Results - 20th annual Turquoise Lake 20 mile Snowshoe Run
Leadville, CO 1/03/09
22-14 degrees F. 0-12” new snow, 0-10” slush on lake, 5-20mph winds
|17||James||Breyfogle||28||Rio Rancho, NM||4:42:42|
Thanks for coming to the 20th annual Turquoise Lake 20 mile Snowshoe run.
The event, which is likely the oldest continuously held snowshoe race in the United States, has persevered for two decades, and many older athletes produced some historic efforts as well.
Overall winner Travis Macy of Golden, while only 25 years old, is a seasoned snowshoer whose experience belies his age. Travis was a multiple event winner at the Colorado State High School snowshoe championships over a decade ago, and continues to be a top adventure racer today.
Women’s winner Colleen Ihnken of Alma is 45 and returned to the event to capture her first victory.
Sixty year old Pat Tolleson of Westminster became the first female finisher over 60 years old to complete the event. Seventy year old Carl Koecher of Salida became the first male over 70 to finish.
Sixty three year old Kurt Blumberg of Gold Hill smashed the previous 60 and over best time with an outstanding 4:30:18 finish. Athletes over 50 grabbed a third of the top 3 places for men and women overall.
This experience was necessary to persist through some of the worst and most challenging conditions ever during the first lake ice crossing. Snowshoers were fighting blizzard conditions and a strong headwind at 18 degrees in the middle of the lake when they encountered numerous sections of deep slushy overflow water on top of the base ice. There were about 4 longer sections of slush up to 50 yards long that had to be negotiated. There was no way to avoid the icy water which at times was 10 inches deep. It soaked shoes, socks and feet; resulting in ice buildup on snowshoes and tripping some so that their upper bodies and clothing were wet also. The slush slowed even the best to a shoe sucking crawl. Some sections of slush were topped by hard ice up to a half inch thick, whose jagged edges poked into ankles and feet when snowshoers tried to lift out of the slush to take another step.
Once this was negotiated, the remaining 18 miles with over 2600’ of climbing at temperatures down to 14 degrees somehow seemed easier.
Forty three of the original fifty nine starters were able to officially finish the full distance in less than the 7 hour cutoff. Three snowshoers finished just over the 7 hour time limit, and a handful completed the course unofficially on snowshoes that did not meet the minimum size requirement of 8” wide by 25” long. Thanks go out to those of you that were able to evacuate yourselves under your own power.
The event received tremendous support from Lake County Search and Rescue volunteers organized by Dan Houtchens. These hardy individuals staffed the aid stations, and used the day as a training exercise to test equipment, gear and themselves in winter conditions. The support and enthusiasm Dan has shown for this event was outstanding, and has gone a long way to ensure its continued existence. Consider a stay at his B&B, the Leadville Inn.
Other supporters included Melanzana Clothing, Hammer Nutrition, Black Diamond Equipment and a number of other key volunteers and workers. These people included Geoff and Sandee Miller and Carl Koecher, who spent a day helping us set trail. Jon MacManus, Dan McDonald and Rickie Redland helped with registration, timing and/or clean up. Keith Wilken helped with timing and gear transport. We could not do this without the support of hosts Scott Hirst and Susan Koerner. Also Edith and Don Seppi and Sugar Loafin’ campground.
The event is conducted as a true non-profit venture by the Chaffee County Running Club which is a group promoting running in Chaffee and surrounding counties.
The event will continue thanks to new interest and support, especially from Melissa, who did a lot of driving, trail setting and other work. Her support is instrumental for this event. She ran a strong race to finish just over the 7 hour time limit.
You might consider participating in some other events we are involved with. The Lake county Recreation Dept is bringing back a version of the Off-Track Off-Beat Snowshoe race in Feb.
You and your participation support, understanding and thanks are the main reason that the TL 20 mile snowshoe will continue. This event started out as a training run I used to do, and I liked it so much I thought I would share the experience with others. That decision has made this all challenging, rewarding and interesting…so much so that I will continue to invite good people like you and others along in the future.