Transrockies 3-Day 2019 - Stage Three

 I obviously waited way too long to post this, and I finally had the urge to write and wrap up the series with a few memories and photos from the day. 

Stage three was mentally and physically tough after feeling so tired from the first two days. It was 24 miles long, starting high up in downtown Leadville with a couple miles on pavement. I felt so incredibly tired, a tired that I can't remember feeling any other time in my life. My body was tired from running but I also feel that the extended time exerting at altitude was making it more pronounced. The nice part about the pavement here was the easy footing to start that third day and to get the body warmed up.

Once we stepped onto the trail, we had a big climb with gorgeous views (I mean, the whole thing was gorgeous views really!) My muscles opened up fairly well after starting out rough, however I know I was moving much slower on day three.

Partway through the first big climb.

The fancy photographer photo near the top.

Next up was a nice long downhill and eventually an aid station at the bottom. My favorite part of this section was running through an Aspen grove, a first for me.


The section after the aid station was relatively flat and then a long, gradual climb. It included some mud and water puddle crossings. The route took us through a ski resort and to the Continental Divide, where we found the next aid station. 

Another photographer photo.

The Continental Divide!

The next section of trail is the most memorable part of Stage Three for me - it was some of the most beautiful single track trail I've ever experienced! We spent quite some time winding through trees and across a meadow, which helped me reset my mental game after climbing and being on mostly wide trail. 

Early into the single track section. Perfect sky.

Into the open meadow.

We eventually arrived at the last aid station, which was followed by miles of dirt road to Camp Hale. I'm not going to lie, this section felt brutal. It's mostly flat, you can see a very long way, and you see Camp Hale what feels like eons before you get there. I was exhausted, and the switch from happy single track to dirt road felt like a gut punch. I didn't take any photos in this section, probably because it took all of my mental energy to get to the finish...with mostly walking in that last part.

Finally, we arrived in the finish chute and ran through hand-in-hand. We had accomplished our first stage race, aka our 15 year wedding anniversary celebration!

Arriving at Camp Hale.

The finish arch!

Happy finisher photo.

They handed us fantastic swag at the finish - an Under Armor hoodie, Under Armor pajamas, and a medal. We also received a short sleeve tech tee at check-in. Yoga was starting soon, so I jumped right in to get some stretching and recovery going in my body. 

Yoga with Jenny.

We had decided to stay at Camp Hale that night, and it was lovely to be finished and able to relax by the campfire without getting things ready for the next stage. We had a few beers with other runners, including our friends Meghan and Josh, and chatted about our time there. Now it really did feel like camp! 3-Day runners also have the option to shuttle back to Buena Vista right after finishing. 

Finish area as viewed from the tents.

Camp Hale was beautiful.

The next day we took the shuttle back to Buena Vista, and our TransRockies experience came to an end. This left me with the urge to do the 6-day in the future - although the thought of adding three more days after this makes me question if my body is capable. Friends told me you get a second wind with the shorter route of Stage Four, perhaps that's true? One day I'll likely find out.

Our last moments at camp.

Last but not least, photo with the official stage prop.


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