This is another well run race by the High Plains Harriers. Patrick Eastman is the race director and he does a wonderful job. The atmosphere at Laramie area races is wonderful. Everybody knows everybody or at least recognizes a face and is willing to stop and chat. Patrick provides a race, a hooded sweatshirt, a beer glass, and much more for a great price. Many road and trail race prices have gone through the roof without giving you anything more or a better experience. I haven't found that in most Wyoming races and in particular the High Plains Harrier races.
The race started out a two person battle between the eventual 1-2 finishers Nik Deininger and Sam Malmburg. I kind of tagged along for about 1.5 miles until the hills got steep then I ran alone for a long while. The views from the race course are unparalleled and I would recommend this race just for those alone. The race is entirely run on a service road on the west/south side of Jelm Mountain from the bottom to the top, from 7600' to over 9600'. The average grade is over 6.5 percent but don't let that fool you. There are plenty of flats and some downhills in the ascent so the real climbing is much more severe. You go up for 5.2 miles and come down. I reached half-way tired but still doing well with about 2 minutes on Chris in 4th. It would soon go downhill as I found I couldn't run downhill without horrible pain in my back/sides. I ended up shuffling down the hill with the 16th fastest descent. Luckily I had run fast enough up the hill that I was able to hold onto 6th place overall.
Despite the pain I felt on the downhill, I am excited about Jelm 2014. I am sure Patrick and the Harriers will put on another great race and it really can't be as bad as this year. I am also excited to try more of Jeff's homebrew!