This was the first time I had run Grand Mesa 100, a relatively new race. I arrived Friday afternoon and was impressed with Grand Mesa, a high plateau above 10,000 feet. I decided to camp near the start because of the early start time the next morning, 5:00 a.m. I greeted friends at the pre-race meeting and enjoyed a relaxing evening by Island Lake.
I managed to get a good night’s rest and it was nice to have only a five-minute drive to the start. We were away at 5 a.m. The course layout is very confusing and I hoped that I studied it enough to not take too many wrong turns. The first giant 11-mile loop was very nice. We climbed above 11,000 feet onto a narrow ridge that gave great views except for the hazy smoke down in the valleys. I finished the loop 15 minutes slower than I hoped, but I was still doing fine. There were only 29 100-mile runners and a bunch of 50-mile and 60K runners. I was running in the top 10.