120 mile TransRockies Run finishes Sunday in Beaver Creek
VAIL — The starting line of the TransRockies Run stage five in Red Cliff Saturday contained about the same number of residents as the town.
Approximately 260 runners completed the stage, which took the ultra endurance athletes from Red Cliff to Vail via Vail Mountain in a 24 mile trek. The fifth stage was the second to last in the competition, which has taken runners on more than 90 miles of trails, much of it in Eagle County.
Climbing up and up
In Friday’s fourth stage, the TransRockies Run went from Nova Guides to Red Cliff in a 14.5 mile stage which contained 2,800 feet of elevation gain. After leaving Nova Guides, runners had to climb uphill on very steep terrain for two miles making this stage a real leg burner. At 8 a.m. the runners and crew that wanted to run left Nova Guides with the traditional AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” song blasting while spectators cheered them on.
The route started with a dirt road that allowed for a nice two mile warm up. Just as runners started to warm up, the trail kept going up and up. After a while, the gradual climb turned into a very steep climb. After the first five-mile climb was done, checkpoint one and panoramic mountain views were in sight.
After taking photos and enjoying the views, runners cruised along the ridge before dropping back down in the woods for a long and fun descent into Red Cliff. Around mile 11, the trail merged with the stream and there was no option to skip between rocks this time to avoid getting wet. Instead, it was full on feet and ankles being soaked as runners went one mile down the ice cold stream. The water, although cold, was very refreshing and felt good on swollen feet.
Once the stream portion of the run ended, checkpoint two greeted the runners, followed by a nice dry downhill on an open dirt road dropping runners right in front of Mango’s Mountain Grill in Red Cliff. From fresh BBQ outside, fish tacos and delicious margaritas, Mango’s knows how to cater to the TransRockies crowd.
Stage five offered great weather and amazing scenery; in today’s final stage runners will push their way toward the finish at Beaver Creek.
Today’s sixth stage will depart the Vail athletic fields at 8 a.m., with runners jogging on Vail Mountain before crossing the pedestrian bridge and using Red Sandstone Road to access the North Trail. The North Trail will take the runners to the aspen trees of the Buffehr Creek Trail, which they will take to its intersection at the Red and White Mountain trail. A long descent down the shaded Buck Creek trail will bring runners into Avon before the final climb into Beaver Creek, and a short downhill to the ultimate finish line in Beaver Creek Village at the base of the mountain. The winner is expected to cross at about 11 a.m., and spectators are welcome and encouraged to cheer on the runners as they finish the 22.4 mile stage from Vail to Beaver Creek. Runners are expected to trickle in all day, with the best time for spectators to come cheer on the finisher occurring between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.