So this past weekend was my (Andre) Bday and I wanted to do something EPIC. The search was on. Searching through a bunch of options there was one that really caught my interest, “Silverton Double Dirty 30 100k”, in the San Juan Mountains. (the largest range in Colorado). As I read through the race website I saw that the course required a qualifying race, I searched through the options and none of the races for qualifying was in my resume….shit. I didn’t give in then and emailed the RD told her that I felt comfortable to run the race. I also included my past races and that I had been living and training at high altitude (9,400ft).
Meghan, the RD responded right away and after a couple of exchange emails, she gave me the opportunity to race. It was ON!
The drive into Silverton at this time of the year was mind blowing! Every turn was like a post card.
As we arrived on Friday for the race meeting, it was cold and it started snowing. The mountains were covered in snow. I knew it was going to be a different race due to the elements. After the meeting we scouted for a camp spot, we camped out on the back of our truck by the river with our friend/crew Jason Gruss.
Race day was cloudy and cold but still beautiful, as the race took off, I was in the zone, the beauty was just breathtaking, the first 4 miles was mostly downhill all in the Silverton rail road, I was able to stay on pace and enjoy my surrounding. After the 4 miles it was all single track climbs on the Colorado trail, the higher we got the colder it was. As I was getting closer to AS-1 my toes and hands were frozen, I was able to have my crew supply me with hand warmers but the feet was wet the entire race due to mud, water and ice. As I went through the first aid station it felt good to see my crew, specially my wife. As I passed AS-1,it started snowing above tree line, it was beautiful. The elements just added so much more to this race. I stayed focused and steady most of the race, the climbs were long and the oxygen was low.
After AS-1 it was 17 miles to the next AS, due to the weather the race organizer weren’t able to set up AS-2. Thankfully some awesome people from Durango Running Company made it to AS-2 with some supplies, they were great. After some climbing and some nice technical down hills I arrived to AS-3, fully stoked.
As I left AS-3 there was a bit of climbing, but then it was mostly downhill to AS-4. My crew was waiting for me at mile 36, as I arrived to AS-4 Jason Gruss and my wife had everything I needed for the next 13 miles of never ending climbs. To AS-5 it was a long way, specially due to the long climbing, my crew made sure I fueled just right for this next section. It felt like it was never going to end, but the views kept me alive, and waiting to see more. As I reached the top of the climb I saw a couple of runners that automatically gave me hope to keep digging deeper, it was cold and windy, I got on survival mode and ran downhill as fast as I could before the sunset, I was able to spot another runner and his pacer so my goal was to catch up to them, but they were far. As I ran down the icy, and rocky trail it was getting darker and I had no head lamp. I made it to AS-5 as soon as the sunset, and I also caught up to the other runner. Luckily Ludi left a drop bag with a head lamp for me. I grabbed my headlamp, chugged a Ensure drink and headed towards AS-6 mile 55. Right before getting to aid station 6 I saw a head lamp heading towards me and to my delight it was Ludi. She came running and cheering you are in 3rd place, but I knew 4th was right behind me and she glanced back and said let’s move. As we ran into aid station 6, Ludi didn’t let me stop she grabbed everything and we left before 4th place arrived.had a sip of water a ques. After AS-6 I thought it was going to be all down hill but the RD made a change to the course and there was a super incline climb, Ludi help me dig deep, she kept saying you are strong you got this keep moving. I climbed and ran for my life. It felt as if 4th was breathing down my back.. I would look back and see head lamps in the switchbacks. Ludi kept saying don’t look back keep moving forward he is right behind us. We ran hard and eventually made it to the Finish placing 3rd overall.
Thanks to an Amazing wife that always believes in me, super thankful to have Jason Gruss be part of this journey, amazing volunteers and RD. This was a very demanding race, also the most scenic race I ever experienced in my life . For those considering running this race make sure you have some altitude experience, mountaineering knowledge you will have to pay attention the entire time so you don’t go off course, all runners must use a GPS tracker for the entire race, you don’t want to get lost, it could be life threatening. Thank you Megan Finnesy ,Volunteers and amazing photographer Howie Stern for amazing pics!