Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Ragnar Trail Colorado Race Report

 Article by Jeff Valliere

Article by Jeff Valliere

RTR Editor Sam and I were invited to the Ragnar Trail Colorado relay race in Snowmass, Colorado, held on June 11th and 12th. We were guests of Outside PR, with our participation sponsored by Outside PR, New Holland Brewing, Hoka and Camelback.

I had heard of Ragnar events before and always imagined point to point road races and a moving caravan, so the trail format here was new to me.  Instead of the point to point format that I was more familiar with, the Ragnar Snowmass Trail event consisted of 3 separate race courses, all originating from a central village, complete with start/finish tent, glamping tent area, food trucks, beer tents, fire pits, music, etc…..

Everything was extremely well organized and from the best I could tell, was run flawlessly by the organization, very professional, but with a fun and laid back, relaxed, social vibe.  It was so amazing to get back together with real, live, actual people after 14+ months of relative isolation.  Of course the race organization required that participants be vaccinated and everything felt relatively normal.

The three courses, totallng 15.1 miles, consisted of a 3.8 mile route with 568 feet of vertical, a 4.6 mile route with 472 feet of vertical and then a 6.7 mile loop with1,135 of vertical according to my Garmin 6S Pro.  Each route had some pavement or cement path, but usually short lived and leading to singletrack trail.  All of the trails were exceptionally smooth and fast, with the uphills being moderate enough to maintain a steady running pace, while the downhills were swoopy and fast, with bermed corners (trails are open to bikes), allowing one to maintain most of their momentum through the switchbacks.  

Hoka was kind enough to provide each of us a pair of their latest trail rockets, the Zinal, coming July (RTR Review). It was the perfect shoe for this race , with an impeccable combination of light weight, response, cushion, versatile low profile outsole and secure, breathable upper.

Ragnar is a completely different experience from the races that I have participated in previously, which have been solo affairs, where everyone is a bit more serious and focused.  

Ragnar however, while you can take it as serious or not serious as you would like, is really more about teamwork and camaraderie, social interaction, planning the order of who runs what leg when and timing and predicting finish times, so that the next person is ready and waiting to go on time (which I mistakenly once was not, costing our team one minute and 30 seconds).

I cannot say enough great things about my team, every person was so much fun to be around and helped make this such a memorable event, from my great friend Sam, to my friend Brian (who was also team captain and was wizard like in his team scheduling skills), to the new friends I met and hope to cross paths one day.  While none of us took the event too seriously, we all put in solid runs on our run legs and we ended up 18th out of ~125 teams (even though on two separate occasions, our team twice assisted injured runners in need out on the course).

Outside PR and New Holland Brewing were amazing hosts, with Emily, Alice and Adam, all performing double duty of hosting us, catering to our needs and even running themselves.  

Our team were given a choice of glamping in the village, or staying at the Limelight Hotel in Snowmass Village. Those of us travelling with our families opted for a room at the Limelight Hotel where my wife and 10 year old twin daughters had an amazing time at the pool/hot tub, exploring the local sights, dining, concerts and events.

And of course I cannot conclude without mentioning the gourmet, four course farm to table by Chef Kyle Mendenhall (of Boulder) we were treated to on race evening, with fresh shucked oysters from Maine (a first for me), local greens salad, Colorado lamb and olive oil cake, with each course paired with a specially selected  beer from New Holland Brewing.  

I do not drink beer, but everybody raved about how fantastic it was and how well each selection complimented the meal.

If anyone is considering a Ragnar event, I would highly recommend it!

Some tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content
The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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