Friday, October 16, 2015

6th TeamUP Tour Stop: Xterra Mountain Championship in Bailey, Colorado

You will notice the long delay from the posted date of this blog entry and the actual event date about 8 weeks ago. Besides my oft-tendency to procrastinate there is indeed a valid reason why this post is late. After visiting Colorado to support Craig in this event I was waiting to include a report on the Xterra National Championships in Ogden, UT the following month at the end of September. Craig did well enough here in Colorado to qualify for the Nationals (a big accomplishment!) and so I was excited to eventually report on both events. Sadly, the day before Craig was to head to Utah for the National Championship he had an unfortunate accident in his home and suffered a severe head gash and concussion. Without knowing how quickly he would heal, or what ramifications this may have on his future racing goals, I waited to get a full report from Craig once he was back on the mend. Before I finish my account of the Bailey, CO race I am happy to report that Craig is now back on his feet and looking forward to Getting Back UP and on track for next year's goals. Here's the update directly from Craig:

 "I am very upset I missed my 1st Xterra USA Championship since I started racing Xterra in 2008. It is a race I look forward to each year and greatly anticipate. Missing the USA Championship prevented me from qualifying for the Xterra World Championship, which is another 1st I hoped I wouldn't reach. Although, I missed both big Xterra races this year, it leaves me even more determined to make them next year. Recovering from this minor head injury is still a challenge because of my previous MTBI ("mild traumatic brain injury"). I took a few days off and then started back to training keeping the weight low and length short. I am slowly coming back to training form and I am getting things moving again. I will start my off season a month early this year and hope it proves to benefit me greatly next season. My off season starts with more time at CrossFit, Fit, and in the gym lifting weights. I realized this year that I can be very hard on other people coming back from injuries and struggling with disabilities. I've always referenced the saying: "No Excuses!" I tell them to get back up and get going. You only live once and you're wasting time "not doing." So, after a few days off to get my balance back, I am in the gym struggling to get my nerves and muscles working again. I wake up and don't want to move. I sit there drinking coffee and think about taking a day off, but I know that if I don't get up and get moving the next day will be even harder."      --Craig Vogtsberger

Craig, we are all rooting for you! Your perseverance, strength and determination inspires and motivates me greatly and I have adopted your "No Excuses!" mantra throughout my own recovery this year. 

Teaming UP with Co-captain, Craig Vogtsberger:
Xterra Mountain Championship Triathlon, Bailey, CO

Friday, August 21st:

This will be an extremely quick trip for Jim and I. We flew in late last night and will leave tomorrow after cheering on Craig at the Buffalo Creek races. We began the day with our free hotel breakfast before Jim set out to meet with one of his distributors here in Denver. 

Yogurt, Mexican Eggs, Pineapple and Coffee...what more could a girl want (for free)?

I booked this Highlands Ranch-area room at
the Residence Inn via Priceline and got a great deal which included
free parking, internet and breakfast. I would recommend this to
anyone needing to stay in this area.
I worked in the room for a few hours this morning and when Jim got back from his meetings we took the opportunity to get a long run in. It's not often that we aren't running during a TeamUP Tour stop, usually we'd be completing a Half Marathon or Marathon, so we're making our own run today.

Thanks to our hotel concierge we found this fabulous trail about 4 blocks from the hotel.

It's hard to tell how steep some of the climbs were on the trail
but in this shot we celebrated getting to the top of a tough little climb.

We crossed 2 or 3 creeks along the trail, a beautiful little oasis here within an otherwise
concrete-jungle surrounding us on all sides.

Suns up, thumbs up! 12 miles and we're done.

This is the trail we ran along, but it wasn't long enough to
make it a 12-mile run so we ran along the adjacent sidewalks to- and
from- the trailheads. 

So enough about Jim and's a good time to tell you more about my teammate and co-captain, Craig Vogtsberger. I'll start by sharing this newspaper article about him which will run on Thursday (after the interview I had with the paper right after our 12-miler). Special thanks to Highlands Ranch Herald reporter Taryn Walker for this article and for sharing the Get Back UP Today website info with her readers:

To learn more about Craig please read his detailed and powerful story here:

After the run and the interview with Taryn, Jim and I set out for an early supper. We will have to leave our hotel by 5:00am in the morning to make it to Buffalo Creek in Bailey, CO in time to see Craig start the triathlon so an early meal is perfect.

We saw what looked to be an interesting spot on our way to the West Fork Trail this afternoon. Jim looked it up online and confirmed that it would have both Beth- and Jim-friendly items:

The place is called Beso Tapas and Wine Bar and although these photos look dark, the sun outside was shining bright and high in the sky still at 5PM. The restaurant itself is just purposefully lighted and decorated to achieve an ambiance both cozy and refined.

I started with the special salad-of-the-day called the Super Food Salad. Mixed kale and other
leafy greens were accompanied by red and golden beets, walnuts, sunflower seeds, white sweet
potatoes and a delicious light tahini dressing.

Jim had a kale salad with red beets and feta cheese...I was shocked when he actually
ordered KALE and BEETS on his own! I must be wearing him down...

Both of us were members of the Clean Plate Club for our salads.

Next we had to try their most popular hot appetizer, the fried avocado, stuffed
with red onions, tomatoes, goat cheese, sriracha and moy poy...YUM!

Next, the owner of the restaurant surprised us with a dish of
amazingly-delicious sautéed mushrooms.

My entree was a perfectly grilled filet of wild alaskan coho salmon with asparagus and pan-roasted
Brussels favorites all on one plate!

Jim had the Arepas with chicken, manchego, pickled red onion, salsa fresco stuffed between two
housemade corn cakes.

I was stuffed by now but Jim made a point of reminding me how far he ran today and
thus opted for a dessert to finish the night. I made my guess as to what he would order
(it turned out that I was right)...can you guess which one he chose?

The sunshine was sneaking in from the windows at the front
of Besos so Jim had fun playing around while waiting for his dessert.

When Jim was told that Beso is Spanish for "kiss" he
couldn't resist one more scene as dessert arrived.

Did you guess correctly? He ordered the divinely-delectable S'mores Pinxtos with homemade chocolate
fudge, marshmallow, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and graham cracker crumbles. How did I know it was
so tasty? That's right, I stole one from him. Totally worth it!!!

My mouth is watering just remembering how good these were.
Saturday, August 22nd: RACE DAY!!!

We were out of the hotel by 5:05AM on what promises to be a beautiful day here in Colorado. We're estimating it will take us about an hour or a little more to get to the race site southwest of Denver. I had to go online to find directions and info about this event since it's a new one for me. (In case you want to read all about it here's the link:!xterra-buffalo-creek/c1kjq)

Here's what I read as far as directions, and there's a reason I'm sharing this with you:

Okay, so I calculate where I am in relation to I-70 West and add those miles...then add the 5.7 miles and the 28.1 miles and finally the 8.8 miles. Assuming we're gonna average about 60mph until leaving US-285 and then probably 25-30MPH along Wellington Lake Rd I've come up with a little over an hour total. "JUST IN CASE...",  I always like to allow for extra time so that's why I made Jim get up and out so early today. More on this later...

Car's dashboard documents the time and temp in the Denver area as we make our
way onto far so good.

Half an hour later, do you notice the 14-degree temperature drop as we head higher in elevation?

With only about 10 miles left to go we've made good time and decide to stop for coffee as the sun starts to rise. By the time we got our java it was 6:45am, still plenty of time left to get to the race before the 8:00am start.

As beautiful as this area of Bailey, CO is, we didn't realize that the last 8 miles down to Buffalo Creek weren't paved.
This is a shot of the good stretch of that 8 miles, but it got steep and rugged shortly hereafter and my little rental car was
NOT a 4 wheel drive. It took us over 40 minutes to make our way through the rough hairpin turns--good thing we started out
early! (At least we had coffee for the ride, but we ended up wearing some of it)

A beautiful morning.

Yay, we made it! For the record, to get here you have to ascend up the peaks around the lake before descending again
into the basin. The scenery was well worth the trek in...I just hope the rental car survives the drive back out.

Said one Xterra triathlete to another: "I don't have to outrun the bears, I just have to outrun you."

Cell phones weren't working here at Buffalo Creek so it took us about 30 minutes to find
Craig. Here he is suiting up for the first leg of the race, the 1500m swim in cold Lake Wellington.

So glad to see you again, Craig. Good luck today!!

While Craig was finishing his pre-race routine here in the Without Limits transition area,
Jim and I took time to enjoy the scenery before Craig's wave entered the water.
Scenery shots of Lake Wellington and Buffalo Creek park:

Final pre-race announcements before the Xterra Mountain Championship begins.

Wave 1 is off and swimming!

Wave 2...

And Wave 3 is off. We weren't sure if Craig was in this one or not, all the swimmers look the same once they're
in the water.
Craig told us that he'd take about 30 minutes to finish the swim so we moved over to the transition area and waited just outside of it for him to reach the exit area en route to the 22-mile mountain bike stage.

Here he is, and almost 30 minutes on the dot from his swim start. The athletes were ordered
to walk their bikes out of the transition area and couldn't mount up until they passed this
orange (TeamUP!) marker. Go, Craig, go!

He's off and riding now. He said the hilly bike stage should take him about 2 hours so we had
some time to kill. I hope he's quick because the morning chill is gone from the air and the
temps will be climbing to 80 degrees today. That shouldn't hurt too much on the bike but
it's not gonna be fun for the run.

My little Chevy Sonic rental car has been a real trooper so far...hope she holds up for the return terrain!

Life is good.

Beach time for Jim.
After 2 hours we went back over to our spot to watch Craig come back to the transition area after the bike ride. All the riders looked dusty and hot, must've been a heckuva trail ride...

Here he is, dismounting with the aid of his Allard Blue Rocker!

So exciting to watch him speed to the end of the bike stage... he's running straight into transition to don his trail shoes and backup Blue Rocker...

He's off and running now, complete with a "thumbs up" as he passes Jim and me. Go,
Craig, go--you've got this 5-mile hill run!!

If you didn't see his brace you'd never guess that he deals with so many physical
challenges. As a runner myself (and former triathlete) I notice how great his form is, clearly
he spends a lot of time working on technique and it shows. I'm so impressed with how
great an athlete he is--with or without a disability!
And now for the big finish...

Craig's in BEAST MODE, sprinting to the finish line here.

Congratulations, Craig--you're a rock star!

I can't believe he's all smiles so soon after finishing today's long race. Well, yes I can,
he's Craig and his attitude is always incredible.

He adds his name to the selection of TeamUP co-captains (and a few celebrities) on our
2015 sign. From all my travel you can see that the sign is getting tattered around the edges
but I'm determined to keep it until all the co-captains have had their chance to sign
matter how long it takes!

All smiles once again!

Craig takes 1st place in his division, qualifying him for the National Championships next
month in Ogden, Utah. Woo-hooooooo!

The Bling.
Finish Time
Overall :114 / 151
Gender :90 / 110
Categ :
Race No :189
CategoryPhys Chall
CityHighlands Ranch
Overall :65
Gender :54
Categ :1
Overall :100
Gender :80
Categ :1
Overall :139
Gender :105
Categ :1
Split Name
Time From Prev Leg
O Pos
C Pos
G Pos
Penalty Time

We walked Craig back to his car before saying our goodbyes. Thank you for your commitment
to serve, Craig, and for showing us all how to Get Back UP and find real inner strength in the
face of adversity...and beyond.

This guy's my hero!

Thumbs UP for TeamUP...

What a great day! And Craig, what a great performance out here today...
WELL DONE, my friend!!!!! So glad I was here to watch in person.

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