1997 Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon
Grants, New Mexico
Race start: 9:00 AM
Forecast: sunny skies with a high of 50 degrees.
670 participants from fourteen different states
First discipline, 13-mile bike ride from 6,400 feet to
8,300 feet -- gain of 1900 feet:
I pre-rode part of the bike course the day before to get
a "feel" for the race. The mass start allowed
drafting and the first four miles were relatively flat as
around four hundred people formed a long snake. The first
climb came at mile four and my triathlete friend Bobo Anderson
and I decided to make a break. I broke first and looked
back about thirty seconds later. I see Bobo waving me on
so I made a little surge.
There were two racers that I for sure knew would be tough
in this race. They were four-time defending champion, Dan
Nielson, from Avon, Colorado and 1997 World Duathlete Champion
in the 20-24 age group, Andy Bruckner, from Boulder. I wanted
to get a lead because I knew they excelled in the Winter
sports that came later. On top of that, I didn't know who
else might be lurking in the race. After all, it was the
first time both Andy and I have competed in this race.
I maintained a lead of about twenty seconds with a pack
of eight riders behind me. At mile 10, the hill got steeper
and I was able to have a 1:20 lead over the spread out pack.
I didn't totally exert myself during the bike, as I knew
the race climbed for 4,700 feet. That's almost a mile straight
Five mile run from 8,300 feet to 10,100 feet -- gain of
The first two miles only had a slight upgrade. I was waiting
for Andy to catch me because I knew his running background
was excellent. He told me after the race he was second out
of the transition. Thankfully, he never caught me. After
mile two, things started to get ugly. The road became snow
packed and icy. The day before, I decided to put some screws
(studs) in my shoes to keep from slipping. The nine screws
around the outer soles helped in the slippage area, but
these small buggers were vibrating through my orthotics
and causing my feet to go numb. In addition, we had to make
up elevation from the first two miles being relatively flat.
Up, up, up and away.
I came into the run/x-country ski transition running scared.
There were about two hundred spectators who ran or snowshoed
up themselves just to see this transition. The volunteers
were great. As I was getting out of my running shoes, they
were lacing up my ski shoes.
X-Country ski two miles from 10,100 to 10,700 - gain of
As I left the transition, I heard cheering coming from
the crowd so someone else or others were finishing the run.
I knew I had at least a three-minute lead. For this segment,
skins were required on the bottom of the skis because there
was so much climbing. Skins are attached to the bottom of
the skis to prevent the skis from sliding backwards while
climbing. Right from the beginning, there was climbing.
I didn't think it would get steeper until I came out of
the trees and there in front of me was "Heartbreak
Hill." This was near the end of the climb and I was
getting exhausted. My head was pounding a little from the
altitude and effort. It was awesome knowing that all of
these participants would climb this hill and finish the
I timed the hill and it took 4:18, I looked back and saw
someone beginning the climb as I finished it. Just around
the corner I heard cheering from about 100 spectators who
snowshoed up to this next transition.
Page 1 | 2