Total elevation gain: 2,930 ft
We spent the night of Stage 2 in Leadville at 10,000 feet! (where the famous Leadville Trail 100 takes place) Tent city was set up on the soccer field of a school in town. I had a pretty great sleep that night and was happy to not wake once to use the bathroom. My quads were feeling pretty sore after the previous day's long descent but after a little warm up before Stage 3 began they were actually feeling pretty good and ready to go! This was to be the longest stage of the race and I had no idea of how long it might take and had hoped for nothing over 4 hours.
The race started through Leadville with a couple of miles on paved roads and a really long hill down that seemed to last forever. Steve and I were going at a fairly good clip yet teams were bombing down this hill and passing us right from the start. We thought this was kind of strange as we knew as soon as we turned off onto trail at the bottom and it started to climb we would pass them again...and we did.
Stage 3 was quite rolling and it was my favorite type of trail running. The weather was very cool that day and we felt like we were back at home on one of our training runs. We both felt fantastic and enjoyed the entire day. There was this one climb I remember that lasted a while and we both got into this awesome groove and were passing teams on the way up including this Spanish team we soon found ourselves competing with each day for overall placing.
I think our favorite part of the day was when we found ourselves on the Colorado Trail which was a combination of some really beautiful single and double track trail. We felt so good that we couldn't help but run fast through there and it felt pretty effortless. We kept thinking..man it feels like we're back home in the Canadian Rockies...this is awesome! Towards the end of our run we caught up to and passed some mens teams as we continued our descent out of the trees and down along a giant meadow. Eventually we came out from the meadow and had a few km or so to go on a dirt road.
We started to pick up the pace as we didn't want the teams we just passed to pass us again...and then Steve sees the team down the road that's a couple of minutes ahead of us and says that's Dean (Karnazes). I knew we had made up time on them in the GC yesterday as we finished ahead of them and I really wanted to catch them today! We decided to giv'r and kept saying...we're totally going to regret this tomorrow!...but decided that we felt so good that what the heck let's go for it!! We gave it all we had and at one point were running close to a 6 minute mile but in the end finished just over a minute behind them. We were super pumped with our 4th place finish on the day with a time of 3:59:01.
At the end of the race Dean congratulated us on a good race, was chatting away to me (yes I was super excited lol) and asked where we were from. When he found out we were from Canada, he started talking about the Death Race that he had done in Grand Cache, Alberta only a few weeks prior! He went on to tell me how tough that race was and how he couldn't even believe he managed to come second! I mentioned that I had already planned on doing that race next year and was super excited about it! :) So yeah it was awesome to chat with him...what a really nice guy!
I then decided I really needed to go soak my legs in the creek nearby or I wouldn't be walking tomorrow...boy did it ever feel good! There's definitely something to be said for an ice bath or a good cold water soak after a long, hard run! We then spent the afternoon hanging out at the Nova Guides campground in historic Camp Hale, happy with our finish and happy to find ourselves moving up in the overall standings!
Chillin out at the Salomon Relaxation Station
Steve and Julia also enjoying some relaxation!