Dusty toes and beautiful trails

Team “Nature’s Bakery”

Trail Ragnar 2015

 What’s better than running beautiful trails at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Area in the summer time? Doing it with 7 other awesome runners! If you’ve never run a Trail Ragnar, the short version goes something like this: meet new friends, hang out with old ones, get dirty, get sweaty, eat snacks, watch the sunset, try to sleep in a smelly/dusty tent, get rolled off your sleeping pad by your husband, roast marshmallows at midnight, watch running movies on a big screen, drink beer, eat more snacks, explore new trails, run with your girls, and pack up and go home.

Long version goes a little more like this:

We got into camp with lots of time to pick a campsite, close to the food and water, flat ground, and mostly….close to the potties (but not downwind of ’em). Camp was on a dirt lot, so when the wind kicked up, so did the dust. But luckily Nature’s Bakery provided us with a shade structure, we just needed to make sure it was tied down nice and secure. We had a good mix of old friends and new acquaintances that would become new friends, husbands, boyfriends, wives that visited us (and brought a replenishment of snacks!), and visitors that stopped by to check out the scene! Ragnar consists of 8 runners, 3 loops, and everyone gets to run each loop one time.

 

Things were going smoothly, the boys were fast, and the girls were in tutus, nothing could stop us! I headed out for the first loop, one tough climb up to an amazing ridgeline with beautiful views of Sugar Bowl, Donner, and the whole valley. Followed by a sweet single track into a sandy climb and a wood-chipped double track that made for some interesting running. One of our team mates was coming from work and was stuck in traffic, so rockstar Kaycee ran back to back legs so we didn’t get all out of order, way to go Kaycee! All that training for the 72 payin’ off! Don’t worry, Tom showed up a bit later and we squared up the legs at the end….but that’s to come later.

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Dinner was provided by Ragnar, pasta and salad….mmmm, a runners delight! Then more running, more amazing views, more sweaty socks, you know the drill! Second loop in, heading into dusk with a short loop, hooray! A short climb up with a sweet sweeping technical single track to make it back to camp in the dark. At least once the sun set the wind died down, so that was pretty fantastic, the stillness of the night and the beautiful stars is one of my favorite things about Trail Ragnars. We laced our camp up with glow sticks (since we forgot to bring a lantern of sorts), and settled in with stories, tales, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, and beers.

Nighttime is always the toughest part of Ragnar, not enough time to really sleep, so you strategically try to nap between your runs. Which usually works out fine unless your husband rolls you off your sleeping pad in the middle of your nap…..all is forgiven, I just stole Tom’s sleeping pad and bag…sorry Tom. It was time to get up anyway, lace up the shoes for the final loop wishing that it was daylight, but glad it at least started in the dark. The big climb was definitely more forgiving knowing that I didn’t know where the top was instead of being able to see that the trail just kept going up and up and up and up. But when I did hit the ridgeline I did wish that there was some daylight, I bet the views were amazing! Suddenly the sounds of a sleeping something big are heard from the side of the trail, and I’m PRAYING that it is a sleepy runner, but fearing it is a sleeping bear, so I boogie across the ridgeline and down back to camp AS FAST AS MY LEGS WOULD TAKE ME!

Back to camp, we start to realize….uh oh, there is one leg still unaccounted for, who’s going to run it? Well the problem with having a team filled with awesome, super nice, super generous people is that everyone is willing to do it, “as long as no one else wants it”. So it goes around like this for a while until it is suggested that maybe the girls could all 3 of us go run it, and the boys can pack up camp while we’re gone. DEAL! So we all lace up, put the tutus back on and head out to do the last leg together.

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Remember that climb I didn’t want to know about, well I guess it wasn’t as bad as I though, plus I got to see the views at the top, yay! Some silliness at the top and we head back down to camp.

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 True to their word, those boys had packed camp while we were running and they even had beers waiting for us at the finish line, good job guys! Now lets take out team photo, get our awesome utilitarian medals and blow this popsicle stand! Thank you so much Nature’s Bakery  for the awesome time, the Fig Bar snacks, and most of all the shade structure!!

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