So my 1st Ragnar is in the books. I was a part of a great 8-person team that took part in the Ragnar Trail Race through the mountains and trails of Snowmass Colorado. Our team arrived the Thursday before & those of us that had not met got to get to know each other over some good old fashioned carb loading..nomnomnom.
I have seen Ragnar vans for the road races in San Diego before. There the teams drop off the runner while the rest of the team is in the van & meets them at the next point & there the next person hops out & the fun continues to the end point.
Aside from this being different terrain, all of the trails intersected at the start/finish line.
There were three loops: Yellow -3.5 miles, Green – 4 miles & Red – 6.7 Miles. Red was labeled the hardest, Yellow the Intermediate & Green the “easiest”. Note the quote marks around green. The map is below so it can give you an idea about the routes. Notice the elevation levels below. If you can’t clearly see it, you can look at the PDF here..
It was of course convenient that the rest of the team could stay in one place while someone was running. There were alot of vendors there selling things and also handing out free stuff. Nuun was generously providing water spiked with their yummy hydration pills & they were also for sale too. Coffee was on hand at most hours of the day & there was even some ice cream sandwiches that were perfect after the loops were over or in between if you wanted to risk pigging out on ice cream sandwiches in between the loops. (I chose to pig out after)
The Loops: Yellow, Green & Red
Okay so the nitty grity – the loops themselves. Below I have a picture of how the order was on each 8 person team, but first a review of the loops in the order that I did them…
Yellow: It had some steady incline pretty quickly and in many sections it was just more efficient to power-walk up them and get back to running when the trail flattened up a bit. Once you got to the highest point of the loop the decline was pretty drastic in some sections and some short rolling hills. Some of the decline was almost like bobsledding, it curved and went down at the same time.
Green: Remember my quotes? Okay I was not the only one that was not a fan of this loop. I think more than anything it was the expectation that since this loop was to be the easiest it would be, yes, surprise easy. It was horrible or ridiculously difficult, it was a bit tricky as there was not a straightforward up & down as there was on the Yellow. Not as much bobsledding as in the Yellow, just a bit flatter in some points. I ran this one at night. That was interesting. Running with a headlamp is one thing on flat land. But running downhill is another ballgame. Your depth perception is all off. I had to back off a bit when running down hill & about a mile into the loop I got turned around for just a couple feet and found the markers again. Whew. But I didn’t like this dang loop haha. Talking with other participants I was not the only one. But keep in mind how much you may like a trail is all subjective & the fact that you push through the run for your team is what it is about.
Red: Out of all of the loops this was was my favorite. Yes it was the hardest, but you were rewarded for your hard work. Again, efficiency is key & power-walking up steep points or just to take a break before running again is a good idea. The view from the top was G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S.
The Order of Runners
I didn’t really understand the order until the actual day & we started. I was #2. So I did my runs in a gradual order. Other people as you will see have different orders. I really liked mine as I eased into the lengths. Now what is not on the picture below is the time we ran. A veteran to Ragnar understands this. Someone is always running from the start of the team running to the last leg. My first leg was early afternoon, then around 10 in the evening & last around 5:30 in the morning. Eating in between to fuel for the next run is important. Sleep was interesting, some people in our team slept more/better than others. I was of the other kind – that didn’t really sleep much. But we all pushed through it & slept soooo good after the race was over in a bed.
Obviously the weather plays a part in a run or race. It was largely a cloudless sky during Ragnar. So that meant chilly & beautiful night star filled skies…and very sunny & warm days. Overall I can’t really complain about the times I ran and the weather. It was warm & sunny during the Yellow loop..but I was glad my Red loop was early in the morning. The sun was really beating down on my teammates that ran it during the day. They did well & pushed through it but still it was not the most comfortable run I am sure.
Where our team called home for about 25 hours & on the right the larger picture of the campsite. We had a large tent & 3 smaller ones.
Overall Thoughts About My First Ragnar
The staff, volunteers, First Aid Tent & the vendors that were working the event were all awesome. The event was well organized and for the most point with a few exceptions the setup, flow and order of the event was really impressive. It was cool meeting other people participating in the race & I even chatted with a few during it when we were scaling some steeper points. The trails are not to easy, not too hard, juuuust right. I heard that last year there was a good amount of rain, which I can only imagine how difficult and dangerous it made trails with a substantial drop off not far away from some points.
I would definitely say that picking or choosing a good team could make or break one’s Ragnar. The team I was on was perfect. Everybody wanted to do their best, didn’t give anybody grief about their times, cheered everyone on & didn’t take Ragnar too seriously. Thanks to my girlfriend who I probably would not even have done this race if it was not for her roping me in not soon after I met her last year!
I probably could have trained more for this but I felt as if I did well. I beat my estimated times & finished strong each time. No altitude sickness, and I was not too gassed (not enough to stop in my tracks) going up the hills.
Now the last question is if I would do this one again. Hmm, err. That I am not sure about. I did enjoy it but it was quite grinding. That Red loop was a perfect end to my runs. Such a beautiful view. I can’t say it enough. So absolutely no regrets… stay tuned!
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