We had 19 pretty brave starters, ready to try the (possibly novel) Last Person Standing orienteering format, organized by a brand new club. Seen from the back side of the scorer's table, the event was a tremendous amount of fun:
For the next incarnation of this event, we'll need a new venue. (I'm happy with the Ouray Amphitheater map, but it can now go on to serve other purposes).
We have several prospective areas. We're also ready to help any other clubs who want to put on a similar event. We've even heard from a group in Finland that wants to organize one!
If you haven't already seen it, Patrick Corrigan's Strava entry is a great place to get some insight into the strategies involved. Patrick earned the title of Last Person Standing after a 20 hour battle with his Assist, Jason Poole. A Last Person Standing always needs a strong Assist to reach something close to their race-day potential.
By the time the race reached the last full hour of darkness, Jason had exhausted most of the easier courses and was forced to take one gamble or another. He opted for the Potato Peeler, a physically tough route up steep bare rock, but perhaps a reasonable one to navigate in the dark. Unfortunately, Jason returned 3 minutes and 15 seconds past the hour, ending the contest in the Blue division. Both runners had pushed hard for their Blue division result, and neither one was interested in continuing on in Brown for fun.
Our Last Woman Standing (blue division) was Danelle Ballengee. What a privilege to have her attend our race. She seems to have nailed the planning phase, coming up with a course order that enabled her to get 14 consecutive courses under the hour limit, and a 15th one over.
For a relatively new orienteer, Christina Dennison has made amazing strides, not only picking up some orienteering skills, but locally recruiting and instructing a bunch more novice orienteers. Christina ended up completing 16 courses in the brown division (the most of any woman). She and her husband Justin tackled their first ever advanced course during this event—at night! And followed it up the next hour with another nightime foray onto an advanced course.
Jieyi Zhou made an impressive push to complete 11 courses under the limit and a twelfth over, rarely having more than a few minutes to rest between courses. Lia Engelsted also completed twelve courses total, and new orienteer Jen Wold ten.
JP Lande helped push the top two blues into the night, with 16 consecutive sub-hour courses for third in the Blue division.
Second Brown, on the other hand, was Terry Williams, who persisted through the night to accumulate 19 courses total.
Three runners took a long break during the night but returned in the morning to improve their totals: Lia Engelsted (12 courses), Ryan Wold (10 courses), and Daphne Quint (6 courses)
More thanks to:
The same weekend our race was underway, a new world record was being set in Germany
For the second year in a row, Tallyn Sherman finished a Yard with seconds to spare and went face down on the ground with a new distance PR (41.67 miles this time)
Longstriding Jake Epp smashed his distance PR as well, stepping all the way from 50 miles to 120.83 miles, unofficially completing his final Yard about 32 minutes over the time limit.
Several runners completed their final Yards only a few seconds over the limit. In our book, that's also an admirable way to end your race!
To all the runners, crews, and volunteers. Hope to see you all again soon!
The Sneffels Round is a serious undertaking that requires considerable research and scouting, so I wasn't too surprised when no runners materialized on the day of the challenge. Ginny agreed to crew for me, so I decided that I might as well give it a go. I knew the route, I had a tracker on loan from Charles Johnston, and I probably wouldn't get another opportunity like this in future years. There is a lot of interest in this challenge, even if no one is really ready for it quite yet, so in future years, I would be working as support, not out there trekking.
I started at 4:00 am, and eventually reached 10 control points in the next 22 hours and 31 minutes:
The weather was more or less benign (well, -ish), with some drizzle and some fierce winds. Both are fairly normal for this time of year.
Surprisingly, the trickiest spot for me was descending off the top of Sneffels after dark. I thought I knew the top of Sneffels pretty well, but retracing my steps in the dark wasn't as simple as I thought. None of my familiar landmarks were apparent.
Compass indicated I was heading south when it should have been east. Of course, I should have checked the compass at the summit, not a hundred vertical feet lower down in the wrong direction. I've made similar mistakes elsewhere at night. Mental note to remember this next time I'm in a similar situation.
I had a smaller issue coming off of Gilpin. There is a faint trail that crosses a rockfield on the west side of the summit pile. I couldn't find it in the dark, even though I had just been up it. I had no doubt which direction to go (northwest to a divergence of ridges), but it would be a lot slower without the trail. I later determined that I must have been about 30 meters below the ideal line, but from that vantage, the trail simply isn't visible.
I had already decided not to tackle Emma in the dark, since it is optional anyway, so headed for Checkpoint 1 and met Ginny.
After a couple hours sleep, I realized that my lungs and feet weren't going to be terribly fond of another day of this. Plus, it seemed like a long ways to the next support point. All in all, I was happy to end things there. My main goal for the summer had been to establish a viable route for the course as a whole, and I remain satisfied that's been proven.
Thanks to all the runners for surviving the many storms this year! Four of you bailed off the middle of the course and I'm certain that was the right decision for the conditions you were personally facing.
Special thanks to all the volunteers this year: Sharon Kuhn, Rex Winterbottom, Jouelle LaForme, and Allie LaForme. In addition, a lot of crew and dropped runners effectively became extra volunteers during the run.
We have a new course record by Luke Gangi-Wellman, whose time of 13:51 shaved 19 minutes off of Christof Teuscher's previous mark. Not bad for your first ever running event on what was arguably a slightly slower course!
For next year's event, we'll probably tweak the course a bit more, maybe give some of you that haven't seen Bear and Sultan yet a chance to do so.
It's most likely that our future free events, including Cappis, will require club membership to help cover insurance and stuff. This should be a fairly small cost, around $15-$18 per household per year. For that, you can enter any number of our free events (including the Sneffels Round), and receive a discount on fee-based events.
P.S.: The reason you can't find the 2021 results on Ultrasignup is because they no longer allow us to load results for events with less than 10 finishers. We have a workaround for next year.