The event was well-organized and fun. The no-frills atmosphere was perfect for Salida, and the full field brought some solid competition. The course itself is dynamic, combining climbing, descending, flats, roads, and technical, windy trails.
I usually try to put time into competitors on the trail climbs, but pushing the pace early on did nothing other than give us a group of six. We hit the road at 7.8 miles, and I lost a bit of time to the top five (gotta think about training on a road one of these days), eventually falling to 8th on the roads and two-track. As we reached higher elevations (almost 9200' at the turnaround, I think) and some solid snow on the ground and in the air, I began to feel a bit better. A large swing of Vitargo and a FEIN at mile 20 gave me a strong second wind, and I felt great on the last 10k of technical singletrack, reeling in two guys on the way to 3:18:28 for 6th. I think the winner was about 3:13, and I was fairly pleased to be in the thick of it in a field that was quite strong. A fast finishing stretch and not feeling totally hammered afterwards are good signs before my run across Zion National Park next month.
Thanks to the organizers for a great event, and to the competition, as always!
The route is here: http://app.strava.com/activities/43806699
Driving home through a blizzard on 285 with a swaying trailer was definitely the most gripping part of the day.
I saw Sage Canaday out there doing some filming, so you might check his excellent video channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/Vo2maxProductions) soon for some race coverage.