After spending a week in Colorado Springs at my parent’s house, we started the best part of our six month trip by heading west. In February, we spent ten days in Moab. We decided that we hadn’t seen enough in February and another stop was needed. Once we arrived we realized it wasn’t going to be as quiet as it was the last time so we headed to the La Sal Mountains through Castle Valley. This gave me a chance to explore an area of Moab that we had never seen. We made a trip into Arches, one afternoon, to explore the Fiery Furnace. What an experience! We had so much fun climbing through the canyons and challenging our climbing skills. We did have one scare when Malachi decided to take his own route and almost fell down a twenty foot slot canyon. After the scare, he was pretty shaken up for about an hour but quickly recovered and was once again pushing his limits. We also spent a day in Canyonlands at Upheaval Dome. I ran most of the primitive trail that afternoon but it left me wanting to see more of what Canyonlands has to offer. It seems like when I spend time in Moab it always leaves me wanting more.
We left Moab after spending six nights and headed north to Montana. We made a quick stop in Lava Hot Springs, ID for some much needed soaking time in the hot pools. My legs had been feeling pretty tired from the training but after a few hours in the pool I felt much better. Lava Hot Springs had so many great areas to run and I really enjoyed the next morning’s run. We arrived in Missoula and spent a few days at my sister’s house. Missoula was awesome and the trails in the area were some of the best I had seen in a while. They have a great outdoor community and I now know why they have such great runners. We then traveled to Helena in order to recon the course for the upcoming La Sportiva Mountain Cup race. After looking for a place to camp for a few hours we decided to stay off Rimini Rd just a short drive outside of Helena. I spent three days on the course getting to know the trails before we headed up to Glacier NP. Glacier was awesome even though most of the trails and roads were still snowed in. We ran up to Avalanche Lake and Mt Brown Lookout while we were there. Even though we didn’t get to see much of the park this has to be one of the best NP in the country and we are already planning a trip back sometime in the next few years.
After spending a few days in Glacier we headed back to Helena for the Don’t Fence Me In 30k. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after running 200 miles over the previous two weeks and not really giving myself a long enough taper. On the first climb my legs felt flat and I was a little worried it would be a long race. I decided to just run my own race and settled into fourth place behind Mike Wolfe, Jace Nye and Jason Schlarb. I moved into second place on the first downhill and could see Mike just under a minute ahead of me at the 11k aid station. By the next aid station, at 19k, people on the course were telling me Mike was between a minute and a minute and a half ahead of me. I was pretty excited about the update because I figured the last 11k of the race suited me well due to the flat and downhill sections. The next climb wasn’t marked at all and I lost a minute or so due to a wrong turn. After the wrong turn, Jeremy Wolf and Jace were less than a half minute behind after not seeing them since the 11k aid station. I used the flat ridge section to gain a little bit of time on both before the last climb up Helena Mountain. I ran the last downhill easier because I never saw Mike over the last section and didn’t want destroy my legs with the next cup race two weeks away. I finished second overall six minutes behind Mike. I was happy with my race but I am still unsure how I lost so much time to Mike over the last section. I plan to work on pushing myself harder towards the end of a race after losing so much time to Mike. The race was well organized and run on some great single track around Helena. I plan on coming back again next year because of the great experience.
We spent two more nights in Helena so I could do a long run the day after the race and then headed back to Missoula for another night at my sister’s house. The original plan was to head to Washington to explore the Rainier area but changed them because we wanted to see more of Glacier NP. We are now camping at Hungry Horse Reservoir for the next eight nights so we can explore Glacier a bit more.