Ultimate Direction had another great year at the Hardrock 100. We were glad to share a gathering with the athletes at our house in Silverton a couple of nights before the race. It was well attended by both first time Hardrockers and veteran Hardrockers. The chips, salsa, and drinks were complete with stories of past races, and the Hardrock family catching up about the past year of racing and events. We released our new limited edition Hardrocker Vest and were so excited to see people wearing it out on the course!
After the race started on Friday, UD drove over to Grouse Gulch aid station to begin a hike up to Handie’s Peak to do race coverage and photos. The five mile hike was accompanied by about 2,500 feet of gain. To keep things interesting, the weather took quite a turn at the base of Handies. The temperature took a fast drop, and snow and wind rolled in for about half an hour. Luckily, the Fastpack 20 held extra jackets and tights in case we ran in to this scenario.
At the top of Handies, there was a small gathering of people, including Brandon, Justin, and Gina of UD, as well as Rickey Gates and Joel Wolpert. From the top of Handie’s, the San Juan range extends out to the horizon in every direction, offering astounding views of Uncompahgre Peak and various other 13ers. The Hardrock 100 course can be seen carving its way through the valley below. It was estimated that once the first athlete came in to view below, it would still take roughly an hour for them to summit.
Kilian appeared from the forest sometime around one o’clock. As we waited for him to summit, another snow storm rolled in. We took what little shelter we could find, sitting behind a small ledge of rocks that offered some relief from the wind. The snow lasted about 20 minutes, and this process occurred three more times.
Shivering in shorts and a jacket, Kilian wound his way back and forth up the switchbacks to the summit, becoming the first athlete to the top.
It was bit of a wait for the next athletes to come in. The group at top stood looking down into the distance to try to determine who would be next to summit.
Slowly but surely, athletes began to arrive at 14,058 ft.SJ Vest and tested the new Ultra Jacket, which will release this fall.
UD then traveled out to Ouray, which was just over the halfway point of the race.
Throughout the night, UD chased the race to the towns of Ouray and Telluride. From the mountains high above Telluride, headlamps could be seen shining intermittently as runners wound their way down the mountain. Athletes coming in to the aid station reported temperatures “in the 20’s” on their way in to Telluride. Lightning appeared on the horizon shortly after the leaders came through, and there was scattered storms throughout the night.
UD athlete Jared Campbell finished his 10th Hardrock in a time of 29:56. Congrats Jared on a job well done!
In addition, it was awesome to watch so many people finish the race this year. The determination of each athlete is remarkable, and we give you all a round of applause for making it to the finish of this wild and tough 100! Click below to see a video of the final finisher of the race, who finished with one second to spare. Filmed by Matt Trappe:
Did you race, crew, or pace at Hardrock? Leave a story below about your experiences!