“I haven’t been to Winter Park in 18 years. There’s a 5k there this weekend. Let’s run that one.”
This is what I remember saying to my kids when I was looking for a Fourth of July 5k to run. I don’t like running a 5k on July 4th per se because they are extremely popular and I prefer smaller races. Hence, this one up in Winter Park, CO, appealed to me. And I hadn’t been there in so long I wanted to go.
I signed up my oldest daughter and myself, leaving my other two kids to decide on that day.
After an early morning stop at Starbucks and a two-hour drive, we arrive in Winter Park at 7 am. At the sign up station, my oldest daughter grabs a race course map and notices at the top it says “5 mile race course.”
Aghast (since I had no intentions of running a 5 mile), I ask the lady.
Sure enough. The race is a 5 MILE, not a 5k. My mistake. I suppose I had 5k in my brain and the rest filled in the gaps.
After debating all of our options for over 30 minutes, we finally decide to run with my other two kids riding bikes since we had planned to mountain bike after the race.
My time was good: 38:19. I beat my daughter by over two minutes. It was an all downhill course so it was fast.
Scenic? Somewhat. We ran the Fraser River Trail (a trail that goes from Winter Park to Fraser, CO) for the first 3 miles or so and then we had to run through the town of Winter Park and finish at Rendezvous. Passing the McDonald’s in Winter Park was not my idea of scenic.
About 3/4 of a mile from the finish line, my son catches up to me and follows me on his bike, giving me minute-by-minute commentary on how much further I had to go. The finish was one of those where you could see the tent, but you had to zig-zag around a pond. At some point, I told my son to stop the commentary, so I could concentrate.
I did not win a prize (I came in 4th for my age group), but my daughter came in first despite the fact I beat her (read hissing-mad here).
Next, we take the shuttle back to Winter Park and unload our bikes to ride the trails. However, my daughter’s bike seat was twisted and mangled. Having come all this way, we all wanted to ride. So my son and her switched off every mile or so in a hilarious attempt to ride a bike with a broken seat. I spent the whole ride laughing.
Near the end, I decide to take a shortcut back to the truck. This shortcut was indeed shorter, but it entailed a trail of all uphill where we basically pushed our bikes the majority of the way.
Overall, a very memorable day. I did well in my race with a 7:40 pace despite the fact no fiber in my body wanted to run 5 miles. We got in a great, scenic bike ride with plenty of entertainment value–all fueled by donuts the sponsors of the race all but shoved down our throats at every opportunity.
The Rendezvous Run for Independence was great fun, and mountain biking in Winter Park is an amazing experience.
In the future, I will be sure to READ race descriptions closer. As for next year, I’m unsure if we could top this one!