Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lunatics at Leadville 2011

It feels kind of strange writing a race report from an event I didn't run.
Maybe I should change my frame of mind this is not race report for Leadville 2011 it's a prelude for Leadville 2012.  This year the plan was to pace Barefoot Ted and Luna's own Tech Monkey Bookis.  In the process I would learn how how my body reacts in the thin mountain air and get a good grasp of the course I will be running next year.

I flew into Denver the Wednesday  before the race.  I tried to pack light (I don't like checking baggage).  At 4 am. about an hour before I was going to leave my house I realized that other than knowing Leadville was in Colorado I had no clue where it was.  I quick google search informed me it would be a 2 hour drive from Denver and that weather would be  between 35-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Being the optimist, I choose the middle seat on a plane. In hope that beautiful women will be seated on both sides of me.
Well this time I wasn't fortunate enough to get the middle seat but I did meet some interesting people. On my left was this cool river rafting tour guide chick who carried in her hand a copy of Born to Run. She wasn't more than halfway done with and I had a tough time biting my tongue not to spoil the ending
 I gave her a Luna Sandals sticker for a book mark and she gave me a smile.  Next to her was some crazy actor dude who goes by the name "Dr. IP Dollar."  I had never seen his commercials before but now I have (lucky me)

When I arrived in Denver I had no clue who was picking me up.  After a few phone calls I found out my buddy from Mexico Shawn (You know that Vegan dude who loves big bags of coke see picture) was driving up from Utah with Bookis's bother Jules the cobbler monkey at Luna along with their buddy Eric.
Photo by Eli
I was only waiting for a few seconds before they arrived in Shawn's sweet Menlove mobile. lol
The drive up from Denver went by pretty quick and before I knew it I was in Leadville.

Could you imagine running the 100 miles in one of the dresses? Leadville chicks are tough.
History lesson 
1st impression
When you enter Leadville it's like stepping back in time.  The cities hayday was back in the 1890's as mining town. Many of the buildings from that era still remain.  I wonder where I'm staying? Not that I really cared so long as I had a roof over my head.  I had no clue.
20 ft tall posters on the side of some building
Last year when Barefoot Ted ran the race him and his crew (Bookis and Jules) plus another 10 or so people stayed at this dude Andrew's house about a few hundred feet behind this building. and about 2 blocks from the starting line of the race.

When we arrived Bookis and Ted had gone to some hot springs.  Andrew couldn't  have been nicer or more gracious and even offered me as I was the only drinker in the group. The house was tiny an old  yet it had a giant garage that was perfect for a bunch of stinky vegan runner dudes.  Andrew would also be running in the race.  Later in the week he was joined by his wife, his father, his 2 sons plus a few friends to help crew.  Although I had never met any of them before I was treated like a long time friend and look forward to that becoming a reality.

Later that evening up Strolled my more firends from Mexico Caballo Blanco and Maria Walton.  Both of them were staying in a little love shack behind the garage and Maria was thoughtful enough to bring P.F. Changs for everyone.  I later found out that Andrew has also ran in the Copper Canyon's Ultramarathon and helps out with Caballo's charity for the Tarahumara Norawas
(Very Cool)

Eventually Ted and Bookis finally arrived along with another member of crew Eli.  Ted was bouncing of the walls he was upbeat and the hot springs seemed to have overstimulated his senses.

Photo by Eli
Staying in the garage  worked out great.  I got some good shut eye and was eager to see what the trails were like.
Photo by Eli

The next morning we all packed  in the Menlove mobile this time with 4 smelly dudes in the back seat.
We decided to Hike up to Hope Pass the highest point on the course to quicker acclimate to the thin air. The dirt road to the trail is best suited for a truck and the tail pipe on Shawn's car smacked the ground a bunch of times but made it there it one piece

Earlier week Jules made me a pair of Luna's newest sandals the Lead Cat.  and Iwas very excited to test them out on some trails.

The extra grip on the bottom over my Original Luna's made a big difference.  I can't wait to get them worn in
I looked for the ladies on the mural
But all I found  were a bunch  of dudes.
View from Hope Pass looking towards Twin Lakes 12,600 ft
What a way you to ruin a scenic view. Try and pretend I'm not in the picture
Photo by Eli
Can you tell which one of us lives at the beach?

On the way back down a few of us jumped in the lake to clean up.
The next day bookis and I went for a little stroll

Obiligatory tourist shot

Bookis is a pretty compationate dude, see here and here
This sign was located in the middle of nowhere
Bookis and I took extreme caution but  were we supposed to be afraid or careful?

Ice Palace park

Recycling doesn't have to be complicated.  I though this was pretty cool but check out what once stood at this very spot.

The next morning Ted didn't feel so good he seemed to be suffering from a bit of Altitude sickness.  It looked like even starting the race may be a difficult task.

Ted's Cerebral Hamsters never stop spinning the wheel. Check out some of the innovations he planned to use

Simple one pocket leather hydration pack.
Monkey with Gorilla feet?
In an effort to possible keep his feet warm and add grip in case of in climate weather Ted beefed up a pair of Ingingi compression socks.
With over 700 runners signed the race briefing  was spectacle to behold.
Quote the race director
"You're stronger than you think you are.  You can do more than you think you Can."

Just across the Street from where we were staying was the Silver Dollar Saloon

I wen undefeated in my first 12 matches before losing my final 2.
We had to wake up the next morning at 3a.m. for the race
What do you do when an electrical storm is brewing in Leadville?
Throw an impromptu, outdoor, techno, dance party of course. while we wait for take out dinner to be ready
Rise and shine for the Leadville 100
Photo by Eli
The night before the race our garage numbers increased  from 7 to 9 with addition of a couple cool cats from Denver Reese and Rob joined the insanity and we now a had female presence in the garage.(poor girl)  We tried to teach her the intricacies of fart baseball (I can't believe there are actual rules online. lol) a game I had never played before this trip but seemed to be a natural at.  She was a good sport and pretty smart to protect her identity hiding in the center sleeping bag when this photo was snapped
Photo by Eli
Up at 3 a.m. an hour before the race began sharing what little wisdom I have before my morning coffee.
Well bookis if you wanna get your picture up on the wall Krupicka your gonna have to run without a shirt.

"Now entering the race coral
The rookie entering his first 100 miles race never had he gone over 50 miles, the Sandalman "
"Bookis Smuin."
Photo by Eli
"And In this corner weighing in at 163 lbs. The One, The Only.
The Luna Spokes Monkey Himself"
"Barefoot Ted"
Photo by Eli
Let's get it on!

So it begins, and is soon as all people get the hell out of here we can go back to the garage and sneak in another hour of sleep.
The day before the race we were joined by final crewmember Dennis.  He's super nice generous guy from Denver who helped pace Ted last year.  His crew vehicle was also a litlle nicer than Shawn's.  I decided to stick with him and avoid the Menlove mobile if possible.

Game plan for the race.   The course is heads out 50 miles and then comes back at on the same path.  There are  5 spots where we could meet up with our runners. May Queen at mile 13.5 & 86.5 The Fish Hatchery  at mile 23.5 & 76.5 Tree Line at mile 28  & 72 Twin Lakes at mile 39.5 & 60.5 and Winfield at mile 50.
 We decided to forgo crewing at the first aid station at 13 miles.  Ted and Bookis both had drop bags and really wouldn't need us for anything but moral support.

My initial plan was too pace Bookis up Hope Pass from mile 50 to 60 and to pace Ted into the finish line from mile 87

Fish Hatchery
Photo by Eli
Mile 23.5 the 
As we drove up we saw Andrew fly by before we even had a chance to snap a picture or even yell out way to go.
The first person I saw at the Hatchery once we parked was my friend Maria.  Realizing I had a gap in pacing schedule I told her Caballo needed help pacing between mile 62 and 85 it would be my pleasure.

I stood watch with Guadajuko (the ghost dog of the Copper Canyons) Well Maria took care of the White horse
Go Caballo!
Soon after, up cruised Bookis
Bookis didn't need us physically he was doing well and his smile looked strong.

While there I saw a few other friends running the race including Shannon Farar-Greifer (a kick ass lady gunning for the grand slam also the ceo of Moeben) and Jess Soco (a real sweat heart).
We waited as long as we could for Ted.  The cut off time was looming and if we wanted to catch Bookis at the next aid station the crew had to split up.

4 miles later same smile surely He can't hold that grin for 100 miles, can he?
 Running in Luna Sandal's is just that fun!!

We got word that Ted had made it through the Fish Hatchery with just a few minutes to spare.  The altitude sickness he had suffered earlier in the week was taking its toll on Ted.  We decided to double back and see if  we could find him on our way to the next aid station.  He was still moving when we found him.

Twin Lakes
Ted was to brave to even start the race in his condition.  The MenLove mobile picked  picked him up a few at mile 28 and after a short rest his spirits were strong.

Potato hummus and avocado sandwich makes Bookis one happy dude. 
Feet of a Lunatic 40s mile into the race. 
"Go Sandalman"

Bookis was looking strong through Twin Lakes

Leadville course profile
"Hey Bookis I know you climbed that pointy part, how bout you do again but this time with some yahoo yelling stupid things in your ear the whole way/"


Photo by Eli

Maybe Bookis will get his picture on the wall of some building some day?
Photo by Eli
"Go sandalman!"
The Luna's were doing there job remarkably and Bookis looked great shape at the 50 mile mark and was now about to enter uncharted territory.
Photo by Eli
From the aid station to the trailhead up to Hopes Pass was an easy 2miles on fire road.  About .5 into it began to rain (doh)  I really did not want to get stuck at the top of the mountain in a storm. During the race breifing the medical director told us to run with someone taller than ourselves in case of lightning.  Good thing Bookis has me by a couple inches. Thankfully  the rain was gone minutes after it began.
Photo by Eli
I really hate carrying gear but if it will help Bookis get to the finish line I say "pack it on"
On the climb up to Hope Pass Bookis charged hard.  I think we passed maybe 60 people during this 3 mile stretch. I was huffing and puffing.
At the top of Hope pass 12,700 Bookis took a second to ventilate his pits.
Bookis was pleasure to pace for but that didn't mean he wasn't wearing his game face at times
Lets get gown this freaking mountain

Am I shepherd or a Sherpa?  Nope I'm a dumbass who just wanted his picture taken with some llamas in the background
Bookis kept a good stride down most of the mountain. When he started to walk I told him to swing his arms like power walking mom working off baby fat.  Bookis obliged and made some good time.

Pacing aint easy. (I lied it's pretty damn easy)
There were about 10 small puddles and a river we had to cross.  Lucky for us we did'nt have to try our socks out afterwards
Good times
The water did'nt faze Bookis one bit as he scampered towards the Twin Lakes aid station looking strong
I told Bookis that the crowd all showed up just for him, but he already knew that.

Twin lakes mile 61
Pit crew.  

Bookis kicked some butt as we ran but now that he was standing still he did'nt look so hot.  We needed to keep him moving and get his ass back on the course

It was now up to Eric to get him moving safely to the next aid station.

People were dropping like lies  at this point we learned that Caballo, Jess, and Shannon had all dropped.

Tree Line 2nd time
Photo by Eli
This picture exists  because Eli thought I was cool dude and wanted something to remember me by (yeah right) We had too much time to kill EL was board and needed to focus his camerea to do some trippy shit.
(I think my pants are inside out)
Photo by Eli
Time lapse photo of runners going by.

Dennis took advantage of the down time.
things were starting to get weird
Luckily for us Andrew came through with his pacer Lindsey. They were both super positive and great to see. At this point in the race around mile 72 or so Andrew was on pace for a sub 22 hour finish.  He really wanted to go sub 25 which seemed attainable but as happy as he was he informed us that he was suffering a groin injury and it was getting worse.

Seeing Andrew was just what Jules needed to spin his frown around.
I was laced up and ready to run but who would I pace?

I have no pictures of Bookis at the aid station. We were expecting him any minute when all of a sudden up comes Eric his pacer alone? (Uhoh)  It seems Bookis's stomach had turned south,  he wasn't eating which depleated his energy, because his energy was depleted he began to walk.  The temperature was getting chilly and because he was now walking his core temperature was dropping fast.  Eric told us that Bookis wanted a warm car and a bowl of soup.

With a can of Vegan soupI immediatly started to scour the parking lot for a crew with a stove.  Eventually I stumbled upon The "Turnbull" crew which not only cooked the soup they gave me battle of hot water to go with it.

We warmed up the Men Love mobile (sounds so wrong) and when Bookis finally arrived we let him take a little rest.  After about 10 minutes Bookis looked pretty good the calories from soup had given him some fuel and he left the aid station running.

Fish Hatchery
Well since Ted had dropped out of the race our crew offered it's pacing services to this guy Andy from Colorado Springs.  Dennis took him the first leg Shawn took him the second and it was now up to me to pace him from the Fish Hatchery to May Queen.

Andy turned out to be real nice guy and we had great run together.  During our climb of the powerline stretch of the course we were passed  by Bookis and his brother Jules.   Bookis was climbing hard and it was great to his body firing on all cylinders once again.

May Queen
Photo by Eli
after Dennis's nap earlier he was full of vit and vigor ready to take Andrew into the finishline.

I figured Bookis would be long gone by the time Andy I got into May Queen.  I was wrong.  His stomach wasn't doing well and hhe had been in medical for awhile getting body together.  We were at about 23 hours into the race and Bookis only had 13 miles left to finish his first 100.  The cut off time is 30 hours and if he needs to rest in medical so be it. But just when I thought we were going to be sitting around for awhile Bookis emerged and took off down the final stretch paced by Eli.

We were all exhausted and the final aid station was a mad house.   Picture a tiny mountain road with 400 drunk (well sleep deprived) drivers battling it out for 200 parking spots.  Luckily we got out of their unscathed and headed to the the finish line.

If we were smart we would have gone to the garage for a few hours sleep but instead we headed to the bleachers to root on the finishers.  we got there at about 4:20 a.m. 
We were all little loopy by this point
Emperor Barefoot Ted Palpatine the Dark lord of the Sandal

We had expected Andrew to come by anytime but the last quarter of the race was not going his way.  

At about the 27 hour mark up strolled our boy Bookis
Straight through the finish line and into his Brothers arms for a hug.
My batteries died as I was filming

Congratulations Bookis!!!
Bookis showed great poise the entire race.  He did not look like a rookie out there.  It was great to see a good person run such a good race.
27:10:53 134th place

About an hour later up came Dennis and Andy
Way to go Andy!!
27:59:11 180th place

Dennis informed that he had passed Andrew a few miles back and that he could hardly walk on his own.  His IT band had been tweaked making the climbs suck and his groin strain had gotten worse making the downhills almost unbearable. On flat areas he had to deal with both.

At the end of the 29th hour the crowd erupted in cheers. A moment that brought a tear to the eye of many including myself.  Up the hill came Andrew.


He told me later t that he needed to show his children that just because something is tough or difficult, that giving up is not an option.

May hat goes off to you.  You are one tough dude!
28:56:33  252nd Place

Complete Official results
Andrew had given it everything he had.
About 20 minutes after he finished the race I found him lying on the sidewalk waiting for a ride home 1/4 mile away.  He was in a lot of pain but was still able to joke around a bit. The truck that came to pick him up proved to be too painful to climb in.
Photo by Reese
We decided to walk back to his house.  Very slowly.

By now I had been up for well over a day the race was over and it was time to get some sleep right?
well that's what the rest of the crew did for me I had other plans.

Earlier in the week I had seen some Disc Golf Disc's for sale at the local sporting good store.  It was my last day in Leadville and I had never golfed at such a high elevation before.  I was determined to find that course.

After a walking a few miles out of town I finally found it.  I had no discs I walked the front nine imagining what I would throw as I scoured the tree's looking for a lost disc.
Eventually i borrowed an old XL (which actually flew pretty good at that elevation) from some dude and  jogged a quick 18 holes.
You don't see these signs in SoCal.
The course was beautiful, fun and a great way to end my trip.

As I stumbled back from the Disc Golf  course I came  across Bookis who was moving real well an his way back from picking up his hardware.  His feet were in perfect shape thanks to his Luna Lead Cat sandals.

It was a great trip, one I soon won't forget.  I was extremely proud to be apart of both Bookis and Barefoot Ted's crew.  Bookis did an amazing job and it was great day for Luna Sandals.  Bookis proved  I very much look forward tackling this course in my Luna's next year

Thank you to Andrew and his family for hosting us and thank you to all my friends new and old that helped make this trip kick ass.

Photo by Eli

Photo by Eli
What a bunch of Lunatics!