The field: Mattias, Dylan, Dan, Ryan, Willie, Jon, Bill, David
Ouch! That hurt. And I was nearly last (thanks, Willie!). And failed to break an hour. My wife asked if it was fun. "Yes...in a really, really painful way."
Conditions seemed to be perfect at 10 a.m. Sunny skis and the temps were not yet in the 50's. Still, at this effort, it felt like the 90's. The trails were quite crowded but we agreed that it didn't add much to our times, as everyone heard us coming and was cool about giving us some track. I didn't see a single other climber on the course, but we didn't do the most popular routes, despite being great scrambles.
At the gun it was Mattias, Ryan, Dylan, and David going off the front. Jon Sargent trailed the pack and Willie and I, shoulder to shoulder, brought up the rear. Dan would arrive a minute or so late and catch and pass Willie and I on the Second Flatiron.
I can't say much about what happened up front as I didn't see any of those guys after five minutes or so. I got a glimpse or two of Jon and mainly saw Willie and Dan. I finally pulled away from Willie just before starting up Freeway on the Second Flatiron, but my lead was only about twenty seconds. I knew I'd need a lot more before the final run out, but if I went any harder, I'd blow up. I was shocked to see another scrambler off to my left catching and passing me. It was Dan. I could see Jon above, but he was moving fast and pulling further away.
I topped out with maybe 30-40 seconds on Willie. We were in a desperate battle for last place. I ran down the three switchbacks (indeed it was three, the last two really short) and started up Atalanta, trailing Dan, who was maybe 45 seconds in front of me. I was hurting so bad here. I made a bit of a climbing mistake at one of the cruxes and lost 10 seconds or so sorting it out. Ten precious seconds that I lost to Willie.
Stuart was on top and had expertly rigged the rappel lines. Thanks, Stuart! He took some photos and I thanked him before speeding down the lines. This went really smooth and I felt I had opened a significant gap on Willie. I ran down the trail smoother than normal for me and started up the First Flatironette not far behind Dan.
The pain had built to an extreme level and I wasn't moving too quick by the top of this rock. I staggered down to the start of the Spy and pulled onto the last rock, Dan still in sight above. Near the top of the rock was a friend of Mattias taking photos. Vanity consumed me and I powered on the speed to make it look like I was at least moving faster than a normal scrambler. Though I don't know if I achieved this goal, it nearly made me hurl and I was barely moving over the top as I tried to recover and keep down breakfast.
I hit the ground and still couldn't go faster than a walk. After twenty seconds or so I was able to start trotting again. I grabbed numerous tree trunks for balance as I struggled to stay upright on the steep loose trail. I hit the saddle nicely and followed the trail down to the base of the First Flatironette and out the approach trail. I felt secure in my lead over Willie and I knew I had no chance of breaking an hour. This allowed me to lessen the pain slightly. I weaved amongst the hikers and crossed the line to the encouragement of the other finishers.
Mattias had taken the stage and the prize, even though Stefan was faster solo. Prizes are given out to the main field stage winner. Ryan was second and Dylan filled out the podium. Willie came in just two and a half minutes after I did.
Full Preliminary Results (asterisks are for racers who ran separate from this stage):
1. Stefan Griebel*, 46:22
2. Matthias Messner, 47:39
3. Ryan Franz, 48:55
4. Dylan Cousins, 54:00
5. Jon Sargent, 58:25
6. David Glennon, 58:34
7. Dan Mottinger, 1:00:07
8. Bill Wright, 1:03:28
9. Willie Mein, 1:05:52
10. Adam Massey*, 1:17:11
11. Tony Bubb*, 1:32:59
12. Stuart Paul*, 2:38:52