Monday, August 12, 2013

The Pikes Peak High-Altitude Mile

The Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon weekend craziness will start THIS TUESDAY at 9am, as Simon “Gute” Gutierrez, Alex “Axel” Nichols and Neil “Big McD” McDonagh toe the line of the inaugural Pikes Peak High-Altitude Mile with 16 of the fastest runners in the area (and Africa, for that matter). Athletes capable of a sub 4-minute mile face off with athletes known for winning high-altitude mountain races will run what might be the highest competitive mile ever contested on USA soil and, dare we say it, the WORLD, at an altitude of 14,115 feet. It will be a battle of oxygen and leg speed. And, like a Rocky movie, it will be a battle of two entirely different beasts...a battle between two Team Colorado teammates.

It was so tense that we were waiting for a "I will eat your children" quote

We sought out Big McD to talk about his thoughts on the mile race and were a bit surprised by what he had to say…“I moved here in March to finish graduate school, but that was just out of convenience. More importantly, I moved here to beat Axel Nichols, at something, at anything. I've been training for only one race this year and it's the Pikes Peak High-Altitude Mile. I've been doing my patented gas mask 20x400's, all sub 60 seconds. I don't care if I come in second to last, as long as I'm ahead of Axel. Axel, I hope you bring a bag of air to the peak, because you are gonna need it. I submit video evidence of what Axel probably feels like knowing he is facing me at 14,115 ft.”

The Prez attempting to keep peace between the teammates, it was almost a rumble in the jungle
Well, Team Colorado loves a good battle so of course we tracked down Axel doing some secret training at the top of Pikes Peak and asked him about his High-Altitude Mile competition…we are sensing there may be a bit of unrest within the team. “When I heard that Big McD was running the Peak Mile I thought ‘that's nice, he could have a shot at the money.’ But then I found out there are already 5 women running and the prize money only goes 4 deep.”

Carrot Top in his prime

Since Big McD is somewhat new to town, we asked Axel to describe him for anyone who hasn't yet had a chance to meet him. "Big McD looks like an emaciated Carrot Top. He trains with a geriatric, overweight, lazy dog just so he can tell people he's faster than someone.” Since Neil is only capable of a 4:05 in the mile, Axel is convinced that “McD is running the Pikes Peak Mile to get a free ride to the donut stand and the only thing worse than McD’s running is McD.”

It probably was not a good idea to get them together for a press conference, all they wanted to do what bite each other's ears off.

The battle will be settled on Tuesday, August 13th at 9am when the title of Drago is awarded to either Big McD or Axel.

The Pacifist       Photo:

Meanwhile, Gute is training and keeping to himself. He strays away from controversy.

Team Colorado will be well represented with Gute, three-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent with a recent 4:35 at the Bristol Mile. Axel, 2nd overall at the 2012 Pikes Peak Marathon and six-time PPA/PPM top ten finisher, not to mention securing a much coveted spot on the 2013 US Mountain Running Team a week after winning the Barr Trail Mountain Race. Big McD checks in with a 4:05 Bristol mile, 30:48 Evergreen Town Race 10K (CO State 10K Championship) and a vendetta for Axel.  

Things are definitely heating up, so break out the potato chips and bratwursts and follow the live coverage on twitter (@RunTeamColorado) as they struggle for air. Who will be the victor!?

Good luck in what could prove to be the hardest race any of these athletes have ever run.

The Clash of the Titans
Editor’s Note: There will be shouts of “Aaaaaadriaaaaaaaan” during the mile, but mainly because local Colorado Springs runner, Adrian Chouinard, will be running.


  1. Ha! Thanks for the laugh...good stuff Prez. I'll be up there in the morning to watch the "Showdown on the Summit" firsthand. Looks like there's a chance for snow which should make things interesting

    1. Thank our new chef d’equipe, she's the captain of the pirate ship! Looksh like you are having your own Shitshow on the Shummit with "G-man". (That's how Sean Connery would say it!)

  2. Hilarious. Wish I could have been there--will have to keep my eyes peeled here.

    1. Well, Trailbitch your in luck! We will have some footage of the High-Altitude Mile just as soon as we can figure out the editing function. Sorry to call you a bitch, by the way.