If we hadn’t been headed off to the GORE-TEX TransRockies Run, I would’ve been a very sad dirty little runner girl leaving Aspen this morning. Such a beautiful and active town with kids and dogs everywhere! We really enjoyed ourselves there, managing to get in some  trailrunning, mountain biking and sightseeing and even spent some time at the Farmer’s Market Saturday where we gawked at a bear up a tree. Apparently he came in to enjoy the market too and headed right through a booth that, funny enough, had some artwork to include bear paintings. He then ended up in a tree where we could only see his big bear feet hanging over the branch he was sitting on.

Produce at Aspen Farmer’s Market

Handcrafted Vintage bikes at the Aspen Farmer's Market

Handcrafted Vintage bikes at the Aspen Farmer’s Market. These bikes were so cool! Would love to have a few. What a great idea!

Sweet log ramp on Lollipop Trail – Aspen

We also happened upon this great spot called Belly Up and found a band that wowed us! You Me & Apollo. Dang, that lead singer is gonna make it really big someday, so talented!

Thankfully, the TRR was calling my name. I didn’t have time to be sad about leaving Aspen as we headed off to Buena Vista to prepare. The drive from Aspen to Buena Vista was breathtaking. Labeled as one of the 10 prettiest drives in America it takes you on narrow twisting roads with sheer rock faces on one side and drop offs on the other, incredible views of the surrounding peaks as well as the valleys below with a mix of flowing rocky rapids and slow meandering creeks. It then takes you up and over Independence Pass, the highest paved pass in North America, before dropping you down the other side, which is equally as scenic.

On the way up to Independence Pass

Independence Pass 12,095′ elevation.

We arrived in Buena Vista hungry and looking for a breakfast spot. Luckily we found a great little place right away.

Breakfast spot in Buena Vista

It was a busy spot and I caught myself looking at everyone there trying to figure out who the runners were. Lots of active-looking people around these parts. Had some yummy and, I’m sure, very healthy french toast and then headed off to get checked in to our room.

We wandered over to the TRR check-in to take it all in and get checked in ourselves. I hadn’t yet met Cynthia from GORE-TEX and I found her there talking to my Facebook friend Vanessa. Vanessa has an awesome blog, she is so damn funny! You can check it out at Vanessaruns.com.

Cynthia Amon from Gore and Vanessa (of Vanessa Runs) at check-in

The check-in process was smooth, although we did wait (per instructions stating that the first hour was usually pretty busy) until around 1p to go check in. Everyone there was friendly and helpful and the process went very well! It was nice to finally meet Cynthia, who I have only talked to via email and phone. She helped me get all squared away and Lisa got me set up with everything I needed, including my sweet GORE RUNNING WEAR jacket and La Sportiva Wildcat GTX shoes (I’ll have to post my pictures of those later, perhaps from the trail while they are in use).

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run check in

GORE-TEX TransRockies Run check in

Outside the Buena Vista Heritage Museum (TRR check-in)

Sweet GORE-TEX truck

Check in at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum. What a great, very cool location for this!

Love this shot! No, the museum is not leaning.

After check in, we decided to head up to the first night’s tent setup so we’d know where we were going the next day. This was less than 6 miles from Buena Vista. Whoa, check out the picture.. sure looks like a party! Thinking that big green one up front might be reserved for the embedded reporter? Ha, yeah right.. think again says the crew!

First night stay at Arrowhead Point Campground

After checking out the tent site, we went on to the pre-race dinner, which was held at the Avery Parson Elementary School. Dinner there was delicious, as expected from everything I’d been hearing – provided by the Gourmet Cowboy Catering Team/Cowboy Tom.

Terry Sentinella and Kevin Douglas (and me)

I found Terry Sentinella and Kevin Douglas outside waiting in line for the pre-race dinner. Matt Nelson of Endurance Trust (we met at Badwater last month) told me they were out here at TransRockies for their first time. I was happy to have found them so easily and they were nice enough to pose with me so we could send this picture on to Matt.

Pre-race dinner

The place was full of hungry runners storing up some food for some good running! We all got the scoop from Leave No Trace, from the guys marking the course, from Kevin of TransRockies and Goat (from France) who Kevin warned the girls to keep away from mainly, it sounded like, because the girls fall for Goat’s French accent and Kevin wanted the girls for himself! Quite the bunch of comedians. Everyone was having a great time and they kept the talks to a minimum, providing mostly only much needed, important info along with a great flyover viewing of tomorrow’s course. It was a fun evening and I was able to talk with a few of the runners there. I’ll be posting more about that later. For now, I need to get to bed as it will be an early and very busy day tomorrow!!

Stay tuned…