Ragnar Trail Snowmass Review (continued)
While waiting for your next runner, volunteers give you a slap bracelet for the loop you are running next. There's no passing of the bracelet like in the Regular Ragnar. Instead, you simply pass off the race belt with your bib and chip on it. The colored slap bracelets are there to help course volunteers make sure you're on the right loop.
Trent came in and it was on to the Yellow Loop for me! A 4.1 Mile route with a climb over 8500 ft! I'd barely made it half a mile in before I started to see why they called this one a "lung buster"! My lungs were on FIRE!!
I started to definitely regret not training in altitude before this race. But nevertheless, the views were absolutely stunning! I took walk breaks on the climb. And took advantage of the time to snap a few selfies.
However, the downhill was VERY steep, and the route full of cracked, uneven dirt and roots. I still managed to propel myself downhill quickly and eventually it evened out and I made my way to the transition. Handed off to Chris, our runner #3, who went off to run the "Hardest" red loop... a 6.2 mile rim trail at over 9000ft!
I also warned everyone that running these trails at night were going to be tough, and advised everyone to take it slow and carry an extra light. Some parts of these trails had steep drop-offs and could be downright dangerous at night if we didn't take a few extra precautions.
Chris came back from the Red Loop and looked just how I felt after mine. The elevation was KILLER! Advice: if you can, train in elevation! If you are unable, then don't plan on sprinting these trails for a PR!
It went on in that fashion for a while. Dinner was served and FREE to all registered runners! The spread was pretty awesome, Carb Heaven! Definitely a perk you don't get in the Regular Ragnar Relay.
Soon it got dark and it got COLD! The weather had said it would drop to about 45 degrees. But we didn't consider that was at the "warmer" part of the mountain. Our outdoor thermometer read 29 degrees! Us being from the desert, we hadn't really packed for extreme cold! Make sure you pack for ALL conditions!
Fortunately, we'd packed a FEW warm items and there was a bonfire for the FREE S'mores! (Again, another awesome perk you don't get with the regular Road Ragnar). Also, there was FREE coffee and hot chocolate from 10pm to 10am.
Despite the cold, the night runs were still awesome. I warmed up quickly once I got started. And believe it or not we were acclimating to the elevation fairly quickly! Although, I took my own advice and slowed down on the down portion of the trails. If you weren't careful, you'd slide right off the shear drop! A fellow teammate fell on the way down the Red Loop and thankfully he only had a few scrapes.
Finally it was time for my last leg. I'd eaten plenty, but the tiredness and exhaustion was setting in. AND I was tackling the "hardest" loop.. the Red Loop! It was indeed a very steep climb, but the views didn't let me down! I was running this rim trail just as the sun had came up and the scene laid out before me was indeed incredible!
I didn't necessarily make it down in record time, but finished strong and glad to be done! And Breakfast was served! This one wasn't free, but for $11 it was the best breakfast I could ask for! Everything from pancakes to bagels to eggs and sausage.... I made myself a little sick stuffing my face. As you can tell, I love food. LOL.
The showers were FREEZING! It literally was like showering in an ice bath. Grown men were screaming from the showers like 14 year old girls. It was horrible. They even told us that the showers were cold, AFTER they took our money. I don't know why they charged for this!
My advice on this one? Go shower at the hotel *if* you have time. If not, wait until the end.
While I'm on the "negative" side, a cellphone charging station *was* available, but they only had so many spots that were usable, and I left mine there to charge for a few hours, and even though it was plugged it... it never got charged. Fortunately, I'd brought along an external battery pack. They only cost from $20-$40. If you plan on taking lots of pics and need your phone charged, I'd suggest getting one and not to rely on the charging station.
Finally our last runner came in, We ran through the finish coral together, and accepted our medals. As Captain, I got to put the medals on my team! Then some fun finish shots.
Besides the few minor things I mentioned, it was an amazing event and I highly recommend it! Even if you've already done a regular Ragnar Relay, I say you should give the Ragnar Trail a try! It's an entirely different experience!
I hope this review helps you to start planning YOUR Ragnar Trail Relay soon and be sure to let me know when you do! I want to see all the amazing pics and hear the awesome stories you're sure to leave with!
UPDATE: check out the Ragnar Trail video! I make an appearance at :27 AND towards the end putting medals on my teammates! Sweet recap video! http://youtu.be/Cv6dRa9E5H0