Race: Collegiate Peaks 25M

Runner: Matt Urbanski

Race Date: 05/04/2019

Location: Buena Vista, CO

Results: 4th OA, 3:11:58

Strava Activity Link: https://www.strava.com/activities/2342429741/overview

collegiate peaks 25 mile

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Beautiful. I love running in the mountains. The route was mostly on wide, smooth dirt paths – some of my favorite running b/c it’s on dirt, but I can still look around without worrying about falling!
  2. Low key chill event. Registration was easy and we showed up on race morning to get the bib and shirt. It was all simple and easy.
  3. Fast. The course had some nice climbs and descents, but for an early season mountain race it was smooth, fast, and runnable.

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this race. All good!

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The start! I was standing around at the line talking with friends when in the periphery I hear someone talking not so loudly about “ready…set..” and I was like “oh crap!” I hadn’t turned on my watch/GPS yet, and then boom! time to go! The start was so low key that I was off running before I knew what was going on! 🙂

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

  • I was able to run steady strong the entire race. I’ve gone out too hard in some races the past year and had tired body/legs in the later miles. This race, I managed it well and was able to push well the entire time. I never red-lined it but I was in the zone and working it the entire 3+ hours.
  • I fueled and hydrated well. I ate a few gels and had my one water bottle and that was just the right amount to carry me through.
  • While I would have loved to finish higher in the race, I ran to my current abilities. I’m happy I didn’t feel wrecked at the end either. I finished, I walked around to find my Dad, and then within a few minutes we were on our way home to the family! = good all around day!

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

  • Minimal single track/technical trail. There are some little sections and depending upon one’s perception of “technical” maybe there is more for some than others. But in general, the route is smooth and fast.
  • The climbs are generally gradual. There were a few short steep ups that most would want to hike, but in general, the grades were manageable. If you can run uphills, be ready for long grinder uphills! and smooth fun downhills!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

Keep working on my climbing skills. I lost ground on both climbs. I held back a bit to make sure I kept my legs and the three guys who beat me all pulled away going up. I’m happy with my winter training, but I wasn’t ready to hammer any hills at this point in the season.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

  • There is a creek to cross around mile 10. There was no getting around it and it was nearly knee deep. Not an issue for my race, but good to be mentally prepared for!
  • There are two big climbs and two big descents. There are little rollers throughout but the general trend is two up, two down. When you hit the top around mile 18, it’s nearly all downhill from there. I was happy to not be destroyed though at 18 b/c even though it was downhill to home, that was still a long while to be pushing aerobically to be running fast to the finish.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Gorgeous morning. It was crisp, cool, and clear! Buena Vista is a cute little town and by the end of the race it was sunny and a stunning day!

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Moderate. 3000′ of climbing in 25.7 miles. Not technical. At 8000’+ elevation for the entire race, getting above 9000′.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Well run! They’ve done this before. They keep the atmosphere fun and chill and were really nice/appreciative that we were all out there running their race.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Strong runners! For a low key, early season event, I think it was solid comp.

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.

  • Easy. Didn’t have to sign up early.
  • Stayed in Leadville b/c we found better lodging for the family there. But next time, would look to stay in Buena Vista. Cute town that I’d like to spend more time in.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

I never stopped. They were all nice and encouraging though!

Weather and typical race conditions

Trails were dry. 40s at the start, warmed as we went. Sunny as the day went on.

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

Wore a singlet, shorts, calf sleeves, and gloves. Wore a waist belt with a 500mL soft flask. Standard. Didn’t need a bigger vest/pack.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really. Maybe you could have driven some dirt roads to find your runners but my Dad was told there was nowhere to see me and I didn’t really see others out cheering. My dad had a good time though walking the river and hitting up the local bakery while he waited for me!

How’s the Swag?

Nice tech shirt. Got a laminated paper with my results and some photos of the race for being 3rd in age group.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

5 out of 5! Really enjoyed the experience. Happy to get some early season mountain running under my belt. Highly recommend!

Matt Urbanski is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Matt, check out his coaching page.