Vibrant trail-running shoes were the footwear of choice for the mass of people out and about in Buena Vista, Colo., last night. Many of those shoes will take the first step of a 120-mile race today as more than 350 runners stride away from the small mountain town on the kickoff stage of the 2012 GORE–TEX TransRockies Run.
A GearJunkie editor, Sean McCoy, will be among the race pack. They will cover 120 miles of singletrack, mountain trails, jeep tracks, and gravel roads with 20,000 feet of elevation gain during the six-day stage race.
McCoy is racing with teammate Leon Lutz. Like all involved, the pair will race alongside a mix of elite athletes and weekend warriors today on the opening 21 mile leg.
“Leon and I haven’t had the chance to run together very much, so we hope to find our pace on day one,” McCoy said. “The first stage crosses a lot of high desert and, from what the race directors said, there’s a lot of sand. We’re also beginning at 8,000 feet, which, while the lowest elevation of the week, is no joke.”
Or maybe it is. “I heard they’re lowering it,” kidded Lutz as he prepared his gear for the morning. In addition to the physical challenges, the race provides fertile grounds for gear testing, and McCoy and Lutz will be using several soon-to-be-released products during the event.
McCoy will start the first stage wearing a 2013 shoe, the New Balance Minimus 1010, which is similar to the Minimus Trail 10, but with more protection from rocks, a slightly less-minimal sole, and 4mm drop.
McCoy and Lutz plan to travel light, start slow and aim for strong finishes each day. When the pack crosses the Arkansas River and gets its first taste of single track there will already be favorites among the elite trail runners entered. Including the likes of Max King (2010 TransRockies champ), Michelle Barton (2007 winner and six-time competitor), Justin Ricks, Bernie Boettcher, Deb Davies, Sean Meissner, and others.
McCoy and Lutz hope to stay competitive. “If we can average 10-minute-miles on the moderate terrain we’ll do pretty well,” McCoy said before the race. “I think we can manage that!”