Monday, March 24, 2014

Columbia Trail Challenge, Back to U.S.A.

As I lay here on Monday morning in a hotel bed, my desire to either A) write or B) get up is decidedly low. However, I'd like to write down a quick post before my flight back to the motherland, otherwise I'll put this off for weeks again.

My last race in Chile was the Columbia Trail Challenge, a two-day event in the mountains between Santiago and the coast. A quick summary of this course: You do the Speedgoat 50K (although not at altitude) on the first day and then you about half of that on day two. This was one also of those deals where they have tents set up for you and they provide all of your meals. It's like being at a low-end resort where all of your recreation options or sight-seeing tours are extremely tough mountain races.

All of the Boss Jogging boys went, so it was a blast. 

L to R: Max, Me, Matias, Moises, Daniel

Day 1 was reported to be 42 or 44K, but everyone's GPS had it at about 49K and little over 10,000 ft. of up. Luckily, the temperature hit somewhere in the low 90's, already difficult race was made extra fun by long, exposed climbs in the merciless sun. For the first time in my racing life, I actually had to lay down under a shrub for about a minute, just to stop feeling like I was going to faint or puke. Still, the first day I managed to come in 6th (6:35) and with about a 50-minute (ouch) deficit to the winner. Daniel came in ahead (6:17) and Moises just in front of me (6:30). Max came down with a cold and DNF'd the first day. He got worse after a night of sleep and decided not to run on Day 2.

Day 2 was just a joke. 25K (or 27K) and about 5,000 ft. of ascent. From the day before, my quads hurt so badly that I was hobbling down even the slightest decline. The pain eventually became so much that I was audibly barking "FUCK!" with almost every step. It was good enough anyway to maintain my coveted age-group lead. Gotta love those agegroupers. 

Much more interesting to me was checking out Daniel and Moises's results. Daniel, being a stage-racing expert, calmly conserved himself for the second day and comfortably placed 3rd overall in the standings. Moises, on the other hand, had secretly squirreled away a pair of rocket boots, as he not only made up a ton of time on the second day, but he placed 2nd overall in the 25k race. As in, he still beat almost all of the fresh-legged 25K'ers. I was pretty blow away with that one. Clearly, Hoka One One has the makings of a pretty solid team down here. Max, you're gonna have to carry the weight of TNF on your own, homie. ;) 

Well, I couldn't have asked for a better send-off after my nearly 3 years of living, running and working in Chile. I made some great friends, saw some incredible places, and feel very grateful and lucky to have been able to have this experience. I'm excited about running in the States again, but I have a feeling it won't be too long before I'm back in Chile, lacing'em up against some of the best mountain runners in the world.


GZ said...

Did I miss where you are landing in the US?

Patrick Thurber said...

I'm in Michigan currently! Need to work on the old bank account for a minute. Westward bound. I hope.

josh z. said...

podium babes! yeah macho.