Hawaiin Shirt Ray tells us what to expect from Day 2 of the Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp:
Leadville Trail Training Camp Day 2, the “Double Crossing”
Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp Day 2 is the “Double Crossing!” The Double Crossing consists of running from Twin Lakes (the lowest point in the Leadville Trail 100), down the backside, then 3 miles on a dirt road to the town site of Winfield (the 50 mile turn-around point). Then runners turn around and run back to Twin Lakes. The total distance is only about 20 miles, but it can take 7 hours at a conservative pace to run this section of the Leadville Trail 100. Last year during the race I was having a very hard time and it took me over 8.5 hours to complete the Double Crossing! Be prepared to push yourself farther than you may have ever done before in your life.
Again, the runners meet for breakfast at 6:30 and receive a briefing about the days run ahead of them. Then the runners are bused to the Twin Lakes area. The runners have a few options for running the Double Crossing: 1) run to the top of Hope Pass and return to Twin Lakes, 2) run up to the top of Hope Pass and descend to the bottom of the back side, then run back up and over the Twin Lakes, or 3) run all the way to the town site of Winfield and return to Twin Lakes. During the training camp there were runners that chose one of each of the three choices. Ken Chlouber, founder of the Leadville Trail 100, made it very clear that if you are going to run over the top of Hope Pass you must be prepared to get yourself back up and over Hope Pass.
Later that evening there is a pasta dinner for all the runners followed by a Q & A presentation with the panel of experts. This gives the runners an opportunity to get all their questions answered about how to finish the Leadville Trail 100 in less than 30 hours. Some of the topics discussed were: what it takes mentally, course strategy, nutrition, hydration, crews, pacers, gear, and weather conditions.
Twin Lakes to Winfield (Outbound)
The way the Leadville Trail 100 course is described is “Outbound” and “Inbound.” When the term “outbound” is used it refers to running from the Start to Winfield. When the term “inbound” is used it refers to running from Winfield to the Finish.
During the actual running of the Leadville Trail 100, the runners leave Twin Lakes Aid Station at mile 40, cross over highway 2, through the river and meadow to the Hope Pass Trail. However, during training camp the runoff in the river is too fast and dangerous for the runners to cross safely so the runners are bused up the highway to Parry Peak Campground. This actually adds a bit more distance to the actual race course, but it is the only safe alternative for getting the runners across the creek.
From Parry Peak Campground the runners follow a trail that is perpendicular to the actual trail for the Leadville Trail 100 race. The runners come to a rusty sign that says something to the effect of “no motorized vehicles past this point.” They make a sharp right to start the climb up to the top of Hope Pass. Now the runners are actually experiencing the true course. The “outbound” climb is longer than the “inbound” climb, but is not as steep. While climbing this section the runners break through tree line and get their first glimpse of Hope Pass. One nice thing about seeing Hope Pass is that there are no false summits. After that, the only other nice thing about running Hope Pass is being done with it.
During the actual running of the Leadville Trail 100 race there is an aid station on Hope Pass called the Hopeless Aid Station, where all the aid station supplies are brought up on llamas. However, during the Leadville Training Camp there is no aid station on the mountain so the runners must have everything they need to cross Hope Pass. This includes all the food, water, and clothing for any type of weather conditions. When I cross Hope Pass in training camp it was actually snowing very lightly.
For those runners who decided to continue down the backside of Hope Pass, there is an aid station set up at the bottom close to the road leading to Winfield. It is important to note that this aid station is not there during the actual running of the Leadville Trail 100. Again, for those runners who decided to continue to the town site of Winfield, they turned right after the aid station and ran three miles uphill on a dirt road to the 50 mile turn-around point. During the race, Winfield is a full aid station with a medical check, at training camp it is only a minimal aid station. My advice for first time runners of the Leadville Trail 100 is to run this section during training camp. I heard a few people say, “I have run enough jeep roads that I don’t need to run 6 more miles (out and back).” However, this section can be mentally tough if you are not familiar with it. And the point of training camp is to familiarize runners with the course, not just to be running to put in the miles. During the race this section can seem like an eternity to get to the Winfield Aid Station. Those camp participants that did not run this section will have it very tough on race day. Another thing is that runners need to know about running the section on the road during race day is that the dust is awful. There is a lot of traffic going both directions during race day. It is advisable to have a bandanna or dust mask to cover your nose.
More advice tomorrow as Day Two continues…tomorrow.
Tags: Leadville 100