Red Rocks 50: The Dropdown Was The Upgrade

"I don't drink Lite Beer, decaf coffee, or shoot blanks"…RD Luis Escobar prior to the Red Rocks 50 free-for all.
Red Rocks 50's first 12mi out n back was like taking Salma Hayek out on a date and getting an ice cream cone. The next section was where she rips off her human face revealing a ravenous crocodile.

The third section down to Romero Cyn turnaround is where she eats you. Slowly. And thats what I avoided when I took the late downgrade to the fat-n-girthy 36mi “50k” at Mile 23.

We all started with good intentions etc, and gradually the more-talented pulled rapidly away from me. No bullshit story from the Late Halogen Epoch was gonna keep them down on the farm once they’d seen Hokas.

I didn't have the game needed that day. Period. More on that, in a bit.


Patrick Sweeney administering an esoteric oath. Interpreter: Mr Trail Safety, for the beer-impaired.
Photo by Nancy Kaplan, don't hold it against her.
The Dirtbaggers held their usual Beer Mile, and it was astonishing to see people pounding down cans of whatever swill and bust out the mile. I totally leave that to the experts. No doubt it helped many the next day. They all passed me too. 


The half-marathon, full M, 50-mile, and the newly added 50k/36mi Dropdown assembled in the near-freezing dark. All of you from latitudes north of anywhere will snort, but it was a brisk 33F in that grove. RD Luis Escobar appeared in full running regalia with a shotgun. I'm sure the newby half-marathoners wondered WTF was going on, but that's the biz at at a Luis event. 

Mad props to the halfers who were curious enough to drive all the way to hell and gone in the SB back country for their first trail event. But just to calm them, the first mile was on curated asphalt.

The shotgun had already gone off, and the shivering bolted down the road. I was drafting in the wake of heat and vaporizing estrogen, but kept my Gristle Visions To Myself.


On the long approach up the Forbush Trail to Camino Cielo I had time to crunch the numbers. It wasn’t looking bright n shiny. Despite what Lisa said about keeping happy thoughts, I was a heartless estate appraiser. I’d missed the Camino Cielo [23mi/noon] cutoff. Then I was behind cutoffs for getting down to Romero [31mi/2pm]. I’d miss the return thru Camino Cielo [39mi/4pm]. I would be out in the dark, freezing my geezer ass off. Fuck that shit.

I turned around, nosing forward into a brisk breeze, anticipating a semi-daylight finish. This was a delightful change from the incendiary summertime experiences I’d had here. And I had time to think about all of it.


I hove back into the Gibraltar Dam[17/45] Aid Station, ably captained by Micah “218-KOI” White. Micah is all business and low-key hilarity, with his lovely wife, and Ben and Alexander as his Very Tall Assistants. Paused there while Micah and I recited from Ancestor Scroll of Ultra-Memory, punctuated by fart-jokes and such.

“You guys ever hear how Micah came to be called 218-KOI?” Of course not, too late now. 

A long time back, Micah had brought home two teeny koi from Walmart in a plastic bag for his young daughters. Turned out they were boy and girl. They grew, and the tanks got bigger. then one day, the koi took over. They exiled Micah & family from the house, waterproofed it, and ran up a $3,000 water bill when they turned the house into a 3-bedroom swim thru aquarium. Then when they’d mate, the male would slam the female to the bottom, to release the eggs, causing the house timbers to flex alarmingly.

Ben looked thoughtful at this. “I tried that once, didn’t seem to work…”

Sometimes chocolates and flowers have the same effect. In any event, one fine day, Micah and the Koi had The Conversation. They were moving. The van pulled away, and the Koi angrily thumped the sides of the house as the girls stared wide-eyed from the family car.


Putting the final touches on my SKT Special Day, I lurched across the finish line, passed by 50-mile finishers with way more talent. That’s what 5mph looks like from the 3mph cheap-seats. Crista Scott trapped all the horror with a GoPro as the temperatures continued their merry plunge to 32F. I was over-under-done, and very happy to be done with all this. 

I got to meet a lot of really nice people, some of whom I'd only been pen-pals with on social-media. Its embarassing to be recognized by name and I'm grinning thinking "fuck me, what's your name again?"

Now it was back to the campsite, knocking all that down before total darkness, and thence to the delights of Chinese in Santa Barbara, awash in pots of tea. Otherwise it’d have been a cold and skanky night in a tent trying to warm up in a pile of sleeping bags.

But that’s another story altogether.


Because you don't give a fuck.
36.9 mi SKT Times To Greatness

Red Rocks Fat n Girthy 50k. Out n back Left, Out n back Right.


Calf Man said…
good one: That’s what 5mph looks like from the 3mph cheap-seats

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