Stage 3: Leadville to Camp Hale
Stats: 24.3 miles / 2,930 ft. climbing
“24 MILES at 10,000 FEET”
Before we knew it, or before we were willing to accept reality, the starting gun fired setting us off down Leadville’s historic Main Street. We headed towards Cooper and the Colorado Trail where we were treated to buffed-out single track, alpine meadows, and of course climbing, lots of climbing.
The leaders set a strong pace as we headed up a paved slight incline before being treated to a mile of downhill on a quiet, open road. Once bending off the road we were treated to somewhat shaded paths and 4×4 tracks. We quickly found our groove and caught up to Chris and Brian and we all chatted as we ticked off the miles. After hitting checkpoint 2, I received a major gift from the course gods – lots of descending! With a total elevation gain of 2,767 feet and a total elevation loss of 3,662 feet, I could relax and enjoy the day. I really enjoy downhill running, whether it is buffed out or technical terrain. As we started to descend to a finishing elevation of 9,203 feet, we began putting a gap between ourselves and Chris and Brian.
After we turned off the single-track trail we hit an exposed dirt road that would bring us all the way to Nova Guides where the finish was. I found myself eager to be finished and opened up my stride and increased my turnover rate. I guess I have a habit of pushing the end because Chad compared me to an animal headed to the barn at feeding time! I couldn’t be distracted as I only had one thing on my mind – finishing. We sprinted across the finish line in a time of 3:47:29 which put us back up on the podium with a third place victory for the stage.