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Smack From The Back: Gore-Tex Transrockies Run Day Three

Day three of the 2009 Gore-Tex Transrockies Run brought the runners from Leadville to Nova Guides. The day included 24 miles of running and 2,930 feet of climbing.

Written By: Thomas Miller

View on the way to the top of the summit. Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Miller
View from the trails. Photo: Courtesy of Thomas Miller

As we retired after a tough day of climbing on day two we were lulled to sleep by the sound of falling rain. With a low of 34 in the forecast for the morning of stage three we were all wondering the same thing. Will we awake to snow? Thankfully the weather Gods were smiling upon us and we were once again greeted to blue and sunny skies overhead. The temperature was brisk to say the least but no rain or snow. We were all happy.

I guess as happy as you can be with 30 miles underneath you and staring down the barrel of the longest day yet. 24 miles with well, ya know a little 3000 feet of climbing. OUCH. I guess the silver lining in stage three’s route was the lack of any ridiculously steep climbing as in day two and four. Either way you look at it, it was still 24 miles.

For the fast kids at the front who come from more of a pure running background it was a day that they were able to run the entire stage and get into a groove that was not available on stage two. One of the things that has been refreshing this year is as the talent pool has deepened there has been more shifting around atop the leader board. For full race results please go to

The race began on Main Street with a police escort and after a minor short climb out of Leadville we descended to the base of the days first and only substantial climb. As usual we went out slow and easy and as we approached the base of the climb out came Monica’s new best friend, “the tow rope”.

We made our way up and over the climb and down to checkpoint one at about seven miles. With 17 miles to go we both knew we would need to rely on some external motivation and so on went the tunes. We once again rock and rolled our way through the 17 miles and after checkpoint two at about 14 miles we jammed down a beautiful stretch of single track that eventually took us up and over the Continental Divide and then dumped us onto the Colorado Trail. With epic views of Aspen groves, wide open meadows and many fourteeners’ looming in the distance.

After we got off the Colorado Trail we had 3 miles of unpaved road to the finish at Nova guides, which sits in the middle of Camp Hale. Camp Hale was for many years the home to the 10th Mountain Division, which was the US Military’s winter warfare training center. At one time this historical area was home to over 50,000 soldiers.

For Monica and I stage three was a long day. We finished strong and continue to move up in the overall rankings as well as our division. Monica ran strong again and continues to blow people away here with her strength and endurance. To be honest I never in my wildest imagination expected her to perform to this level. WOW!!!!!. Who knew?

Energetically I continue to out perform my go at it last year. Having the understanding now that I am a Diabetic has armed me with knowledge and an understanding of how to keep my self properly fed and adequately hydrated. The end result has been very consistent energy throughout each day’s stage. We have finished stronger and stronger each day and without having my Blood Glucose levels in check this would never have been possible.

One last thing, I apologize for the lack of photos from Stage three as I pulled the total rookie maneuver and took my camera but left the battery in the charger. So I have included some photos from registration in Buena Vista from last Saturday.

Stage four will take us out of the Camp Hale area and into the old mining town of Red Cliff. Look forward to catching up with you all then.

Happy Trails.