Quad Rock Cancelled

Dear Runners – sorry to have to inform you that tomorrow’s race has been officially cancelled. We’ve done everything we can to work with park management, but unfortunately the parks will be closed to the entire public this weekend due to heavily saturated grounds and heavy rains today. Management could not make an exception for us.

We’ll follow up with additional details once we’ve had time to evaluate all of our possible options, including the potential for a rescheduled event.

Nick Clark and Pete Stevenson


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


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.


Gnar Runners Event Management




Pacing, Fueling, and Hydration for the Quad Rock 50

For runners hoping to finish the Quad Rock 50 within our 14-hour cut off, the following pacing chart can help you plan for a successful day. This plan includes a generous amount of time at aid stations (50 minutes total) that should be more than enough for any runner who is organized and efficient getting in and out of each station. There is a good opportunity to save a lot of time by being quick and efficient at each aid stop.

Aid Station Mile

Our intermediate course cut offs are: 12:15pm at Soldier Canyon (mile 25), 2:10pm at Arthur’s (mile 32.4), and 4:35pm at Horsetooth (mile 39.6). These are set up to give runners the maximum possible time on the course. Realistically to make the final 14-hour cut off, you should plan to be about 15 minutes ahead of the 25-mile cut off, and about 10 minutes ahead of the Arthur’s mile-32.4 cut off. If you make it through Horsetooth on time by 4:35pm, you’ll have a good chance of finishing under 14 hours but will need to work hard to push through to the finish.

Fueling & Hydration

Our aid stations are set at fairly even intervals on the course and we will have an unmanned water drop set out on the longer 7.4 mile segment from Arthur’s aid station to the finish.

All runners will need to carry their own water on the course. Faster runners should be able to run with 1 bottle and mid-to-back-of-the-pack runners should be comfortable with 2 bottles. If we have warm weather, plan to carry more water – some of the exposed trails (like the Howard climb) can get very hot in the afternoon.

Ultimate Direction

A race pack, such as the Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest, has become a popular alternative in recent years, especially as designs have improved. The AK vest is ideal for Quad Rock 50 needs. It’s super light, holds two 20oz bottles and has room for 2 gel flasks (or your own packets or bars) and just enough space to stash a light jacket, shirt, and/or gloves in case we get hit with some rough weather on race day.

Our primary fuel at all aid stations will be Vfuel vanilla, cool citrus, and mountain berry gel and Vfuel lime drink. The new Vfuel drink mix is primarily dextrose to give you simple calories that are easy to digest and absorb. Vfuel drink will have 200 calories per 20 ounce bottle. All Vfuel gel will be served from bulk containers at the aid stations. If you plan to use gel from the race aid stations, please bring your own flask to carry it.

If you don’t have a flask, they are available from race sponsors Ultimate Direction or
Altitude Running (where we’ll be hosting packet pickup on Altitude Running Logo - 2012 FinalFriday afternoon). And please consider carrying an extra flask or small bottle for soda or Vfuel drink. While we do not stock our aid stations with water cups, we go through a tremendous amount of small cups for soda, gels and food. Stashing an extra flask and/or plastic baggie in your shorts or pack to use at aid stations would really help cut down on the amount of trash our event produces.

VFuelOur aid stations will also be stocked with a variety of soda and snacks. If you feel you need more sodium or just need a break from sweet gels and drink mix, we’ll have plenty of salty chips and pretzels. If you don’t care for gel or drink mix, we’ll have plenty of soda, cookies, gummy bears, and M&M’s to give you enough carbs to keep going for the day. PBJ and turkey rolls will be available if anyone needs a bite of something a bit more substantial.

Remember to drink and eat early and consistently throughout the race. Every year almost everyone runs right through the first two aid stations and doesn’t start to refuel or drink until the third stop at mile 14.2 on Towers. The Quad Rock 50 is a very long, hard day and if you get dehydrated or into a calorie deficit, it becomes hard to recover. But always drink to thirst. If you aren’t thirsty, have a sloshy upset stomach, or water just tastes bad, don’t force it. There are also serious risks associated with over-hydrating, which, in the most extreme cases can lead to hyponamtremia, a condition that occurs when the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low due to dilution.

Consume steadily all day, but keep it in moderation and don’t forget to replace electrolytes, either through capsules or by eating salty snacks at the aid stations.

If anyone has any questions about the course, aid stations, or race day planning that hasn’t been covered on our website, feel free to email us.

Have a great day out there, and see you at the finish!

Pete Stevenson and Nick Clark


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.


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.