Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pikes Peak Mile, Ascent and Marathon Week

Whew! It was a busy week on Pikes Peak with Team Colorado first taking on the High-Altitude Mile atop the 14,115 foot peak, next running up the mountain on Saturday, and finally up and down on Sunday.

Now you see why we are so exhausted!

The Inaugural Pikes Peak High-Altitude Mile
 McD, Axel and Gute race at 14,115 feet                       photo: PikesPeakSports.us  
On Tuesday, August 13th, an exclusive 1 mile race at the top of Pikes Peak was held and Simon "Gute" Gutierrez, Neil "Big McD" McDonagh and Axel Nichols were part of the exclusivity. It's like that exclusive lounge at the airport that you always wonder who they allow in. These guys got to use that lounge!

Special thanks to Dan Cockrell for his handy editing on the Team Colorado Pikes Peak Mile footage. For a rough edit, it came out pretty damn good!

In the competitive field that included the likes of 3:53 Bristol Mile winner, Daddy Long Legs and Lost Boy of Sudan, Dey Dey, Kenyans Sammy Kiplagat (winner of the 2012 & 2013 Dallas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Half Marathon) and Leonard Korir (2013 Garden of the Gods 10 Mile champion), Boulder Running Company's Scott Dahlberg, among others, Team Colorado held their own with some impressive performances. Big McD and Axel battled it out on the final lap to place 5th (4:55) and 6th (4:58) respectively and Gute felt "flat" (not to be confused with "fat", as in fat shoes because he was wearing a slimmed down version of Hokas, the Kailua) but was able to pull out a 5:27.

This is like a fairytale picture: a giant befriending a hobbit with purple rabbit ears     photo: Dr. Seuss
Axel showing the guns!                   photo: PikesPeakSports.us
Big McD finishing with Axel in tow                                     photo: PikesPeakSports.us

Two feuding team members bury the hatchet on the mountain and made up in the same fashion that Rocky and Apollo did...with an embrace. We are all one happy team again!

Big McD and Axel Make Up ...in slow mo'.

Pikes Peak Ascent
                                           Big McD attempting to "Pull a GR"                              photo: PikesPeakSports.us
On Saturday August 17th, Gute and Big McD take out the Ascent in true "Gute" fashion...by gapping the rest of the field from the gun. Don't believe us, here is video evidence.

Gute ran a strong race and finished 3rd in 2:27:27 while Big McD, after working with Gute through Barr Camp, acquired some Big McCramps in his quads and finished in 23rd in 2:49:36.

    Team Colorado takes it out hard                                 photo: PikePeakSports.us
Gute does the Hoka Shuffle in his Hokas             photo: PikesPeakSports.us
McD was quoted (1,000 meters into the race, in fact) that it would be a "race to tree line", and it was for him, as his quads seized up and he lost 20 places in the last 3 miles of the race. He teaches a graduate level course on how to hit the wall. He is currently working on his doctorate. 

Big McD still secured 2nd place overall in the Triple Crown of Running Series (Garden of the Gods 10 Mile that included "no bodily emissions", Summer Trail Round Up, PPA).

"It's a graduate level course that I teach" says Big McD            photo: PikesPeakSports.us

Gute giving some skin to the RD, Ron Ilgen                     photo: PikesPeak Sports.us

Friend of Team Colorado Eric "Quadazilla" Blake of West Hartford, CT went on to win the Ascent in 2:13:45 (he had a flight that same night so he wasn't able to buy beer for everyone with his prize winnings like he did at Mt. Washington. We'll take a rain check, Eric!). Greg Ruckman of Breckenridge, CO placed 2nd in his first attempt that the Peak.

Kim Dobson, Lisa Goldsmith and Amy Perez represented Team Colorado for the first time and we can't be more proud of our ladies.

The "Queen of Uphill" keeps true to her bib number       PikesPeakSports.us

There's gold in them thar hills: Goldsmith searching for her namesake atop Pikes Peak    photo: PikesPeakSports.us

Kim "Boo" Dobson frightened the shit out of our camera man before she went on to claim a Hat Trick for the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2:41:43 (see "video evidence" above). Lisa Goldsmith has been battling an unidentified injury recently but still placed 2nd in the 45-49 age group and 21st woman in 3:24:42. And our very own Chef d'√©quipe Amy "Half As Fast" Perez officially earned her nickname after her 3:45:44 finish. 

Amy, on her way to body checking a guy who cut the course        photo: Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

The challenge was Amy's Ascent time vs. Axel's Marathon time. The verdict: Axel is victorious as he ran a 3:43:46 in the Marathon.

No stranger to breakin' the vinyl, Dobson takes her second straight win on the Peak              photo: PikesPeakSports.us

Pikes Peak Marathon

On Sunday August 18th, three Team Colorado members made the trek up AND back down the mountain in the Marathon.

It's all fun and games...for the first mile, at least                            photo: PikesPeakSports.us

Golden boy, Axel Nichols, has no more golden locks              photo: PikesPeakSports.us

Being no stranger to the mountain (but just looking like a stranger with his new haircut) Axel Nichols comes back from 3rd place and a 6 minute deficit at the summit of the mountain to catch and pass the Jason Delaney and pull up side-by-side with race leader Touro Miyahara in the last mile of the race. It came down to a kick and the Japanese runner used his speed as a road runner and his experience as a Mt. Fuji record holder to take the victory in 3:43:23. Axel finished 2nd in a close 3:43:46. Jason Delaney, 2012 Pikes Peak Ascent Champion, of Polson, MT finished 3rd in 3:53:45, after being the first to reach the summit in a time of 2:16:21.

photo: PikesPeakSports.us
Axel was crowned USATF National Trail Marathon Champion, although he placed 2nd, because, well, the winner was Japanese.

Also in her first appearance as a Team Colorado member, Michele "Bomb 'chele" Yates did just that and bombed downhill finishing 5th female in 4:56:09. She had some of the fastest downhill splits of anyone, men included, and was second in the nation behind Stevie Kremer (4:16:10) for the USATF Trail Marathon National Championship.

Watch out, she'll drop a bomb on you, I mean in the dance club sort of way (the Gov doesn't like when that word is used--hey maybe they are following Team Colorado now!).
Michele coming into the finish                         photo: Amy Perez

Peter "The Prez" Maksimow had the most colorful outfit of the day, with matching Inov-8 buff and TrailRoc 245's, but stunk it up in the marathon, running 3:29:54* 4:29:54 (you suck!) for 17th place for his debut PPM. The Prez sports a mustache worthy of a gold medal...at least he won something on Sunday!

The Prez, putting the Hip back into Hippie   photo: PikesPeakSports.us

PPA Article
PPM Article 
The Axel interview

*CJ Hitz wins a pair of Inov-8 shoes for pointing out how the The Prez tried to lie about his time. The Prez gets a "you suck!" and CJ gets a new pair of Inov-8 shoes!


  1. Nice work on the blog Amy! Love the pics and descriptions! :)

  2. Great write up Prez! Although I think you meant 4:29:54 for your marathon time. But 3:29 is certainly a worthy goal for the future :-) Nice job with the video up to Hydro.

    Did someone mention to Neil that the race is 13.32 miles and not a 10k? Looked like Glenn Randall from the 2010 race...well maybe not that fast in the first mile. I know Big McD will be back to conquer that last 3mi. Congrats on his 2nd place Triple Crown standing.

    What an effort by Alex to make up ground on the descent! Hats off to him on a fantastic finish even though he fell just short. I have a feeling he'll win it soon.

    Nice work Team Colorado!

  3. Whoaaa! Big oversight there! Yeah, not sure where that hour went, I think I was speaking of the ascent time and not the whole marathon.

    You get a prize for picking that out...just not sure what it is yet...maybe a pair of Inov-8 shoes! How would you like that?

    Note to blog world: it pays to be diligent.

  4. Ha! Happy to be a Team Colorado proofreader

    Inov-8 Roclite 243 - size 12 (maybe in time for Lead King Loop in mid Sept?) Are you running that race this year?

    You know I'd never turn down a good pair of trail shoes although the prize seems a bit much. Maybe something from Colorado Custard Co. is more appropriate :-)

  5. I will be in VT drinking the best beer in the world during Lead King Loop (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it).

    Matt Carpenter is feeding you poison, don't eat that stuff! Inov-8 are much better for your health!

  6. Have fun in VT! Love those Green Mts. I think the custard is Matt's strategy to put weight on his fellow competitors :-)

  7. Wow! Thanks buddy...pays to proofread!

  8. You'll have your shoes for Lead King Loop 25K, by the way, one of the most beautiful and challenging (beautifully challenging, perhaps?) races in the state and in the country. A highly recommended mountain race. Check it out!