Ask the Goat: I’ll see TransRockies again in 2015

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series on recovery. Part one was published on Thursday, Sept. 4.

After Kristine dropped down to the 3-day event, the race really shifted gears.

Ask the Goat by Chris Knodel

Ask the Goat
by Chris Knodel

She was seen working the finish lines as happy as I had seen her in days. She had never shown my passion for running, but I had always nudged her into races so we could be together. It never occurred to me that she could easily be a volunteer and we could still ‘race’ together all over the country. This arrangement would become the new win-win solution to my schedule.

Stage #4 began at the Nova Guides Campground at Camp Hale. We ended day #3 there, had showered, weathered a brief hailstorm, eaten, and even spent some time sitting around a huge fire pit listening to live folk music. It was a nice, communal time. I got to formally meet a lot of my Facebook ‘friends’ and many of the familiar faces I had run with at events all over the world. There were several from the Iceland race, Western States, Texas and even the East Coast. On the morning of Day #4, we lined up to begin the fourth Stage, which would be 14.2 miles with 2800ft of gain. By the day’s end, we would be in Red Cliff.

Stage #4 mirrored the format of Stage #2. It was short, high and tough. But unlike the trek up Hope Pass, this terrain was absolutely stunning. I had almost doubled my pace since Kristine had dropped, and was really starting to enjoy the scenic views and varied terrain. Red Cliff was a small town built into the side of a mountain. It was little more than a hotel and a restaurant named Mango’s. This eatery is renowned for its margaritas and famous fish tacos. You can probably imagine how excited these dehydrated runners were to spend a bit of time sucking down alcohol and pounding great food. We returned to Camp Hale for the second night, and tried to sleep through the swirl of buzzed chattering.

Stage #5 ran from Red Cliff to Vail. It was a stunning 23.2 miles with a staggering 4100ft of gain. This was by far one of the most trying days. In addition to its length and height, two miles of the trail is actually underwater. Over the years, the riverside has reclaimed a portion of the route, and you run straight down a numbingly cold and churning waterway that is oftentimes calf-high. The finish was at the very posh Vail Village.

The sixth and final stage of the race was a long 24.6 miles with 4900ft of gain. This was the most climbing we had done –and it was on the second longest leg of the race. The increasing temperatures over the last three days were also contributing to the difficulty of the final stages. The first eight miles were little more than a series of switchbacks up and over Vail Mountain.

Even three hours in you could still look down on the starting line. The finish, though, was located at Beaver Creek Village, a coveted ski and shopping destination. After a long descent on gravel jeep-road, I could hear the music from the finish. I could faintly make out Kristine passing out medals and craning to see if that silhouette was me trotting down the final trail. She ran out to meet me as I crossed the line, she wearing her 3-day medal and me with a finisher’s buckle. Our Texas friend Claudia finished right on my heels. TransRockies was done.

I have already registered for the 2015 TRR. It is an incredible experience and is extremely well done. I hope to see many of you there.

Chris Knodel is a Mangum Track Club member and Sandhills Region native. He is the author of “More, Better Quicker – The Irish Goat: A Fat-Boy & His Path to Ultra-Distance.” His column will appear each Thursday on

Filed in: Outdoors, Sports

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