Race: Coldwater Rumble 20 mile
Runner: Erica Kollen
Race Date: 01/14/2023
Location: Goodyear AZ, Estrella Mountains
Results: 4:35 6th in age group
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
The event was Aravaipa run, so it was very well organized and the trail markings were fantastic. The camaraderie on the course was very nice, everyone cheering each other on, on this very challenging course. It was nice having 30 min between each race category, so no big crowds on the trail at any time. I also liked the shape of the route..lol.. No out and backs. Large loop.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
The course is a 20 mile loop. All start clockwise. The 100 mile and 52 mile categories change loop direction each time. I ran the 20 mile. So at mile 13, the elite of the 100 and 52 were now running into my direction. The trail was very narrow and rocky, so we needed to move off to the side, many times, to allow the elite to pass. It was hard for me to get my groove back! There was a 3 mile section (mile 12.5-15.5) that was nothing but thick beach sand, which caused some cramping. There wasn’t a whole lot of trail where you could run without the challenge of lots of boulders, sand, or going up/down steep washes.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
There was on spot on the race, only this one, where there were huge chunks of quartz rock. Looked like heaps of snow! I thought I was hallucinating seeing it from a distance. I wish I had taken a photo.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
As much as I hated the challenge, I loved the challenge. It was, by far, the most technical race I have done and I felt so proud when I finished. I had signed up for this last minute. I couldn’t sleep, so was on instagram and saw aravaipa post it is the last night to sign up online for this race. I asked my coach and he said to go for it, so I did! Aravaipa caters to vegan runners, offering chickpea salad sandwiches, vegan quesadillas, amongst many other choices. I met some new friends out there and enjoyed the after party/beer garden/music.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
I am not even near far from being elite..haha. My recommendation for someone who wants to finish this without too much injury would be to train running in sand, thick sand. I had never done that and got bad foot cramps. WEAR GAITERS to avoid the sand piling in your shoes. No need to carry a whole lot of fuel on this one. No super long distances between aid stations (3.4-7miles) Hiking poles will only add extra weight to your pack.. there is no area where they would come in handy. This is a cupless event, so you need to carry your own cup if you want gnarly fuel/electrolyte drink at aid stations. Aravaipa sells collapsable cups.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I’m learning to pace myself better. As my coach, Tom Scott, said. “If I don’t feel I could run up this hill at mile 20, don’t try to run up it at mile 1”, power hiking is so beneficial and saved me on this one.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Just be prepared for very steep climbs/descents, sand, narrow trails and very rocky terrain in many areas. Saying that though, the AZ desert is beautiful, but I recommend, if you are a beginner or clumsy, only look up if standing still…
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
The AZ mountains are beautiful. Lots of cacti and this route offered quartz rock, which the estrellas are known for.
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
This is a very tough course, which even the elite agree. I am very glad I did it, but can’t say I’d do it again.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
Aravaipa races are always so well organized. This year, they had a lot of volunteers cancel and were in need of help at aid stations, which was difficult to get due to the expected rain. They still managed to keep it all together.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
Not sure how to answer this. It doesn’t feel like anyone is really competing with anyone, other than themselves. But those placing in top 5 may feel different.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Very easy to register, as I did last minute, but gets very expensive the longer you wait. And, the later you register, you are not guaranteed a race shirt.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
As mentioned earlier, lots of food at all aid stations. Gnarly Fuel H20 and electrolyte drink, as well as soda/water.
Weather and typical race conditions
You never know what you will get in AZ. This year was perfect. 46 at start, high of 50’s. I heard one year was in high 80’s. The 100 milers unfortunately had rain overnight.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
No spectators on course.
How’s the Swag?
Nice T shirt this year and wine tumbler looking glass mug for finishers. The elite get buckles and trophies, I believe.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
This was not my favorite race. I give 5 stars to aravaipa, but 2-3 for this course.