Ten years ago, according to Vail Valley Foundation VP of Sales Michael Imhof, the inaugural Summer Teva Mountain Games hosted a total of 50 athletes in a few competitions. Over the past decade, the summer event has become a main course in any adventure athlete's diet, now featuring well over 2,000 competitors each year. As of this weekend, a winter version provides an attractive side dish that's sure to grow in volume and variety.
My flavor for the weekend was a combination of 10k snowshoe on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and the "Uphill" on Sunday at 7:00 a.m.
After watching friends crank through a snowbike criterium just beforehand, energy was high at the snowshoe starting line. Just before the gun, I discovered the presence of Jared Scott, an old teammate from the CU track and cross country teams. I knew Jared would be tough, and so would Josiah Middaugh and a number of other talented runners.
The pace was fast from the start, and I struggled early on, running in 5th for a significant period. As the course climbed higher, I found my rhythm and moved gradually into 2nd place. Cresting the climb, I headed downhill with Scott Gall close behind. Josiah was in sight, and we slowly gained on him, but he had it won at that point.
Cruising back into town, Gall and I battled with all we had. Coming into the line, he unleashed a ferocious kick that left me scrambling, and I finished third by a few seconds.
After a quick refuel and attempt at sleep, we again found ourselves at the starting line, this time ready to ascent 2400' up Vail Mountain in just over two miles. The uphill marked the final event of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge (nordic ski, ski mountaineering, and uphill), and the field was packed!
Josiah showed no signs of wear from the night before, and he took a second victory. Not bad!
I, on the other hand, felt slow and powerless, struggling to finish in approximately tenth.
The Winter Teva Games has made its point, and I look forward to competing in this event in years to come!