Colorado's High Lonesome 100 Miler

The High Lonesome 100 is a new Colorado mountain race for those looking for a big mountain adventure but can’t get a break in the Hardrock 100 lottery. 24,500 of vertical at an average 11,000’ of elevation and a 36 hour limit. It’s the challenge you’re looking for. Although 2017 was the inaugural race, and glitches would have been expected, thanks to the organization of race director, Caleb Efta, and advice from many of the Hardrock race committee, it felt like a seasoned event. With 12 aid stations, and a Forest Service imposed limit of 75 runners, there were as many volunteers as there were racers.

[Below is Mt. Antero and its trails, which the runners climb and descend early in the race]

Mt Antero - High Lonesome 100 miler

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of travel and accommodations, Salida is a short drive from the Denver airport and a virtual museum of ‘Prairie style’ architecture with plenty of options for hotel or house rentals, great small restaurants and galleries, rafting on the Arkansas River and miles of mountain bike trails. If you prefer to sleep under the stars there are unlimited options in the surrounding mountains including camping in a large field at the start/finish. And if you care about the swag, a beautiful handmade buckle and a special engraved bottle of whisky from Laws Whiskey House.   

But what about the race? The race runs through the Sawatch Mountains near Salida CO and uses 30 miles of the Colorado Trail and 25 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. Quick note - if, like me, you imagine the Colorado Trail being a nice smooth ‘rails to trails’ surface, just keep telling yourself that. Expect long tough climbs, mud, rocks, probably rain, perhaps lightning, all the expected drama, and also beautiful mountain views, sweet single track, great aid stations and really dedicated volunteers. This race will likely be a Hardrock qualifier after its second year and currently is expected to be worth 6 points towards UTMB

High Lonesome View

[editor's note: 53 of the 73 starters in the inaugural running of the High Lonesome 100 finished the race under the 36 hour cutoff.  The winning time was 23:29:05. Tom got it done in 35:18:05.  Below you can see him (on the left) cruising in to the finish with John Fitzgerald from Montana, and John's pacer. Tom will next be toeing the line at a 100 miler in early November, when he will be part of the Blue Train heading down to Pinhoti in northern Alabama.]

Finish - 2017 High Lonesome 100 Miler - Tom Simonds