Monday, June 18, 2012

Golden Gate Dirty Thirty vs. Mount Evans Ascent - A Comparison/Contrast

I had been considering whether to post race reports for either the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty or the Mount Evans Ascent - my two most recent races. Both were enjoyable and interesting events, but lacked any real drama or associated adventures that would make for a really good race report. I started thinking though about the comparison of these two specific events and realized that a comparison/contrast of the two races, and specifically the way I viewed the races and my performances in each of them, could actually make a decent report.

Basic Stats

Mileage: Golden Gate Dirty Thirty (candy-ass route) - 12 mi
               Mount Evans Ascent - 14.3 mi

Elevation Gain/Loss: Golden Gate - 3800'/3800'
                                  Mount Evans - 3600'/100'

Starting Elevation/Course High Point: Golden Gate: 7700'/9200'
                                                            Mount Evans: 10,600'/14,100'

Running Surface: Golden Gate - Typical Rocky Mountain dry, sometimes rocky trails
                             Mount Evans - Asphalt paved road

Personal Results

Overall Placing/Overall Percentile: Golden Gate - 3rd/97%
                                                         Mount Evans - 31st/91.6%

Subjective Enjoyment Ranking (out of 10): Golden Gate - 7
                                                                   Mount Evans - 5

Diggers taken: Golden Gate - 1 (+1 destroyed water bottle)
                        Mount Evans - 0

Free Hats Scored from Cute Montrail Girl: Golden Gate - 1
                                                                   Mount Evans - 0

Narrowly Avoided Inclement Weather Systems: Golden Gate - 1
                                                                            Mount Evans - 1

Race Reflections

Golden Gate: This was a good no-frills type event. The 12 mile race started at 9 a.m. which was late enough that the heat had started to set in even in the early miles of the race, but it wasn't to the point of being truly uncomfortable. It was hot enough that I was convinced I needed to carry a second water bottle, which turned out to be a great idea since one of my bottles was obliterated while I was tumbling down the rocky trail, and having bottles in both of my hands probably saved my hands from being turned into a bloody mess. The course was well graded on both the climbs and the descents, which meant that there were no sections quite steep enough to justify hiking on the ascents and just enough grade on the descents to make things really fast and wild. By the time I finished, I was truly worn out, happy, beaten up, and ready for a beer.

Mount Evans: The highlight of this race was the fantastic views. All but the first 3 miles of the race were above treeline and the mostly clear weather made the mental aspect of the run more enjoyable. The downside is that we were running on a road the whole way up the mountain. I considered this to be a stupid idea, but a lot of people seemed to like it. The average grade of ascent was just under 5% with a maximum grade of approximately 8% which meant that it was relatively fast uphill, with the altitude being the biggest objective challenge. By the time I finished, I mostly just wanted to quit running and have a beer.

I look happy in this picture because I'm wearing the hat I got from the cute Montrail girl at the Dirty Thirty, not because I'm loving running on the road.


Golden Gate: All things considered, I'm happy with the way I raced and where I ended up in the standings. The only avoidable thing that really slowed me down was the hard fall I took at the top of the final descent, which really messed with my mojo for the next few miles and made it hard to descend as quickly as I would have liked.

Mount Evans: The paved road and mellow grade were my biggest setbacks in this race. Not that I would have gone faster on trails than I did on the road, but relative to a lot of the people who beat me who are road runners by discipline, I would have been at an advantage on more technical and steep terrain.


I hope that someone finds this synopsis somewhat informative or enjoyable despite the lack of content that would actually lend itself to being informative or enjoyable. The question for me is now whether I will plan to do either of these races again in the future. With them both being local and easily accessible, I imagine that I probably will. The 50k in the Dirty Thirty is an intriguing option that I would certainly consider. With Mount Evans being my first hill-climb race on pavement, I'm considering trying Mount Washington next year. Maybe the steeper grade at that race would suit me better.

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