Last Thursday, I ran the Quandary Crusher. If you don’t know what the Quandary Crusher is, let me enlighten you. It is a local race in Summit County, Colorado on Quandary Mountain. Nothing about the race is official. The objective is to run to the summit of Quandary Peak (14,265ft) and then back down. The trail is rocky and unstable for about two of three miles to the summit, but that is all part of the fun!
Matt and I left work at 4pm, went home got changed and headed to the trailhead south of Breckenridge. We arrived to a group of runners standing around talking and waiting for the start. We signed our names in as runners and chatted before Teague, the event organizer asked if everyone was ready to go. With a 3-2-1 count we took off.
The trail immediately starts off uphill, and the leaders raced out in front. I definitely couldn’t keep that pace, so I stayed back and slowly made my way up. Luckily, it was a beautiful night with no rain in sight and was the perfect temperature for running. I brought my jacket and never had to put it on.
I reached the saddle at about 1 hour, hopped through the talus as fast as I could on the flat section and began the last steep climb to the summit. At this point Joe Howdyshell passed me cruising downhill in first place. He had reached the summit in about 50 minutes.
I was certainly feeling the uphill from running Harvard a couple days before, but I just took my time, one foot in front of the other. It was so nice being on one of the most popular 14ers in the state with only the running group and a couple of hikers. When I reached the summit at an hour and 30 minutes, I had the whole place to myself. I slapped the summit marker and spent a minute taking in my surroundings before the rough run down.
The run down was very tough on my knees, but I kept moving as quickly as I could. I definitely slid out more than a few times and luckily saved myself from any hard falls. There were a lot of goats on the way down and I tried to let them have their space and go around but a few times they were directly in the trail.
Luckily the last mile is very runnable, and I really enjoyed it. I made back to the trailhead just after 2:30 round trip. I finished my beer as quick as I could (you only finish the race after drinking a beer) and was super stoked to have finished with that time even if I was second to last. I had a great time, and am really happy to be involved in the local running scene in Summit County. I already can’t wait until next year! Thanks Teague for putting the run together!