* 20 Mile A-Frame Out and Back Event
2008 Pikes Peak Ascent Results
What a miserable day for this event. Cold Steady Rain at the start, lightning right after the starting gun for wave 1, light drizzle and warmer once you got into the trees (making you peel off all the wet layers), followed by sleet and increasing cold past Barr Camp making you put all the wet layers back on.
They were warning people at the A-Frame aid station not to continue if you were cold or did not have the gear because it was going to be brutal for the last 3 miles. Some people turned back, some stopped to discuss and think about it. They were passing out garbage bags for an extra layer, I took one and was glad to have it later. Above treeline it was really fun, 25 mph winds with blowing sleet and snow all the way up to the top (3 miles). The trail was snow packed and some of the rocks were slick with some runners getting stuck and backing up the trail.
They closed the trail at approximately 10:15 at the A-Frame, about 10 miles up. Forcing virtually everyone in the second wave and some of the end of the first wave to run/walk back down. A 20 mile route with no reward or time at the end, there were a lot of disappointed people. Unfortunately Jill was in Wave 2 and had to turn back, she just missed the cut off and was on a great pace for a good finish. She gets the most miles and time on the mountain award for sure. Out of 1800 runners in only 761 finished this year. Jay made it through just before the cutoff (yay Jay). Jay's uncle who was going for his 20th finish, also had to turn around.
At the top, it was chaos, the medical area was filled with runners with hypothermia and fatigue and frostbite. Runners were trying to change clothes everywhere and there was no room, everyone was shivering and just wanting to get down. Then there was a long line for the vans coming down because the roads were so bad they needed plows to clear it for the vans. They also stopped spectators from coming up earlier in the day. Pretty much everyone wanted to just get off the mountain.
One thing that really sticks with me was how the volunteers up top were so encouraging and supportive. They were standing on the side of the mountain getting blasted like the rest of us but unlike the runners they weren't moving. Granted they were dressed warmer, but I don't know how many I passed on the way up that gave me a lift by their encouragement and words of praise. Just watching them suffer the conditions to give us a little boost and make sure nobody got in serious trouble made me feel better.
Tom did well given the conditions and was happy to have the finishers shirt and medal, his second Pikes Peak Ascent (try to hang on to this shirt Tom).
All in all, it was quite the experience and if I had to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, I would, but just not today. Really makes you respect the Doublers this year.
Good news for the 2nd Wave and people that turned around, they will get Finishers Shirts with an asterisk on them (sure to be a collectors item). Link to the article below: