This past Saturday, we went up and cheered at the Leadville Trail 100. One of our running friends just so happens to be a professional runner - went to the Olympics in Sydney, has won the Denver Rock 'N' Roll Marathon ... he's good. He's currently on the ultra scene, running for Mizuno (and helped design the shoe he runs in).
In any case, he was running Leadville and was gunning for the win after coming in third last year. It was Brandon's birthday, but both Mike and his wife Nic wanted us up there ... so we went. After getting in a swim/lift and gambling a bit, though.
We missed him on his way back through Twin Lakes, but caught up to him at the Outward Bound aid station. While waiting for him to come through, we met and talked to two of his pacers - Andrew Letherby and Patrick Rizzo.
(Nic's in stripes, Mike's in black)
Mike was in second place at that point and was a little out of it, but doing okay.
After Outward Bound, we headed to May Queen (by Turquoise Lake - BEAUTIFUL area) to wait for him to come through. We chatted more with Rizzo - dude's hilarious - and celebrated Brandon's birthday with a bit of cake.
We also sang to him, embarrassing him horribly. Payback for my birthday.
We saw leader Rob Krar come through and then Ian Sharman ... and then Mike right behind him in third.
Mike in black; Letherby in blue; Rizzo in gray.
From that point on, the next time we'd see him would be at the finish.
We moved on back to town to grab dinner, getting periodic text updates from Nic as well as our friend Mitch who'd been up there for a few days. We had a general idea of when the clear winner, Krar, was coming in so we made it down to the finish for that.
Krar, with the second-fastest time in course history.
After he finished, we were able to meet up and talk with a few more of our friends that had come up to cheer Mike on. Then, about 30 minutes after Krar crossed, along came Mike, solidly in second place. We found out later that Mike had the fastest split ever from May Queen to the finish - fastest by about eight minutes.
Ghostly looking Mike - stupid camera.
Although he didn't win, I think he finally found redemption on that course from the few previous times he'd run it.
It was awesome to watch and awesome to spectate ... but it is also something I am NOT interested in ever doing. At least for a good looooong while.
I leave you with this photo of Mike talking to ... somebody ... mainly because Rizzo's face? Is hysterical.