Before I can tell you about the actual Transrockies 6 day stage race I feel like the story really begins the week before the race.
I signed up for this race a year in advance and couldn’t believe that after six LOOOOOONG years of following the Facebook group that I was finally going to get to be one of those people who actually showed up in Colorado to race. But it was hard to get excited until I actually had my passport in hand.
Since the beginning of 2022 people have been eager to travel again after two long years stuck at home. This unfortunately meant that huge delays were becoming a regular occurrence for those trying to get their passports. What used to be a simple two-week process is now having people waiting three months or longer for their passport to arrive. Knowing that there were difficulties within Service Canada I applied three months in advance of my trip to ensure that I would get my passport in a timely manner. Unfortunately this was not the case.
After applying in May the wait time grew to double what I was told when I applied. I had to do everything possible in order to ensure that I could leave for Colorado on Friday, July 29. Which included waiting on hold for several hours to speak to someone about the status of my application, and then contacting my local government officials to try and have them help expedite my passport so I did not miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
Just 66 hours before my flight was scheduled to leave I received my passport in hand. The frantic packing began and the excitement grew with every item I stowed into my carry-on.
Joanne and I arrived at EIA around 3:30am on Friday July 29th. Both of us excited to adventure to Colorado together and experience Transrockies (TRR) firsthand. We boarded the plane at 5:38am and by 8:49am we were touching down in Denver. At 12:45pm we met up with our shuttle driver and a bunch of other crazy runners excited to camp and run through Colorado. After a LONG, but hysterical shuttle ride to Buena Vista with the Big Dad Energy crew we had finally arrived at our AirBNB. Over the next two days we explored Buena Vista.
We took it all in restaurants, Cottonwood hot springs, neighbourhood walks through quant streets lined with century old homes filled with history and character. We located Chillville and Andi with my garbage bag of supplies (more on that later).
Sunday July 31st, all the festivities are about to begin. The morning starts with a 5km shake out run and my first opportunity to volunteer as a Salty Squad (GU) ambassador. I’m given the privilege of handing out samples of chews and electrolyte tabs. This was a wonderful first opportunity to introduce myself to some of the other racers. I must have handed out a few dozen bags of chews before the run and was grateful to have big stretchy pockets on my Earthgroove shorts.
Once the chews were all handed out it was time to hear a few words from Gina the founder of Trail Sisters and also Amir from Harlem run. We headed out for an easy run. I immediately realized that the altitude was making a noticeable difference in my breathing, I was dripping with sweat as the sun shone down on me. I slowed it down and enjoyed the rest of the shake out just as such, with nothing to prove but enjoy exploring this new area. The course was in a Rocky, mountainous area hinging the banks of the Arkansas river. I saw my first ever cactus and pretty much geeked out, stopping to take photos.
At the end folks were going down to the river to cool off and refresh in the hot sun. Not wanting to miss out on any of the experience I took off my socks, shoes and jumped in with my bra and shorts. It was cold but refreshing. I practiced my swim, jumping into the current and paddling back. Cheers from the others echoed through the river canyon. After a quick dip in the river is was back to the AirBNB and then lunch. Time to pack all your belongings for the next 6 days into a duffel bag and get ready to leave it on the curb.
Packing the duffel including all my clothes, sectioned off into ziploc bags, shower bag & towel and of course the precious items that had been transported in a garbage bag by my friend Andi. Thanks to Andi I could focus on overpacking clothing choices into my luggage and had her transport my sleeping bag, pillow and poles. All of which now had to fit inside this black duffel bag. As I struggled to close the bag the old Chris Farley sketch played out in my mind “fat guy in a little coat” echoed through my mind. ‘Suck it in’ I told my pillow and I finally closed the zipper firmly wondering how I would close this bag each morning to break camp. Oh well it was a problem for another day.