Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon 2011...and Wyatt's First Road Trip!

The list of Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon champions includes some legendary names: Matt Carpenter, Mike Tobin, Mike Kloser, Andrew Adamowski, Jack Swift, and Dan "King of the Quad" Nielson. None(on the male side, that is--Danelle Ballengee's victories reached double digits, including a burly 3:52), however, have dominated like Josiah Middaugh, who has claimed the most victories and never (to my knowledge) finished off the top of the podium.

Although I had won the race the past two years, I knew Josiah's presence made for a great challenge. Brian Smith, a world-class triathlete, cyclist, and ski mountaineer from Gunnison was also at the starting line. "Smithy" always has excellent fitness and is a force to be reckoned with in any competition.

The Quad is a test of fitness, strategy, experience, and skill in road cycling, running, skiing, and snowshoeing; details are at

After a cruisy ride-out through Grants and past the prison, things got very fast very quickly when Smithy attacked on the first climb. Caught off guard and on the wrong wheel, I let he and Josiah get away from me in an instant. Unfortunately, chasing down these two competitors once they are gone is not easy!

After spending most of the remainder of the ride alone, I entered the transition to running one to two minutes behind Josiah and Brian. Their jerseys were just visible at the end of a long straightaway as I began running...and I never saw them--or any other competitor--again!

Three hours and 42 minutes of hammering brought me to the finish line in third place. Somewhat disappointed that I was not right with the leaders for most of the race (Josiah won in 3:33; Smithy came in at 3:35), I was happy to persevere in a mentally-challenging "loner" race, finish on the podium, and shave seven minutes off my first-place time from last year.

Thanks, as always, to the incredible volunteers and organizers at the Quad. I can't say enough about the way the town supports this event!

Racing checked off the list, Amy, Wyatt, and I headed to Albuquerque (we quizzed each other constantly about the spelling of the city's name, and Wyatt is the only one who never missed it) for two days of great fun with our friends, Micah and Kendra. Micah recently earned a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and now works on a government base, and it was very cool to hang out with a real, live rocket scientist. Our final night in Taos was nice, and Wyatt and I enjoyed a nice breakfast together (I ate while he slept on my chest in a Bjorn) while Amy caught some zzz's.

Up next is the final Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series race on March 6th. Thanks to Team Merrell/Akali Adventure for making all of this possible!

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