One might be inclined to think that the TransRockies Run is just about racing along the beautiful roads and trails of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and, of course, to a degree it is. However, there is so much more to the TransRockies Run than high country racing, and that is precisely what places this race into its own category of ultrarunning. To absorb and envelope oneself into the TRR camp culture is to truly experience the race.

It’s, at this point, quite obvious that the TRR is a 6-day stage running race. Between each stage, runners sleep overnight in a roving camp located roughly at the finish line of one day’s stage/starting line of the next day’s stage. For 5 nights, an enormous troop of TRR staff and volunteers build, maintain, disassemble, and move the huge camp housing about 170 athletes and said staff and volunteers. The camp contains everything that athletes need to survive and thrive through the week, including a post-race recovery aid station, water, tents, gear transport and storage trucks, a food/awards ceremony tent, breakfast and dinner buffets, a shower facility, porta-potties, a medical team, massage therapists, and a lot of wide open space for lounging and recovery. With the exception of the for-charge massage therapy, all of this included in the TRR’s registration price. The camps were obscenely luxurious, even from a camping stand point!

This is the Vail Camp, accommodations for the night between Stages 5 and 6. Athlete, staff, and volunteer tents line the foreground, while the rest of camp looms in the background. Bring your earplugs!

Here’s another photo of the Vail Camp. The large white tent in the background is the food/awards ceremony tent. It should also be noted that athletes opting for a bit more luxury can, for an additional charge, sleep in rented RV’s instead of tents. One such RV is in the background of this photo.

Here is the shower facility, a mobile trailer that gets hooked to and carried off each morning by a tractor containing 14 hot water showers (Men on the left, women on the right.). There’s also a fold-out sink facility with hot water and mirrors. I’ve never seen anything like this before, but it was truly awesome!

Here is the finish line for Stage 4/starting line for Stage 5, located in the heart of Red Cliff, a tiny mountain village.

My daily schedule at TRR went something like this:

6 am- Alarm goes off and I awake to the noise of an already bustling camp (What are people doing out there so early?). Eat breakfast at the food tent. The indulgent breakfast included various combinations of eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, pancakes, bagels, muffins, pastries, oatmeal, coffee, milk, and etceteras. Did I mention coffee?

7 am- Attempt and finally succeed at stuffing all of one’s earthly possessions into a gear bag for transport to the next camp. Prepare water bottles/packs for the day’s race.

7:45 am- Check-in at starting line. Chat with other runners and shiver in a gorgeous high altitude morning. Dance with Leslie to starting line music.

8 am- Race!

The whole afternoon, and sometimes the late morning- Cross the finish line smiling! Rehydrate and buffet upon the bountiful recovery foods at the finish line. Find a cold creek for a leg soak and chat with other runners about the day’s course. Eat more snacks. Drink more liquids. Take a perfect, hot, 5 minute shower in the shower trailer. Eat and drink more. Get a 30 minute massage. Sit around chatting, stretching, eating, and drinking with other athletes. Perhaps take a short jaunt into a nearby town for a treat.

5 pm- Eat dinner #1 in the food tent. Dinners varied widely from buffets of pastas, to lasagnas, meat and rice dishes, taco bars, potatoes and lots of accompaniments including salad, bread, cookies, brownies, iced tea, and lemonade. Chat with other runners.

6 pm- Eat dinner #2 in the food tent. Continue chatting with other runners.

7 pm- Daily award ceremony in the tent wherein stage winners are prized and overall leaders are honored. The purveyance of schwag at the award ceremony is ridiculous. Some days, every single runner gets geared up with sponsor goods. Other days, selected folks are alloted selected sponsor gear. Additionally, the awards given for making the podium during the various stages are so generous! Leslie and I each won a pair of Salomon shoes for our podium finish on Stage 5. Get briefed on the next day’s course and watch photo and video highlights of the day.

8 pm- Chat with other runners. Meander back to the tent to chat with Leslie and hang out.

10 pm- Sleep!

I’m not gonna lie, one of my favorite parts of TRR was the camp social experience. First of all, the camp was a collection of beautiful people, with crazy athletes wandering around everywhere. Second, everyone was incredibly friendly, approachable, and down-to-earth regardless of how freaking fast (or not) they were. Finally, we together formed a collection of true running geeks, a created community wherein members could talk running to their heart’s farthest content. Seriously good fun. Here is the collection of just a few of the many (There were so many of you!) folks with whom I reconnected or met and hope to be friends with for a long, long time. Sorry y’all, you might be stuck with me, and thanks for the great companionship at TRR!

Keith “Let’s Hug It Out!” Brodsky (Leslie’s lovely husband and self-established manslave)

Leslie “Have You Seen My Arse Today?” Gerein

Bryon “Half Trail Runner, Half Lawyer, Half Media Geek (Check out the outfit above if you think I’m kidding.)” Powell

Matt “Where’s my iPhone? Wait, who are you again?” Hart

Sean “Did I Tell You I Puked Today?” Meissner

Tanya “Six-Pack Abs” Meeth and Glenn “I’m Always Smiling” Meeth


21 Responses to “TransRockies Run Report Part 2: The Camp Experience”

  1. Leslie's Keith says:

    OK…You get to be the first to know that on my trail run today I talked my favorite running companion into the TRR for 2009, and the long road, (or should I say “Trail”?) begins! (Leslie’s turn to be cheerleader/womanslave!)

    Thanks for the motivation!



  2. Trail Goat says:

    I shouldn’t even try to explain away that picture should I?

  3. Meghan says:

    Keith- Wait, WHAT? You’re kidding?! No, I know you’re not. Oh what a fun journey you’re going to have in this next year! Congrats on making such a crazy, amibitious decision!

    Bryon- I’ll explain. Bryon was wearing his sunglasses indoors because their prescription and Leslie and I would look to him like horses without them. He’s sportin’ the lawyer shirt for skin protection from the blazing high altitude sun. He’s wearing his running shorts long after the race ended because he was going to leg soak yet again in the frigid creek down the street from the bar. There you go, Bryon, is that better?

  4. Trail Goat says:

    Excellent work, Meghan. Spot on! I think the only details you left out are (1) I had left my regular prescription glasses in camp (and was too lazy/busy/amused to go get them) and (2) that my legs were slathered in massage oil, hence my reluctance to put street shorts over my running shorts as I’d normally do. πŸ™‚

  5. Sunshine Girl says:

    Dearest Meghan:

    Please be advised that this is not some ‘impulsive, “crazy, ambitious” act’…but a well thought out plan I have been obsessing about while driving thousands of miles home with my 2 ultra running companions…quietly obsessing, but obsessing none the less…

    It can be done!

    Just think, you training in a self made bathroom sauna for the Marathon Des Sables, me running snow covered frozen mountains to get winter miles in…now it’s my turn to get Leslie for company and motivation!


  6. Sunshine Girl says:

    THAT WASN’T ME, that was my obsessive compulsive hubby. Who seems to be keen on entering a long silly race! Go Keith!

    Love the pic of Bryon looking so studly….Grrrrrrr… in running shorts and dress shirts!!

  7. Trail Goat says:

    “men in running shorts and dress shirts” – it’s a very underutilized ensemble!

  8. olga says:

    Of course it’s all for social chit-chat, why else do we do it???

  9. Journey to a Centum says:

    Meissner always pukes. He’s got projectile vomiting down to a science. It’s expected, like Leslie and her butt flashes.

    Sounds like a beautiful, very fun, enjoyable time.

  10. Backofpack says:

    Wow! What a race! Looks like wayyy tooo muchhhh funnnn!

  11. Danni says:

    Sounds like a worthy vacation. I’m totally intrigued by this but have always sort of wondered if I could justify the week of vacation time for running. But it sounds vacationy.

  12. Sunshine Girl says:

    Like I said, it’s Summer Camp for Runners! It’s awesome. You run. You relax. You socialize. You eat. You repeat. Siiiiiiiiiigh.

  13. Meghan says:

    Happy weekending, all! May your travels go far and long!

    Bryon- I didn’t know about the massage oil element. That explains sooooo much more! Since your massage therapist was so foot focused, I’m surprised you had oil on your legs! πŸ™‚

    Keith (via Leslie)- Don’t worry, I am in full support of your TransRockies endeavorings! While I do believe it to be an ambitious goal, I also believe you 113% capable of reaching it! Hugs!

    Leslie- I’m lovin’ that pic, too! More than that, I was lovin’ that day hanging out in Mangos! Hugs to you as well!

    Bryon- I will have to promote this look among other runners since it’s so underutilized!

    Olga- Yes, the social chit chat reigns near the top of the list. As do things like running fast, enjoying gorgeous scenery, making pretty muscles, and burning off last night’s dessert. πŸ˜‰

    Eric- I can’t wait for Sean to show up and join the vomiting chatter. I’m sure he’s got something to say. πŸ™‚

    Michelle- It was and you could do it, too! You would love this event!

    Danni- Definitely vacationy. Lots of hard work, but lots of easy fun. I was tired when I got home, though! πŸ˜‰

    Leslie- Siiiiiigh. When’s the next camp?

  14. Trail Goat says:

    I’m so exhausted…. it took more than a day to get the foot massage comment. Wow!

    And no need to promote my look… if the masses sport it, then I won’t be so outstandingly cool anymore.

  15. Leslie's Keith says:

    G’Morning Meghan!

    Happy Weekending to you too..! Leslie’s off to play support girl for the Moose Mountain Race (and give Holly a big hug from all of us)..and I’ll wave to you from the top of Mount Royal in Montreal tomorrow on my morning run…

    Bryon…I’m taking my dress shirt..


  16. Trail Goat says:

    Way to rock the dress shirt! Be sure to give all the ladies a huge for me.

  17. saschasdad says:

    First of all Barnes, you ain’t seen projectile vomitting until you’ve seen Fatboy projetile vomit. Now that, my friend, is the real stuff!

    Now, I don’t puke in every race, nor in every stage of a stage race. But usually if I don’t puke, then I at least get a bloody nose. However, there was no puking in the 5k xc race on Thursday, nor was there any puking today at McKenzie River 50k.

    Now seeing Goat in his shorty short shorts and a lame attorney dress shirt is almost enough to make me puke.

  18. Meghan says:

    Oh this is getting good. Popcorn anyone?

    Bryon- You were probably still remembering that massage, and that’s why you missed the comment.

    Keith- Now you’re wearing the dress shirt, too? Lookout, fashion trend forming… Have a great run!

    Bryon- Hug for me, too? Please? πŸ˜› Hah!

    Sean- A left hook thrown at Bryon! Let’s see what happens next!

    I don’t know about you, but this comment conversation is fun!

    Hugs to you all!

  19. saschasdad says:

    Um, Bryon said “Be sure to give all the ladies a huge for me”. Uh, what exactly is a huge? I think this is a family-friendly forum here (and apparently it’s good for alliterations).

    Extra butter for the Goatboy on his popcorn!

  20. Trail Goat says:

    Meissner wins by TKO. Bryon lays silent on the mat. (No, not on the Matt, that’s all Sean.)

  21. JeffO says:

    OMG, I’ve been running and working overtime and got suddenly far behind on blogging. I’ve missed out!
    Awesome PtII, Meghan.
    Now, why do people complain about my vomit descriptions? If I had more time, I’d count the number of times, vomit, puke, or hurl shows up in this one post.
    Here’s hoping it tastes better the 2nd time!

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