclimated and was
      breathing hard when they were not. My heartrate was
      160 plus constantly and was to remain there
      forever!!!!! I took some pictures and noted the course
      was marked poorly and hard to follow, as we got off
      twice early on..

      I hit the first down hill easy trying to spare my
      quads and let people go by. 2:25 at the first aide
      station 9.6 miles in!!!!!!!
      I then hit the road with Betsy Nye(3rd place) and
      climbed the next mountain strong but easy stopping
      lots to drink , eat, fill my bottle from a stream,
      take pictures, sit on a rock, and mainly to keep my
      heart and head from blowing up. Headache got worse at
      the top and I was around 30th place but not working
      hard other than the altitude.

      Then the worst section came from 13 miles to 28 miles
      we never went below 11,500ft. and my head killed... I
      just felt weaker and weaker as I was on good trail but
      could barely run. Got hotter as clouds left a bit.. I
      stayed with Betsy for 40 min. then she left me. I sat
      at a tiny aide station that mules had packed in to the
      hills and thought maybe I was in over my head... but
      Some great runners were behind me, and I just don't
      quit... so press on. 22 miles in 6 HOURS!!!! does not
      make since but...that is Hardrock.

      We finally started down on a great pine covered trail
      as the first rains hit. I felt much better and moved
      up a bit but was really alone for hours until I got to
      Sherman and met Ian my frind from Ithaca who happend
      to ba able to pass thru Silverton.. I ate a ton and
      was glad for my well planned drop bags.. Got a good
      bit in for the next section would be cold and wet and
      11 miles before aide again. It also had a 14,000ft

      After two advil and a steady 30 min walk on a
      constantly climbing hill I began to feel good and ran
      strong... too strong as I missed a turn and ended up
      22 minutes of running off course(easily two miles.. 2
      strong miles...dammit!!!!!!!!!!!) I lead two others
      off course too to make me feel worse but then began to
      climb like a machine. Keeping the breathing at a
      steady pant and heartrate at 170 or so I climbed the
      switchbacks until above treeline with out a break
      passing Tim Hewitt who honestly looked near death.
      altitude had given him headaches,nausea, and the
      shakes.. he would struggle to get out to 42.. to drop)
      After sighting the top for the first time the rain got
      harder and my crappy jacket began to leak and cling to

      Handies has false peaks and the summit is actually
      miles in away from the first bit of the spins you go
      up.. Such disappointement had rarely ever hit me as
      each time I reached a top it was not THE top... I sat
      down and dug out a hat and warm mittens and water
      proof shells from my camelback backpack I wore... No
      bladder in it I just carried two bottles, one with a
      filter in it so I could take water from streams.

      Al caught me and we would continue to leap frog one
      another and see each others lights the next 30 miles.
      He is from Wisc and in his 3rd attempt. he finished in
      40hours.. Finally we go down and down and down and
      after hours I reach the Grouse gulch aide station at
      42 miles. Put on dry shirts, get out my headlamp,
      change shoes, eat and eat and eat and 28 min later
      leave the station walking up engineers pass with a
      FULL stomach as the light began to dimm. 2+ hours
      later and 7 miles of up hill dirt road walking I reach
      the top. it is 9:30 at night and I finally turn on my
      light to find the reflective markers to weave my way
      down a hill to the aide station.

      The are nice people and I eat a veggie burger, a
      potatoe and continue. After jumping(splashing thru)
      my 67th stream I begin a fun section of Bear creek
      trail that reminds me of Ithaca and the Vineyard loop,
      Wish it was light for I would run strong, but enstead
      it is a safe run, fast walk around sharp turns and
      steep descents that end up putting you 500ft above a
      gorge on a 2 foot wide ledge of shall with a rock wall
      to your right and air to your left. I think of my
      friend Elana, and my Mother who I had promised to not
      DIE and just walk.... I actually slipped on the tiny
      shall twice already, in areas where the drop off was
      not there so now it is a walk ever down. The stars are
      amazing and 1/3 moon is bright. The river crashes and
      roars and I think about this beautiful area and not
      that I have been going for 20 hours...

      I go thru another real frustrating section at 56
      miles trying to find a trail in tangled turning woods
      above the OURAY town thinking that each turn will lead
      to my road and none do. FINALLY I pop out and descend
      into town 1/2 mile to the aide station. The wind is
      wipping 45 miles and hour in a freak thing and I eat
      solely from my drop bags, pudding, jello, applesauce,
      fruit cup, take a bananna from the table and wish for
      the milkshake Steve was supposed to give me here...
      (it sits there not found... doah) Two Japanese folks
      waiting for AKI(he finishes in 47hours) cover me with
      a blanket to stop my shaking and rub my shoulders that
      ache from carrying my pack... With a full stomach and
      new batteries I head out of town passing 6 people
      heading in. I must be going slow??? How can they be
      catching me? It is another long road walk 6 miles to
      next aide station but I don't know this and think I am
      about to miss a turn for hours!!! I go slowly and feel
      just mentally down... I have decided I will finish but
      am nolonger being competitive and I wait for the light
      behind me to catch up. It is Al and we walk steady to
      Govenors's station 65 miles in. it is 4am and I take a
      caffiene pill and chat with the volunteers. I feel
      better spirit wise and eat some chips, have some coke,
      put down some instant mashed potatoes, take some TP
      with me... and head out after AL who left 8 minutes
      before I do. This clib goes from 7900ft in OURAY to
      13,000+ at Virginia's pass and takes forever.. I start
      to walk with some spirit to catch Al and as hints of
      dawn break I turn off my light and follow the road
      after his. Catching him in a steady climb feeling
      confident and then we get lost!!!!!!!!!! damn course
      marker anyway. 2 inches of survey tape??? come on! use
      like 26inches and make it blue and yellow stripped
      with neon green polka dots!!!! Hardest markers to
      find in my 12 years of racing..

      BY back tracking we find that we go up sharply on a
      non-trail and pick our way up a Talus slope, this is
      tons of rocks the size of a fist or your head piled
      upon one another... then it gets really steep and I
      strap my bottle to my waist and put one in my backpack
      and climb with my hands (class5 climb) into the snow,
      then use the footprints and kick steps to continue up.
      The sun has risen now and I take off one of my long
      sleeves. The the snow goes way up a 90 degree pitch.
      I see a black rope 1/2 way up. this is serious climb
      now. People could die here... WOW

      I begin to kick step up the ice wall and then stop,go
      back down get out my camera and take a picture this is
      too good... no one will believe me... I then ascend,
      grab the rope and panting until I am so faint I see
      spots I finally make the top and sit where two guys
      have put up a tarp and made a tiny aide station...
      They are true DUDES and ask if I want coffee... they
      have fire.. I wait for Al to get up safe then say good
      bye and thanks for the company but now I feel good and
      will run strong. I will cover the next 34 miles
      nearly as fast as the winner. Weird.

      WIth the sun up it is now 25 hours in and a new day
      here I begin to scramble and make my descent, down
      down down I go and then really start to run the
      runnable spots. You must understand these are not
      trails these are Mt goat paths. I get below treeline
      and into pines and run by old mining buildings and
      enjoy the air. My head does not hurt anymore since I
      take two advil every 5 hours. I don't want to go more
      frequent for I tend to piss blood if I do that... thus
      I don't. It is a lonely run and when I see the
      Telluride ski slope I get anxious to be down. Finally
      I pop out into tow and run down a street with some guy
      waiting for me to point the way. I get into the aide
      station and sit.. 73 miles down (plus the 2 extra) and
      begin to figure if I can finish by nightfall..

      Change shoes, and see my feet are prunned and white
      but okay, and eat my usual: pudding, potatoes, jello,
      applesauce, bannana, chips, have a coke, fill bottles
      with water and one with MT. dew, I feel amazing and
      the aide station people say I look so good... I leave
      here on a mission and am competitive again. I will
      climb the next 10 mile segment a full 8 minutes faster
      than anyone in the field including the winner. I walk
      with power.. each step is consentration and a solid
      footplant as I begin the switch backs in the warming
      sun. it is 8am, and I now run all downs and flats and
      even some ups, I don't stop to rest at all for 57
      minutes, then take a picture and suck down a gel, I am
      shaky with my effort but climb on driven for some
      reason... I do these things to see how tough I am.. Am
      I really that weird? The wildflowers remind me of
      all that I want from life(peacefulness and simplicity)
      and I take a picture of a waterfall, and use up my
      camera with snow covered mt. shots. I pass one guy
      and continue on, footsteps of some 29 others are in
      the dust on the trail. After I am above treeline I
      sit on a rock to let my panting stop and close my eyes
      in the bright sun and am almost alseep in 2 seconds. I
      am even groggy!!! Enough of that.. I get up and
      continue up reaching a snow field and carefully hiking
      up it, the snow is wet and slippery. After a LONG time
      I am at the top and I begin to run(at 13,000ft mind
      you) around the spine of the mt. over to the Oscars
      pass and after a 30 ft slide on my feet down a snow
      slope I am over the pass and heading down a jeep road
      switchbacking as I run the downhill miles in 27
      minutes making my toes BLack and hurting badly as they
      smack the front of my shoes.

      At the aide station at 83 miles I hear Sue is in a
      dogfight for the lead and at 29 hours in the winner
      will soon finish. A local guy, Dennis, asks if I want
      a pacer to run in and I say "well I will be slamming
      if you can keep up come along"..... I leave in a rush
      as flies are biting me and wind down further to the
      base of the next mt. I climb as if possessed and pass
      5 people in the next 2 hours of climb. We ascend above
      treeline into a purplish rock talus field and head for
      a pass that is amazing. I stop to sit and eat a few
      nutrigrain bars and begin to climb again.(you can't
      climb and eat at the same time..) I look up and see
      two guys scrambling on a pitch that honestly seems 95
      degrees and is a scree slide. rocks from pea to foot
      size are sliding and avalanching all around them and I
      can not... absolutely can't bleieve I have to do this
      climb...... I am 30 hours into the hardest race in the
      world and now I know why. Dennis and I begin to climb
      and head for the right side where there is bigger
      rocks to hold onto. After 25 minutes of panting
      fearful climb I am up...! It has been raining the last
      15 and I just smile knowing again, that no one will
      belive what I have done here.. this race is a bad
      dream! Amazing. I turn to start to go down and pause
      as I see Joel Zuckers memorial plague. It is nice and
      I am humbled thinking he died on the drive home from
      this race 2 years ago. He worked in Alfred where I
      went to school and was the first ultrarunner I ever

      I slide down another scree field with reckless
      abandon and excitement, Dennis can't keep up and I
      sight two more ahead. It is Scott Eppleman and pacer.
      He finished the MMT 100 in MAy 7 hours ahead of me and
      I am passing him now, Wow I feel great. I run strong
      now, missing a turn and coming back on weaving around
      on a 6 inch dirt path jumping creeks and enjoying the
      run knowing I don't have much more to go. At 89 mile I
      hit the KT aide station and sit for more potatoes,
      exceed, melon, and leave quickly heading into my worst
      section. a 6 mile stretch of climbing and grassy
      meadows and hot sun. We climb strong thru trees and
      then above treeline it is all grass.. this is the
      sound of Music...

      I don't know where I am going and am getting the
      stumbly I've been out to long feeling, after 7 hours
      of invinceable climbing and strong running, I am
      reduced to a painful(knee) and wobbly(ankle spraining)
      run/ speed walk and mentally am trash wondering how
      much longer I have to go. we climb 4 diff. hills and
      finaly the 12,400 one and down the other side we go. I
      try to run but have to stop to stretch my left IT band
      as it gets worse and worse. Where is the last aide
      I see it and all is okay. we enter it and I eat a
      bit and fill the bottles and take two advil and hope
      the knee will make it. it is 5.9 miles to finish and I
      am 35:01 in.... Yes I will break 37 hours such
      respectability! one of the top 85 times on this course
      Dennis and I super speed walk over the roughest
      talus fields and rocks and follow an what looks like a
      bad deer path down, thru mud, some more creeks and
      more rocks and finaly enter trees and run HARD I mean
      HARD down... down, when will this end, I am doing
      amazing, my mind is racing and my lip begins to quiver
      a bit as I think of what I am doing... this is the
      toughest race in the world and one year almost to the
      day after I start this sport I am running here well,
      and unacclimated... wow! my head aches!!! I think I
      hear the final river, but it is just wind in the pine
      trees, then I do hear cars, the final road crossing is

      There it is the river!!! I hold the rope and begin to
      wade across, people on the road by parked cars cheer,
      Tears well, and I hope Sue and Steve are still around
      by the finish...

      I cross the road and do the last tiny climb, panting
      and fall to a walk one last time then run the last two
      miles into town, descend on a singletrack onto
      blacktop make the turn and see the cones and the
      rock!!!! I give the rock a kiss as rain is about to
      fall and walk on in to the gym. 36 hours 19 minutes.
      Last years champ and course record holder has come in
      15 minutes ago!!! Wow.
      I am 21st of 118.. 60 finish.. and Sue has won(10th
      overall). what a trip for Us.

      After the hoopla Steve and I get some pizza, and I
      get to sleep around 10pm. Then another 34 hours in
      the car and back to Virginia I am!!! Two black toes,
      and no injuries... I can run today. barely even sore.
      So excited...

      Some photos are at :


      Ps If I am able work/school wise I will return to
      this race year after year after year...

      �Only those who risk going too far can possibly
      find out how far they can go�- T.S. Eliot

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