Our longest stage, stage 3, has moderate elevation gain, with the largest climb out of the way early in the stage. After 2.5 miles on pavement out of Leadville, you start climbing steeply on four-wheel drive road to the summit of the first climb. Descend again on double track into the first checkpoint. A more gradual climb on doubletrack takes you onto Ski Cooper, where you descend to Checkpoint 2 in the ski area parking lot. You cross the Highway at Tennessee Pass on the Continental Divide. From there it’s a long, long rolling descent.
We’ve been lucky to hang out with some impressive athletes this week, and among them is Matt Hart. Matt ran the Transrockies Solo Run 3, and won it. He’s also a freelance writer for Outside Mountain and Trail Runner Magazines. You can check out some of his latest posts, here. Here’s his take on the event and running ultras in general.
Thomas: Was this your first TransrockiesRun event or have you done this before?
Matt: I ran the 6 day event with a partner, Sean Meisner in 2008.
T: How did you guys do?
M: I think we placed 6th or 7th. The field was competitive. It was an amazingly fast year. Max King won with Erik Skags.
T: What would be a tip that you would give someone who wants to run the Transrockies competitively
M: It’s sort of all about the recovery in between. Obviously, you need to come prepared. If you can mimic some of the days in training, I would suggest that. At least the milage or the vertical gain, do a couple of similar runs back to back.
T: Do you participate in the relaxation station at all, ever?
M: I didnt. I wasn’t sure what was going on over there. I saw that there was a big line for socks.
T: Did you have any beverages in between stages?
M: No, no I did not.
T: Do you drink?
M: I don’t really, no.
T: Since you’ve done all six days, and also just the 3, what do you prefer?
M: I don’t know. When I came in 2008 it was an awesome experience. We met so many cool people. The environment, the vibe of being there for a whole week and day after day racing against the same groups, it was just really fun. The community aspect is really the reason to do stage races. I’m still good friends with people I ran with.
T: Of the stages, which one is your favorite?
M: I really like going over Hope Pass. That’s just the type of trail running that I like doing – single track, high altitude, just amazing mountains all around you.
T: Having run that once, do you think that maybe you’d like to do the Leadville 100 and do it twice in one run?
M: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t want to bash Leadville, but it’s a lot of dirt road running, at altitude. It doesn’t interest me that much.
T: If you could run the Transrockies Run again, who would be your partner?
M: Tessa Dubois.
T: Did you feel like you ran more intense these 3 days than over the 6 days?
M: No, I don’t want to sound lame and go on about a race I’m doing in 9 days, but I’m doing a 100 miler in 9 days. So, I wanted to run well, but it wasn’t at all costs. I ran a long-run pace today.
T: What’s your 100 miler coming up?
M: The Cascade Crest 100. It’s in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.
T: Have you run a 100 miler before?
T: Are you going to win?
M: Yeah, I mean, I’m going to try. There’s a guy named Seth Swanson who’s running and is so infinitely faster than the rest of us, that it’s his day to lose. The time he ran in Western States a month ago is about the 3rd fastest time, ever. But, I’m going to run as hard as I can.
T: What kind of mileage are you doing on a weekly basis?
M: This year has been really odd for me. I’ve been working a bit more, so I’ve kind of been racing myself fit. I probably get 30-70 recently. But that’s with a lot of racing in between, like a 50K and a 50 miler. Normally, I’ll peak at a 100 mile week.
T: What’s your favorite amenity from the Transrockies?
M: Hm. I would have to say the massages. It’s not as important for the 3 day, but for the 6 day it was great. I got them on the 4th and 5th day.