2015 Quad Rock Course and Race Updates

Dear Runners – barring sustained torrential rains between now and Saturday (in which case, the parks have reserved the right to cancel the event), we have been given the go-ahead from both park authorities to proceed with the race as planned. Given the amount of moisture we’ve received over the last three or four days, and with more in the forecast, we have had to make a number of changes to the course route in order to avoid causing undue damage to particularly sensitive trails, most notably the lower lying trails in the valley.

Here is the updated map. Click the image to download a printable PDF.

Quad Rock 2015 Re-Route

For those familiar with the trails, here are the particulars:

– From the Arthurs TH, we will be routing up the Mill Creek Link, connecting with Loggers in Horsetooth and dropping on Sawmill to Stout to rejoin the course for the usual Stout-Towers-Spring Creek section.
– At the Spring Creek 3-way junction, we will head right on the Soderberg service road to get to the Horsetooth aid station, rather than the regular route on the Falls trail.
– From there the route will remain the same to the top of Howard in Lory. At the top of the Howard climb (last one for 25 milers), runners will head left on Lory’s Westridge two-track trail taking the long way to Timber.
– The route will descend on Timber to Well Gulch, where runners will head right down the beautiful Well Gulch drainage to rejoin the park road into the finish.
– 50 milers will run the exact same route in reverse for their second loop.
– Aid station mileages remain exactly the same, with the exception that the final leg between Arthurs and the Finish will be approximately a half mile shorter.
– The route as described above is approximately 24.5 miles, with an additional 300 to 400 feet of climbing and descending versus the standard route.

The trails we are using have been chosen for the particular reason that they drain exceptionally well or are wide enough so as to not be in danger of excessive abuse. With that said, we do make the simple request that you absolutely avoid the temptation to run to the side, or outside of trails where there is heavy mud. Your feet are going to be wet on Saturday: embrace it, run through the mud and puddles, stay on the trail. The park managers have been exceptionally accommodating to allow us to continue as planned, so please do them this simple favor.

Other notes:

  • It’s going to be wet, plan kit accordingly. Bring dry, warm clothes to change into after you finish.
  • Please drive SLOWLY on the Lory service road when entering the park in the morning and leaving in the afternoon. Please, please, please look to carpool if you can.
  • There will be no water drop between Arthurs aid station and the finish, so please plan accordingly.
  • There will be no kids race this year.
  • A copy of the previous race communication, which came through incomplete for some, is available on the Gnar Gnews section of the website. This communication will also be posted there.
  • Elevation Tat will be providing free temporary tattoos of the elevation profile for pick up at Altitude Running with the rest of your packet on Friday afternoon. Bibs will still be distributed race morning. These are being provided courtesy of Presenting Sponsor, Altra Running.

As trying as these last couple of days have been for Pete, me and our partners at Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (Horsetooth Mountain Park) and Lory State Park, we’re still super excited for a fun day on Saturday. We look forward to seeing you.

Nick Clark & Pete Stevenson

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Final Quad Rock Race Instructions

With under a week to go until the fourth running of the Quad Rock25/50 Trail Races, some final thoughts and instructions:

Weather: The forecast for Saturday and pretty much the whole week leading up to the race is overcast with a chance of showers and/or thunderstorms. Current trail conditions are good, but that could change on lower sections of the course with significant rain. Our lines of communication are open with park managers and will remain so throughout the week. Should we need to organize a re-route then we have a number of contingency plans in place. We will keep you updated if significant course changes are required. Also keep an eye on the Gnar Runners Facebook page for additional updates. All final decisions are in the hands of park managers.

An optional packet pick up will be held at Altitude Running on Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Altitude is located at 150 East Harmony Road just north of the Harmony/College intersection on the south side of town. If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race gear to help smooth race day parking and sign in. Those of you that can’t pick up packets and shirts Friday afternoon can do so with your bibs in the morning.

Bib numbers will be distributed race morning beginning at 4:00 a.m until 5:20 a.m. Please keep bib numbers visible during the race and the pull tag at the bottom intact. We will be pulling 50 miler bib tags at the 25 mile turn and at the finish.

The race will begin at 5:30 a.m. sharp, so we recommend you give yourself plenty of time to park (up to a half mile away from check-in), get your bib, and do whatever it is you do to get ready to run 25/50 miles. There are park toilets at the Timber parking lot (first one to fill on right as you come in), at the top of the Soldier Canyon parking lot, at the bottom of the Soldier Canyon lot near the start, and at the South Eltuck trailhead at the far end of the spur road which overflow cars will be parked on. If you park near one of these locations, please use those facilities to smooth race morning flow. We will also have port-a-johns near the start/finish (always the longest line).

Parking passes will be distributed by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Lory Park will be open for parking at 4am. Carpools of two or more will be given priority parking close to the start at the Soldier Canyon trailhead. All others will be directed to the Timber trailhead parking area and down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Loop. Parking on Lodgepole will be on the right (east) side of the road. The earlier you get there, the closer to the start you’ll be parked. Directions and parking details here. If the park roads are muddy, PLEASE watch your speed to reduce impact.

Horsetooth and start/finish drop bags must be dropped off by 5:15 a.m. There will be a short pre-race briefing five minutes before the start. Bib numbers will be assigned on the Ultrasignup entrant list by Thursday if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish area by 5:00 pm. It is a 20 minute drive from Lory to Horsetooth if you need to pick up your drop bag before then.

Aid station fare is detailed here. VFuel gel will be served from bulk containers, so we recommend that you carry a 5oz flask (or similar) if you want to use aid station gels. We will also have dixie cups at the aid stations for gel ‘shooters’.

Boulder Beer will be providing Singletrack Ale and Buffalo Gold lager for the post-race BBQ. Runners will receive a meal ticket with their finisher mug. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and a brew will be available for $10 (cash). First beer is free for everyone, we then ask that you make a cash donation for additional beers. All proceeds will be donated to the Animal House Rescue along with race sponsorship funds from Countryside Animal Hospital.

Whole Foods Fort Collins will be providing a tasty quinoa salad to supplement the beer and BBQ fare. They’re also offering a chance to win $100 in free food: http://woobox.com/9tk4uw

Presenting sponsor Altra Running will be on hand after the race demo’ing their trail running line up. Check out your race bib for an Altitude Running offer on Altra Running shoes. Also check out the back of your bib for an offer from the Hunter Team at Cornerstone Home Lending. During the awards and raffle, we’ll be giving away some great stuff from other race sponsors including Smartwool and Ultimate Direction.

Massage and PT help from Colorado Physical Therapists will be available after the race. Please bring a layer or two for the post-race; the forecast is calling for a cooler day.

Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile or so, with a run of three ribbons leading up to and beyond each turn. Flour markings or red pin flags will supplement at key intersections.

In-race updates will be via the Gnar Twitter feed, and race results will be posted the evening of the race on the Quad Rock Ultrasignup page.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated areas is not allowed. There is a BMX bike park right by the start/finish area, so feel free to bring a bike for the kids (or yourself). Trails are also open to bikes. The reservoir is just a short walk down from the start/finish area and there is a small cove ideal for paddling or submerging battered legs. There will be a one km kids race (half (closed) road, half trail) beginning at 1:30.

Crew access info is available here.

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

On behalf of Pete, myself (Nick), all of our race sponsors, and our outstanding battalion of volunteers, we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.

Cheers!

Gnar Runners Event Management

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2015 Spring Training Runs

As we round the corner on winter and start looking forward to spring, it’s time to start putting in some longer miles in preparation for the summer racing season. To help get those long training runs banked, we’ll be organizing a few spring outings through March and April, including a loop of the Quad Rock course on April 11.

As we did last year, we’ll be hosting an informal Quad Rock Training Run from the race start/finish area at Soldier Canyon in Lory State Park. There will be multiple mileage options, from the full 25 mile loop to shorter, abbreviated versions of the course. We’ll look to get started at 8:30 on Saturday April 11. We’ll be providing burgers and veggie burgers for a post-run BBQ. Park regulations limit beers to 3.2, if you want to bring something to drink. If you want to chip in for the cost of food & site rental, we’ll have a donation jar, proceeds from which will go to race beneficiaries: Animal House Rescue, LCSAR, and Friends of Lory State Park. As an added bonus, Altra Running will be at the BBQ to demo their Superior 2.0, Lone Peak 2.0 and Olympus trail running shoes.

Details

Date: April 11th.
Start: 8:30am at the Soldier Canyon Trailhead at Lory State Park.
BBQ Potluck: 1:00pm – 4:00pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.) Only 3.2% beer is allowed in the park.
Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($7 day use per car if you don’t already have an annual state park pass. Carpooling strongly recommended.)

Other Runs

Kicking things off on March 21, there will be a run of between 21 and 36 miles around Horsetooth Reservoir. Dubbed March Mileage Madness, the run starts from Alex May’s house on the west side of Fort Collins. The shortest route – via the valley trails on the west side of the reservoir – is 21 miles, while the longest route which heads up into the hills of Horsetooth and Lory on the west side is about 36 miles with a good bit of climbing. Routes can be altered to find a middle ground between the two distances. Watch for updates on this one via the Fort Collins Trail Runner list.

round-up-profile 2

29-30 miles & 10k’ of vert. Good Lord!

A week later, we’ll be meeting at the Round Mountain trailhead for a run on the infamous “Round Mountain Ladder,” a 30 mile, 10,000 foot jaunt up and down Round Mountain just west of Loveland. Although it’s only 4.5 miles to the summit, we squeeze 30 miles out of the mountain by out-and-backing from each of the mile markers along the way, with a final summit at the end. The group dynamic of this workout is invaluable in getting the work done. Shorter versions of the workout include: out and backs to mile 1, mile 3, and the summit; or 2, 4, summit; double summit; single summit, etc. This one is scheduled for 6:30am from the Round Mountain trailhead on Saturday March 28.

April 4, we’ll be meeting at the Rainbow trailhead for a triple summit of Crosier Mountain, aka the “Crosier Triple Bagger,” a 26 mile, 8,500 foot day on Crosier Mountain that hits the summit three times from each of the three trailheads that services the mountain. Shorter (or longer) variations of the theme are also encouraged.

The training runs are open to all abilities and regardless of whether or not you are signed up for Quad Rock in May. We hope to see you at one or all of them.

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2015 Gnar Race Calendar

At the end of the 2014 season, we promised bigger and better things for 2015 and we
plan on delivering. Here’s what we’ve got in store for the 2015 Gnar Runners’ Race Series, Presented by Altra:

Gnar_man Altra Zero Drop
  • May 9, 2015: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – Race Cap: 350 total runners
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $85 (same bargain pricing as the very first year).
    – Location: Lory State Park & Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
  • July 25, 2015: Never Summer 100km
    – Race Cap: 200 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $140
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO near Cameron Pass
    – Stoke Levels: Through the Roof
  • September 5, 2015: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Race Cap: 300 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $50
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
  • October 4, 2015: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Race Cap: 275 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $60
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins Co

What’s New for 2015?

First and foremost, we are extremely excited to be adding the Never Summer 100km RidgeRunto the Gnar Runners’ race calendar. We’ve been scouting this area and working with local land managers for well over a year now, in an effort to bring you the most outstanding course possible in this beautiful corner of Northern Colorado. Nestled between Rocky Mountain National Park and the Rawah Wilderness in the Cameron Pass area, this mountain-getaway event provides a huge alpine tour of the incredible Never Summer and Medicine Bow Mountains. Don’t miss out!

Jack JewelAs always, we seek to offer the best bang for the buck that we possibly can, without scrimping on any of the things that make Gnar Runner events the top-notch experiences that you’ve come to expect. We have maintained first-year pricing for the Quad Rock 50, which at $85 continues to represent great value. And get this: we’ve dropped the early entry fee for the Blue Sky Trail Marathon to $60, while extending the cut-off to nine hours. We really, really want you to come check out the fantastic Blue Sky trail this fall!

Part of the reason we’re able to offer such great value for all our races is because we’ve worked tirelessly to partner with quality local and regional sponsors that share our vision for affordable, top-shelf events. This year we are incredibly excited to be working with Utah-based Altra Running as the Presenting Sponsor for the whole series. We’ll be working with our retail partner Altitude Running at training runs and on race-day to get you in a pair of Altra shoes to try out, if you’re not already familiar with the benefits of zero-drop running and Altra’s unique foot shaped toe box.

Other series sponsors for the 2015 season include the following great local businesses, with more to come:

The Hunter Team - Cornerstone Home Lending
Justin K. Liddle DMD, LLC Countryside Animal Hospital

We’ll have other exciting sponsor deals to promote as the season gets underway, in addition to tons of sponsor swag to give out during the BBQ awards and raffle at each and every race. I don’t think your excitement levels for the 2015 season could be quite as elevated as ours, but we sure hope they’re close.

Be Gnarful out there!

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Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Recap

black squirrel half view

Looking east from the high point on the course. Photo: Jim Moy

The weather could not have been better for the second running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. The field of 290 runners were treated to cool foggy conditions in the valley early in the morning, before making their way up the hill to break through the clouds into glorious sunshine at 7,000 feet on the high point of the course, with expansive views to Longs peak in the west and a gloriously fluffy cloud base to the east.

Two new records were set at the pointy end of the field, with Broomfield’s Korey Skattum (1:31:46) leading the charge in the men’s race and Boulder’s Melissa Dock (1:45:06) bettering her mark from the inaugural running by almost five minutes.

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Korey Skattum. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

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Melissa Dock. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

From the high point on the course, runners dropped into the Arthurs Aid Station on the technical and switchbacked Howard Trail, guided along the way by our oversized black squirrel course marshall.

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Katie – Black Squirrel – Robinson. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

By the time the meat of the field had made it into the finish, the clouds had parted allowing runners to kick back and enjoy the post-race BBQ and festivities in pure Colorado bluebird comfort.

At the front of the men’s race, Kory Skattum was followed by Aaron Anderson (1:33:09) and Rob Raguet-Schofield (1:40:30), both local to Fort Collins. Second and third in the women’s race were Sarah Hansen (1:52:36) and Molly Soasey (1:55:39), both from Fort Collins. The masters divisions were won by Elijah Flenner (1:42:20) and Monica Brackney (1:56:14), another repeat winner, while the open divisions (39 & under) were won by Chirs Kiel (1:41:05) and Jennifer Malmberg (2:00:14). In the grandmasters race, we had wins for Tim Flynn (1:59:07) and Theresa Rudel (2:07:01)

bs2014-18Prizes included Altra running shoes, gift certificates to Runners Roost Fort Collins, and the coveted Black Squirrel awards crafted in the Gnarts and Crafts Department of Gnar Runners, LLC.

As race directors, Pete and I are always thankful for the wonderful trail running community we have here in Fort Collins. Pulling together a volunteer crew is an essential part of putting on a successful race and as always our volunteers were the biggest source of bs2014-6post-race compliments that we received. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

We also couldn’t put on the types of races that we aspire to put on without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. So thank you Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, Cornerstone Home Lending, Fort Collins Running ClubJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Vet, Altra RunningRunners RoostSucceedGreat Harvest, Whole Foods, Tailwind Nutrition, and Boulder Beer.

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists

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