8/27/2022 Sneffels Round results and splits, write-up
7/2/2022 John Cappis results, write-up
6/4/2022 Lost One Standing results, write-up
5/14/2022 Backyard Ultra results, write-up
Final Series Standings
Map, course description, results and splits
Celeste LaForme, Walter Handloser
Quite favorable on days 1, 3, and 4. Several hours of lightning, hail, rain, and snow on day 2.
Four runners braved the course, two solo runners and a team of two. The three groups had very different routes, approaches, and styles. Though no one finished the whole course, all four runners have a gone a long way towards proving that a finish is possible.
Ultrasignup results require a distance achieved for each runner. This event is about getting control points, not distance, but we were able to make a "distance" calculation proportional to the number of control points reached. The formula is 73.3 miles times the number of control points divided by 44 (which is a fairly typical number of control points needed for a full finish, depending on which combination of electives a runner chooses)
Kim Bessler and Brendan Hodge went in the reverse direction (cw) and were self-crewed from stationary vehicles parked in advance of their arrival. At times, they opted to skip certain peaks in order to reach their next vehicle with enough time to recuperate for the next day's effort.
Starting at 3:30 am on Saturday morning, they knocked off seven ranked peaks on the first day before resting at Crystal Lake.
On their second day, they tackled five ranked peaks, just about all of them in bad weather, hunkering down on "T 5" during a serious electrical storm. They capped the day by dropping down to the Virginius Mine, meeting Joseph shortly before he started the second phase of his own trek.
They summitted three ranked peaks on day 3, and with a stopover near the Bimetallist trailhead, two more on day 4.
All told, they reached 28 controls points, which is the highest official total of any of the runners. They did it with a huge, elegant loop, and in a relaxed, joyous style. Congratulations to you both!
Toshi came very, very close to an official finish. He started at 4:00 am in the standard direction (ccw), and a bit over 91 hours later, he had completed the bulk of the loop, but most of it unofficially. Coming off of Sneffels, both his primary lights failed, and he was reduced to using his phone as a third string light. He called for a pick up and was transported to Virginius Mine. Therefore, he did not get credit for reaching that point, and all of the subsequent points he reached were unofficial. Other than being unofficial, he lacked only two points, Virginius Mine and Gilpin Peak, that a full finish would require.
An amazing performance, considering that he hadn't seen any of the couse beforehand. He took a couple lines that might have saved a modest amount of time, but probably weren't worth the hazard or effort, such as long and strenuous chimney up the northeast face of Whitehouse Mountain, and non-standard routes both up and down Teakettle.
A 19-year old college student, Joseph took the earliest possible start, 12:01 am Saturday morning (standard direction), so that he could complete as much of the course as possible before having to return to classes during the week.
He took a direct line up the ridgeline to the summit of Corbett Ridge (a route he said he would probably not attempt to repeat). He threw in Angel Knob, not on the actual course, but a ranked peak nonetheless, one that a completionist like Joseph would find hard to pass up.
Coming off Gilpin Peak, Joseph attempted a direct connection to Mt Emma, but decided to bail off the ridge and head towards the Virginius Mine checkpoint. However, towards the very end of this long, dark trek, Joseph encountered a frustrating set of ledges that blocked further progress. There is a way through there, but it is very specific, and tough to find at night. We watched his light attempt various routes for a couple hours, but eventually he reported getting cold, so his father Nephi headed into the darkness to rendezvous with him and bring him into the checkpoint. As a result of receiving navigational assistance, he did not get credit for the Virginius Mine control point, and his subsequent points were unofficial.
Joseph rested the remainder of the night and most of the next day, which was stormy anyway. He resumed on Sunday night at 8:30 pm, and ended his trek at Crystal Lake at 9:20 am the next morning.
Map, course description, results
Jerry Castillo, Justin Dennison, Liz Haubert, Luke Hough, and Maria Sylte
Intermittent rain from midday through the end, some brief bouts of lightning but not on top of the runners
Thanks to all the runners and volunteers for an outstanding edition of the run! We had eighteen starters, seven finishers of the full 50k, a new men's record, and our first two women finishers ever.
On Friday, we expected that if the weather held, the men's record would be under threat and that we could have a woman finisher for the first time. We didn't expect two women finishers and for two men to take more than an hour off the previous mark. Congratulations to Hannah Green, Whiley Hall, Erik Sorenson, and Luke Gangi-Wellman.
Also finishing the full 50k were Chris Marcinek, Tyler Gault (fourth attempt!), and Dan Yeager.
It wasn't because the course was any easier. If anything, the reversed direction this year made for rougher and slower descents. We think it was just a strong field, good conditions on the ground, and a fair amount of luck with the weather.
Note that in 2019, if it hadn't been for the fact that Mineral Creek was not safely passable, we would have had at least a dozen finishers, maybe a score. The course and cutoff are beatable for a strong runner if everything goes well.
(And no, we don't see a need to make the course significantly harder just because people are figuring out how to finish it. We'll keep varying the course but keep the overall difficulty in the same neighborhood.)
Just a week after a sub-18 hour performance at Western States, Kyle Curtin toured two-thirds of the Cappis course in a more relaxed style.
Perhaps partly due to weather, three runners retreated from the heart of the course: Liz Canty from the upper end of Boulder Gulch, Ryan Wold from lower down in Boulder Gulch, and Scott Gilpin from Hancock Gulch.
Sergey Trudolyubov and Walter Handloser stopped at the second checkpoint.
Christina Dennison and Tina Ure also reached checkpoint 2 after skipping Bear Mountain.
Felix Ortega, Siva Rajaraman, and Allen Scarff had a great day, hitting two tough peaks and covering the first third of the course.
Several of you have already asked about next year. The big question is: Will the Animas River be low enough to ford again? If so, we can make a nice loop like we had this year, possibly counterclockwise. Otherwise, we can look for a more creative loop that does not require fording the river.
Either way, further tweaks are likely, such as adding and removing peaks, or finding more efficient lines. A few of your tracks look like they might actually represent improvements! We'll check them out!
We are out of things to say! Have a look at this incredible photo.
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!
9/4/2021 Backyard Ultra results
8/21/2021 The Sneffels Round report
6/19/2021 The John Cappis 50k results, write-up
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.