I have been looking forward to the 2013 Pikes Peak Ascent since shortly after crossing the finish line last year. Many things were different about this year and I was excited to see how much faster I could make the grueling climb from downtown Manitou Springs at an elevation of 6,300ft to the finish line at 14,050ft on Pikes Peak.
Due to slower trail half marathon qualification times, my brother and I were forced to start in wave two last year. This meant we would be starting one-half hour after the 700+ wave one runners. This year, based off our Ascent times from last year we would be starting in wave one. Last year, when we started in wave two, it allowed us to have the trail to ourselves almost to Barr Camp but we would end up passing ~500 wave one runners before reaching the summit. This made for slow going on parts of the narrow rocky single track trail. I figured this change alone would be worth a good chunk of time this year. Another thing different this year is that I had run almost double the number of miles as last year. I thought for sure I was set up well to shave off a good chunk of time, but the mountain had something else in mind.
|Google Earth view of the course|
|Brother and I just before the start|
|My training buddy waiting for the action to begin|
|And we're off!|
After the W's, the crowd started to thin out and there were just a few people to pass and play leapfrog with. This section is deceptively hard as it seems less steep than the W's but it is still hard to get into much of a consistent running rhythm. We reached the next aid station at No Name Creek(8,800ft) in 50:33, 4.3 miles from the start.
|All bundled up and enjoying the morning at 14,000ft|
Leaving Barr Camp I was feeling pretty good, but soon started to slow down. I wasn't feeling particularly bad, but my brother and a few others started slowly pulling away. This was my first indication that I was not moving as well as I thought anymore. It was hard to get into any sort of rhythm with all the boulders and irregular footing on this section. Approaching A-frame I knew 2:50 was long gone and it was going to be tough to break 3:00. I reached A-frame(11,950ft), 10.2 miles into the race in 2:07. My brother put three minutes on me from Barr Camp to A-frame! Last year I hit A-frame in 2:10, so I knew it was not going to be easy to break 3:00 at this point.
|Coming up the switchbacks near the Cirque|
|"16 Golden stairs" come up behind this rock pile|
|Entering the home stretch|
|Finally caught green shirt guy|
|Almost there, one switchback to go!|
|Brother crossing the finish line in 2:56|
|Crossed the finish line in 3:01|
|We survived another Ascent!|
|With my parents and brother atop Pikes Peak|
La Sportiva Vertical K shoes
Smartwool PHD Run Light Micro socks
Garmin 405cx GPS watch
REI Fleet running shorts
CEP calf compression sleeves
Amphipod 20oz handheld bottle
Nathan 10oz Quickshot handheld bottle
~350 calories Tailwind nutrition
~40 ounces water