Somehow Nick Clark
convinced me to go run 30 miles on the road on Saturday. Well, he didn’t do much convincing rather he simply stated that he wanted to, “1. run 2. avoid significant snow. 3. get up high.” In that respect, running the civilized route up Mt. Evans, America’s highest paved road, makes a lot of sense. In practice though, while you are running, avoiding significant snow and getting up high, it’s hard not to curse whoever built the road for taking the most ridiculously circuitous route up the hill. They certainly didn’t consult with JV
otherwise the road would have been closer to 4 miles long instead of the interminable 14 from the ranger station.
came down with Nick from Fort Collins while Scott
met us directly at the Echo Lake parking lot. I left my jacket, bottle and gels in the car planning to pick everything up at the turn around on the summit where we'd be meeting Jlu. I figured it would only be about a couple of hours or so of running to the top so I'd be fine with our halfway makeshift aid station but I hadn't anticipated just how cold the ascent would be. Every other turn, we’d get blasted by a strong head wind and it felt like the skin, blood and bones in my arms were fusing together into solid ice blocks. Most of the time, even when the wind subsided and despite going up such a shallow grade, I had the sensation of running in place, my effort restricted by the thin air.
Nick had kicked it up a notch and was out ahead while Scott and Pete were a couple minutes back, leaving me in the middle, alone with my thoughts. The main thing I was thinking was that I had just about had enough of running up this bloody road and so, without a moments hesitation, as I passed Summit Lake, I continued straight up the talus field to the summit cutting off the last four miles or so of pavement. I was happy to hit the dirt, happy to get to the top but then spent the next half hour huddled by the bathrooms out of the wind waiting for the crew to rally.
When everyone got there we spent a minute warming up in the car, sucking down gels and taking photos on the summit before beginning the long 15 mile downhill back to the start. I spent most of the descent chatting to Nick in what he referred to as my ”Eddie Izzard voice,” a combination of theatrical delirium most likely linked to the lack of oxygen and the Brit in me brought back by the presence of a fellow countryman. We all hung out at the lake at the end enjoying the sunshine before setting off with pounded legs but happy nonetheless to have gotten another early 14er in for the season.