Two weekends ago (Labor Day weekend) I ran the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse, a gorgeous 40-mile jaunt from downtown Crested Butte to downtown Aspen. The route takes you up a gentle valley full of sloping ranchland, climbs steadily over the top of Star Pass and Taylor Park, and rolls you across the exposed back of Richmond Ridge before dropping you straight down the front side of Aspen Mountain for a quad-trashing finish. This year, the course was beautiful and misty, if a bit messy - it had been pouring rain for about 3 solid days before the race, right on up to about 30 minutes before the start, which made a lot of the course soupy and muddy. Even so, the views from the course were absolutely incredible.
The one photo I didn't capture and wish I had was the "Aspen - 15 miles" sign just beyond Taylor Pass - seeing that right after hitting the marathon mark was definitely a dark point in the race for me. It's never fun to get a reminder of exactly how far you have left when you've just finished a big climb.
This race is the summer offshoot of a relatively well-known winter ski mountaineering race, and it's only the second year it's been around. Even so, it's a super impressive event, and definitely one I'll be back to do again!
Also, fun to run into @euromeg at the finish as she was picking up her bib for the MTB leg back to Crested Butte the next day. This is the third race we've run into each other at this summer.
Strava trace is at https://www.strava.com/activities/387407976
/cc @sether - thanks for the intel from your spin on the mountain bike portion of this one last year!