Gypsum supports resident’s thirst for suffer-fests

Derek Franz

Gypsum Town Council members approved a few donations totaling $9,500 at their July 23 meeting, and some of that money will send a young resident off to some extreme challenges.

With council members Beric Christiansen, Tom Edwards and Mayor Steve Carver absent, the council approved budgeted donations of $7,500 to the Wings and Wheels airplane/car show at the Vail Valley Jet Center Sept. 7, and $1,000 to the Eagle River Cleanup Sept. 14.

The third donation of $1,000 is going to the new Gypsum Race Series Director Lucas Rivera, who plans to compete in three extreme endurance races this summer and fall – the Leadville 100-mile Trail Run, a GORUCK Custom Challenge and the World’s Toughest Mudder.

“As the new Gypsum Race Series director, experiencing these world-class races will help me incorporate elements into Gypsum races,” said Rivera, who turns 27 in September.

The Leadville 100 is a 24- to 30-hour race on mountain trails Aug. 17-18. The GORUCK Custom Challenge on Oct. 5 is a bit of a mystery – more about that in a moment – and the World’s Toughest Mudder on Nov. 16-17 is a 24-hour race in which competitors do as many laps as possible on a 10-mile obstacle course that includes swimming in frigid ocean waters. Rivera logged 50 miles in last year’s world title event after qualifying at the Beaver Creek Toughest Mudder.

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“It took me months to recover,” he said.

The GORUCK event is designed to test teamwork and mental fortitude. Rivera has done two of the regular GORUCK Challenges and is turning it up a notch by participating with 34 others in a custom challenge.

For starters, the GORUCK events are designed to test GORUCK’s military backpacks. Each competitor carries three or four bricks in a GORUCK pack as they complete the 12- to 20-hour challenge.

“They don’t tell you exactly how long the course is or what you’ll be doing,” Rivera said. “They say to expect 12 hours but it always goes longer. For the custom challenge, all I know is that it will be in the Black Hawk area and will cross the Continental Divide. It will be totally off trail with mandatory map and compass reading. There’s going to be a beginning and an end but I don’t know when and where exactly it will be.”

Rivera added that a team weight is part of the challenge.

“They give you a weight that can never touch the ground and we take turns carrying it in addition to our backpacks,” he said.

For the World’s Toughest Mudder, Rivera said 50 miles was pretty good for his first time competing there and is training to win this year.

“The person who won last year did 90 miles, so that’s approximately the distance to beat,” he said.

Rivera said he used to hate distance races when he was a football player in high school.

“Then I did the Warrior Dash in 2009, which is a 5K mud run, and I loved it,” he said. “There is something addicting about endurance races. Now I keep asking what’s bigger and better.”

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