Tuesday, April 1, 2008

After the Grand Traverse

We headed up to the Elevation Hotel at Mount Crested Butte at 9:00 am to register. After this at was a talk from the organizers to tell you to be prepared for everything, give trail changes, weather info, and other important info. Following this was the gear check and provided pasta lunch or lunch and gear check depending on when you registered. The day was warm. Warmer than any day yet this year. NOAA was predicting 15-20 mi hr winds, 1-3 in of snow and 30 F temps. The warm temp was actually a problem as kick wax just won't stick or kick when it's warm.

The gear check went OK. Here you had to lay all your stuff out in a taped off square in a separate room. Several "judges" would go around and check everything off the list. First aid kit? OK. Let's see your ABS to control heavy bleeding, Where's the moleskin, and triangle bandages. Stove, shovel, beacon, probe poles, pad.... etc... Our judge was someone we knew pretty well so she didn't check us too carefully--We did have everything--really.

Here, Scott and I wait for the gear check.

Here is Becky and her ski partner. A couple of crazy girls. There were an amazing number of girls doing the race. Becky works at Western State also teaching biology. She worked very hard getting into the race. First she had to buy a entry from someone who couldn't use theirs. then her Achilles was very sore and she was off her ski for a week. Then her partner got a sore back and had to drop out so she had to search for another..... Finally she got a girl willing to do it....

So we finally got everything done and headed back to Gunni. We didn't have a place to stay in Aspen, so we were planning on having Scott's brother and girlfriend come and pick us up and drive back on Saturday. But while picking up some last minute stuff in Gunnison, we ran into an old friend that happened to have a small place in Aspen and said we could crash there while they were in Gunnison. So that was way cool.

The race started out with light snow turning to heavy snow and warm 32F. The snow stuck to you and melted. We all lined up. We got behind the really fast guys on the groomed track by the High School while everyone else spread out over the snow softer snow to each side. Reverend Tim said his "Prayer of the Free Heelers" and the race began. 125 teams of two at midnight. We got out of the start with some close calls with so many skiers with packs trying to get onto the packed trail. The day before was colder so you could have skied on the crust. Now with it so warm you fell through the crust. We skate skied across the valley to where the trail begins to climb a steep narrow trail up to the ski area. Here we put on our skins. We got to the base of the ski area in good shape and began to climb over the middle of the ski area.

At the top you ski down several blue ski runs. Visibility was low as the snow blew in your face. Also the hard trails now had powder on them. We decided to just leave our skins on. I don't know which is worse going down with or with out skins on skinny skis..... But we had almost made it down when Scott came up behind me and said, "I think I broke my hand.... my ski caught something" So we stopped at the bottom and I tried to Duct tape his pole to his wrist since he couldn't hold onto it..... But NOOOO!!! So we had to bail.... What are the odds of breaking your hand?? I crash often and so does he and now it breaks.

We were in the top 30 teams at least at this point and we were at our strong point as Scott goes up much faster then down.... That's life. We talked to the ski patrollers at the check point and they arranged a snow mobile ride back over the mountain. So we called Scott's bro from the Lift Hut and hopped on a snow mobile back to the ski patrol building to wait for our ride. I tested my sugar here and it was pretty high as I didn't really eat much and had been skiing for a hour and half. Something to check for must have been the late start... One crazy thing was the snowmobile driver I went back with was paralyzed from the chest down from breaking his neck. He also skis and races hand bikes.

So we got back and Scott's hand kept swelling. He got it x-rayed Monday and sure enough broken. Just wait till next year!
Scott and his broken hand..

1 comment:

Matthew Tyler said...

Bummer to bad Scott broke his hand. Oh well there is always next year. He probably could have toughed it out with a little duct tape and some asprin. Good try peoples. See you later Matt