Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bear Chase Trail Race

Sun. 29 Sep. 2013

This race almost did not happen. The floods that devastated much of the front range almost derailed this race. The original start was 40 ft. underwater. The good news is that the Bear Lake Reservoir was specifically designed to save the greater Denver area by holding the water from such a storm – and that’s exactly what it did. The race directors were able to re-route the races and make this thing happen.

The weather was perfect for race morning. I had a few minor equipment issues, but redundancy saved me. I threw in two pairs of running shoes. The first one (that I wanted to wear) was the left and right shoe from two different pairs. Fail. Then my Garmin Forerunner 205 battery finally failed. It just can not seem to hold a charge. But I had a second pair of running shoes and another watch.

Walking to the start from the bus

The park itself was closed to parking that morning. Instead you parked just to the west of 470 and took the bus to the start. This was fairly convenient and the bus ran every 10-15 minutes.

The center stage for the Bear Chase Races are the ultras – the 50k, 50-miler and 100k. These were scheduled for Saturday, but rains on Friday forced a delay while the trails dried out. So the ultras went off at 6:00 and 6:30 am. Then the half-marathon started at 7:00 am.

Start of the half-marathon

And finally my race, the “Baby Bear” 10k started at 7:30 am. We did two 5-k laps. The first file went out along the bike path for about a third of a mile before turning to the right onto single-track and into the rising sun. I went out in 5:50 but was quickly passed by four fast folks from Runner’s Roost.

Courtesy of

The second mile of the loop featured a water crossing which was easy to run through but a fun obstacle. The last part of the second mile and the third mile were mostly uphill and into the wind. This was my slowest mile each lap by a good 20 seconds.

Courtesy of
I finished in a solid 5th place. Was about a minute behind fourth but over two minutes ahead of sixth. While the course was about 30-40% pavement, it was still a beautiful and well-run trail race. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice intro to trail running at whatever distance you choose.

Another one in the books.
 I want to thank the Boulder Track Club for getting me to do this race. I also want to give thanks to the race organizers for all the hurdles they had to go through to put this race on. Finally, a big thanks to for providing free digital photos to the runners.

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