It's better to be lucky than to be fast, at least so for me at the Rattlesnake Ramble. Had I finished more than 8 minutes faster on this course, I still wouldn't have guaranteed myself as good of a prize as I did by being lucky.
The Rattlesnake Ramble is an annual 4.25 mi technical trail race put on to raise money for the Action Committee for Eldorado (ACE). They raise money to replace the "oh thank god" rap bolts that I've used on occasion while climbing in Eldo. For $32, I was awarded a rugged trail race (albeit a bit short, but pretty much the only one in boulder due to open space rules) with over 800 feet of gain amongst the beautiful climbing walls less than 5 minutes from my house and a sweet La Sportiva shirt made from bamboo with this logo on the front.
How could ya go wrong?! On top of all that, the prize list is amazing. There were down jackets, 15 pairs of microspikes, backpacks galore, running bottles, Sportiva shoes, climbing gym memberships, the list goes on.
As a token of appreciation for offering to pace me at Leadville, I signed Abe up to run with me. We arrived at the start at 7:30, checked in, and headed up the road for a warm up. Cloudy, breezy and 55 degrees, almost perfect conditions. At 8:00, a pack of ~80 runners took off up the road into the park. I settled in to be about 3/4 of the way back but wanted to be up front as downhillers have the right-of-way and it matters in a few sections. The videographer pulled up next to me for an interview and asked me my strategy. I jokingly told him I was trying to draft off the leaders as we were uphilling into a headwind. I knew I was in trouble though because Lisa Goldsmith (winner of PPA) was right beside me.
I hit the turn up Fowler trail, thankful for the reprieve from the uphill. My heart rate was 180 and would average that for the rest of the race. We followed Fowler out to the park boundary, swung around and headed to the west side of the park to climb the uber steep Eldo trail. I walked most of this climb with my HR still in the 180s. I was able to pass a few people here and had Dan Mottinger in my sights. At the boundary, we swung around another traffic cone and had a 1.5 mile descent to the finish line. I held my place here but lost Dan and had no chance of catching him. I ran shoulder to shoulder with another runner and almost relented but then saw Heidi and Hannah and sprinted to the finish in sub 5:30 min/mi pace for the last half mile. 11 seconds faster than my time at the inaugural year.
I average 9:27 min/mi but ran as hard as I could go the whole time. HR avg was 180 although I saw 189 at the finish. 39min 33sec. garmin data
After the race, Bill Wright gave out prizes to the top 18 finishers. Of course I wasn't one of them. They were granted first dibs at the prize table. Down jackets went first, then some Verve clothing, shoes and microspikes. My name was the first drawn in the raffle. I had lots of amazing choices. I grabbed Abe a pair of Katoola Microspikes (mostly to lock him in as my winter training partner again) and when his name was called 3 or 4 after mine, he grabbed me a sweet $100 Deuter pack, we traded prizes and headed to breakfast.
Fun fun fun.