2017 TransRockies 6-Day Stage Race by Brian Tinder

November 3, 2017

About the Contributor: Brian Tinder is an ultra trail runner, skier, biker, mountaineer, husband, and father of three girls. Brian loves the outdoors and is constantly seeking new adventures that will push him to his limits. Brian recently raced in the 2017 TransRockies Run and wrote about this year’s experience for us.

Written by Brian Tinder

Race or mancation? I love racing and everything about competition. When Kahtoola gave me the opportunity to go back to the TransRockies Run (TRR) for my 4th time, I couldn’t wait to toe the line against some very good trail runners from around the world.

Training leading up to it was far from normal. My landscape company has never been busier, I am coming back from an injury last year, and we recently had our third daughter. I don’t have a training plan because I run when and how life allows me. The legs were feeling good, and I had put in a couple of decent mileage weeks, peeking around 80 miles and 15k feet of vertical. I felt even better about my nutrition and hydration plan. I had dialed in what my stomach likes during long runs and recently discovered Liquid I.V. as an amazing source of electrolyte absorption. The days I would drink 16oz of Liquid I.V. I didn’t feel parched and wouldn’t wake up with dry mouth like I normally do.

I needed a mancation and so when my good friends Caleb Schiff and Rivers Puzey wanted to travel and hotel together I was stoked. There is not words to describe how much I love my wife and three daughters but a man needs his time every once in a while and this was going to be it.

 

Day 1 at TRR is a long and typically hot day. It is smart to hold back and relax the first day, but no one does. I did. Knowing it was going to be another hot day I drank my 16oz of Liquid I.V. when I woke. When the gun went off and the guys around me started sprinting towards the finish line 22 miles away I smiled and jogged on. I was so proud of myself for this. typically I get caught in the vortex of front runners or at times create the vortex. Not this day. I felt so good the entire 22 miles, changing up my pace and enjoying seeing some of the other runners pain that I wasn’t experiencing. My slowest finishing time yet and I was stoked. I told myself the rest of week was mine.

That evening was awesome chilling around the campfire with Rivs, Caleb, a few other Flagstaff runners, and a ton of new friends. It was going to be an awesome week!

Day 2 is a shorter day but hard climb over Hope Pass. When the gun went off I was ready but my legs were not. I felt great but the legs wouldn’t go faster. GRRR!! I couldn’t understand why? The thought that they would start moving fast kept going through my head. I wasn’t bonking or feeling bad, just didn’t have pop in my legs. It was tough to watch Mike Popejoy summit first, many switchbacks above and 15 minutes ahead of me. With many good runners between us and a long race ahead for the week, at that moment I decided this week wasn’t going to be a race for me but truly the mancation I needed instead.

 

Day 3 was a low point in the middle of the run. Not a bonk or injury but just an emotional let go. Being a father, husband, and business owner I feel I don’t express my emotions as much as I probably should. I try not to be too emotional about life’s obstacles and haven’t cried in years. 13 miles in and out of almost nowhere the floodgates opened. I started weeping. It felt great but right then I realized how much I love and miss my family. As runners passed I kept my sunglasses on and noises contained. When my dear friend Magda Boulet came up she knew I was in a rough place and was the right person at that moment to run with. She knows my wife and family and was sympathetic to my feelings at the moment. She truly cheered me up. We ran it in together having fun hunting down the next runners. That night was the beer mile and I ran a Colorado personal best of 10:30 ish, blowing chunks at most of the beer stops.  The rest of the week I did what I do best and have a good time making sure everyone else around me is as well. Athletes can easily get caught up in the mindset that nothing matters but the race. Not at TRR, not this week. With a different mindset for me I set out to get to know more people and build on the old friendships there. That’s what TRR is all about. TRR 2013 I became friends with 2 Frenchmen that were my competition and since then we have visited each other multiple times in each others country.

Putting the body on cruise control doesn’t make it an easy running week. There are still tons of miles each day (averaging 18 per day) and loads of vertical (20,000 feet). I ran when I felt like it or to carry the conversation with anybody willing, and walked when the scenery was too much. Having typically been competitive at TRR I hadn’t took time to look around much when going over the mountain passes and peaks. It’s amazing! Single track trails going through high tundra fields of wildflowers. Views of the Rocky Mountains in every direction as far you can see. Life changing! Running slow, and having dialed in my nutrition intake I had never felt better. I am so thankful to have discovered Liquid I.V. I drink it daily even if I am not running as it helps me absorb fluids more quickly and easily.

It was so good spending the week with Caleb. He didn’t have the week he wanted either but we made the best of our mancation together. Getting back and hugging and kissing my girls was the best! I love my family.

@briantinder