We had a huge weather system pass into the area just in time to totally mess with this year's event. At 9:30 it was pouring rain, lightening flashing all over the valley. We really had no choice but to put off the start from 10 PM to midnight, just hoping that we would even be able to start then!
At around 11:00 PM things looked much better. The rain had stopped and there were even some faint stars thowing through an unsettled night sky.
The two hours between the planned start time and the actual start were nervous and uncertain. Lots of milling around, staring at internet satellite images and scratching chins. It had already been determined that two sections of the course including some of the best singletrack would have to be cut in order to accomodate the later start and uncertain conditions. Lots of us--probably all--were contemplating the practicality of doing the event at all even if it went off. However, all but two of the registered riders did start in the spirit of wait-and-see.
During the first climb to the Colorado Trail, lightning flashed silently on the horizon. Most of us knew that there was another cell in the storm west of us. We all knew it was likely that the conditions we started in could be just a break in the harsh rocky mountain weather.
Then about 3/4 of the way up, it began to rain. Spotty at first, then stronger. Some stopped to put on rain gear, others just turned around and called it a night.
For myself, I just decided to keep going until I got uncomfortable. I was soaking wet from wearing too much clothing from the start. But I wasn't cold. The rain that came down wasn't making me any wetter than I already was. Then it stopped raining again.
When I reached the Colorado Trail I was one of the final riders. Lots of folks were hanging out with the timers and sweep riders. I learned later that half the field had dropped by Aid Station 1. Many dropped without starting the first section of singletrack.
For those of us who decided to wait and see, it wound up being a really great event. 19 of 38 starters finished. Only two riders abandoned after Aid Station 1. And it was a spectacularly beautiful day. The cold snap seemed to have brought autumn to the mountains. Lots of aspen turned, especially above 10,000 feet, and there was fresh snow on the high peaks visible at dawn.
Image created with TopoFusion
The shortened course was 109.68 miles. And there was still 18,200 ft of climbing.
Josh Tostado was the first to complete this recreational group ride. He rolled in at 10:43 AM, 90 minutes in front of Jason Stubbe, who is an incredibly strong rider and veteran of many vapor trail 125s.
Eszter Horanyi was the first woman to finish at 1:14, tied for 4th place overall, an amazing effort!
The complete results are at http://vaportrail125.com/vaporResults.php
Great event this year. My thanks goes out to all the participants and volunteers. Thanks, and hopefully we'll see you next year!