Just a little hike up Beaver Creek … seven times | VailDaily.com

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Just a little hike up Beaver Creek … seven times

Special to the Daily Harald Fricker Matt Carpenter, center, starts off on the service road at Beaver Creek during the Vertical Ascent Saturday, an event which measured how many times racers could run or hike up to the top of Centennial Express lift while taking the lift back down. Carpenter completed seven climbs for a total of 28 miles and 14,700 feet of elevation.

BEAVER CREEK – The endurance frenzy was in full slog up Beaver Creek Mountain Saturday. While mountain bikers were pedaling over 14,000 feet of elevation in the Ultra 100, Matt Carpenter was busily ensuring that he was the vertical champion.Carpenter, a former Vail resident who now lives in Manitou Springs, spent the day running up Beaver Creek. No big deal, right? We’ve all hiked up to the top of Centennial lift – it’s a fun, four-mile, 2,100-foot climb. Well, Carpenter did it seven times between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, maintaining 40-minute laps up the service road between the 13-minute lift rides down.

“The hardest part is that first minute after the lift. You’re pretty out of it after that,” said Carpenter, who is accustom to running the downhill portion of long-lasting trail runs – such as the Pikes Peak Marathon, which he has won several times.”It’s an awesome format because you have no beat-up factor,” he said of the Ascent, which drew all levels of racers from young hikers to national trail running champions like himself. “I tried to pace it for the right amount of time.”When asked if he would have been able to continue running up the mountain had the event gone into the evening, Carpenter exhibited little doubt.

“Well,” he said, “I’d probably have to slow down a little bit.”Avon resident Paul Brett finished second with six laps Saturday. He said by the time he trudged off the lift to begin lap No. 6, his legs refused to move into a jog.”The last one was just a hike more than anything,” he said. “I’m more of a short-distance runner. I was worried at the beginning about riding the lift down and losing momentum, but it wasn’t that bad. I thought we’d be a big pile up of people getting off the chair because we couldn’t walk, but it’s warm enough that I didn’t get that stiff. I couldn’t do it straight; no way. I needed the break just to eat and drink and breathe.”

Eating and drinking seemed like a good idea for third-place finisher Bernie Boettcher, who also finished six laps. Instead he spent the first half of his day fasting.”Somehow my food got put in someone else’s bag,” Boettcher said. “For the first three laps, I had no food or water. I finally decided I had to find it or give up. When I got to the top on the third lap, I found it in someone else’s stuff. Then I overcompensated. I ate and drank everything I wanted to eat and drink in the first three laps because I was so hungry. To turn around and try to run after I ate all that stuff was just as hard.”Sports Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado