Greg Hill still in the lead, our team is hanging in the middle of the pack. Drew’s up there now doing a night lap. We decided to do one lap each in turn, and not sleep. Who knows if that’s the strategy but it sounds good! I got in two laps just as the sun was setting, truly incredibly beautiful up on top of Sunlight ski hill, looking over at Mount Sopris and the Elk Mountains. Climbed with Andrew McLean, who’s zillion lap pace was a perfect match for my 4-lap pace. Andrew is still at it, and so is Poly — they’ve haven’t really stopped for more than a few minutes. Amazing. Hill is at 15 laps I think (x 1,550 feet – you do the math), other top solo racers are not far behind, Bryan Wickenhauser (a top nordic racer from Crested Butte) is giving Hill a run for his money at the moment and is only 4 minutes behind him! The scene here is super high energy, friendly, fun.
The course is actually quite tough. Most not very steep, but quite a bit of double camber skinning that keeps you on your toes, and the ski down is hard and icy. Kind of discouraging to see that the snowshoe runners couldn’t stay away and are running downhill instead of skiing. I thought this was a ski race, but I guess the rules are pretty relaxed even though the event website states that “The First Annual WestStar Bank 24 Hours of Sunlight is an endurance race challenging teams of all ages and abilities to hike or skin up Sunlight Mountain Resort and ski or board down for an entire 24 hour period.” If any of the runners place then there might be some issues. Next year they’ll probably have gear classes, though I’d suggest they just not allow going downhill on foot or snowshoe and stick to the spirit of how this race was originally conceived; as a ski race! More, if they do allow differrent gear and snow is any softer, they’ll need to have separate courses for skis and foot/snowshoe, as the shoes will chew up the course and ruin the skin track.
|The Crested Butte contingent helps one of their boys do a changeover. They rock. My old friend from Crested Butte, Tom Pulaski, is one of the crew. Tom was doing laps on skins long before it was a concept — cool to see him after about 20 years!|