Posts Tagged ‘Buena Vista’

What do you want for free?

August 8, 2009

There have been the usual complaints about nothing new at Hardscrabble Times this week. Hey, what do you expect for free? Especially during the week between the final two events of the 2009 pack-burro racing season. Last week’s race at Buena Vista turned out to be a repeat of the previous week at Fairplay, with Bobby Lewis able to get his burro Wellstone over the finish line again 2 seconds ahead of myself and Laredo. It’s a little frustrating, but then I suppose I should be happy to even be in the running at my rather advanced stage of youthfulness.

Laredo, Hal and Harrison following another second-place finish at Buena Vista. Photo by Tim Van Riper.

Laredo, Hal and Harrison following another second-place finish at Buena Vista. Photo by Tim Van Riper.

The next morning bright and early I was limping away to the Colorado Springs airport to pick up my old high-school buddy and neighbor Eric Leeper and his son Sam, who were visiting from Indiana. Eric and I lived in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Annandale, Va., and attended high school in Burke at Lake Braddock but I had not seen him in 23 years. Eric is now a noted professor of economics at Indiana University.

We spent four days more or less getting reacquainted, taking in the local scenery and bugging out Eric’s mind and eyes with my lifestyle. On Tuesday we packed Sam and my son Harrison on burros to the Swift Creek Beaver Ponds, where the fishing was quite decent though tricky with all the overgrowth. Harrison even hooked into a nice cutthroat with a little help from dad, and held the flyrod as I scrambled down the bank to release the fish.

After taking Eric and Sam back to the airport Thursday, Harrison and I spent a lovely evening dining in the backyard of my longtime friends Mad Dog O’Grady and wife Shannon. After that I returned home to find an unexpected rush editing job had fallen into my lap. What’s a guy to do in this economy but stay up past midnight and get the job done?

That left me two days to get my @#$% back together for Sunday’s big race at Leadville. For tomorrow’s race I find myself focusing not so much on No. 1 or No. 2, but rather on No. 30. If all goes well that’s the number of consecutive finishes I’ll have had at Boom Days.

Lightning in a bottle, part 2

August 13, 2008

The Buena Vista Gold Rush Pack-Burro Race turned out to be pretty exciting. I called Tom Sobal, who I believe has won more burro races than anybody in the sport, and offered that he could run my backup burro Spike in the last race of the year. I knew Bobby Lewis and his burro Wellstone would be rested since they didn’t run Leadville, and I thought we might as well make a rootin’-tootin’ contest out of this thing. The three of us traded places all over the 12-mile course course. When we came down the trail from the Midland Railroad Grade, Tom was ahead, then Bobby, then myself. Tom took a pretty bad fall, but got up and stayed ahead until we got to the bridge over the Arkansas River. Then Bobby passed him. Laredo came over the bridge and broke into a lope. We caught up to Tom and Spike right about as they were passing Bobby again. Laredo hooked up with Spike and we were off to the races. We were coming down the street three abreast for a while, and if I remember right (it’s all a blur), it was mostly at a canter. Laredo and Spike got about a length on Wellstone and it pretty much stayed that way, flat out, all the way down the street (the finish line was up nearer to the highway this year) with Laredo nosing it out by one second at the end. By the way, Tom is 50 this year, I’m 48 and Bobby is 44. The photographer from the Chaffee County Times got a pretty good shot near the finish line. Check it out at: Chaffee County Times

Last long training run of summer

July 18, 2008


Most summers I do a final longish run about 10 days before the Triple Crown pack-burro races begin. It’s no big deal like some of the runs up to 4.5 hours that I’ve done in weeks past. It’s just one last test of over two hours. It allows me to check out my burro, my gear, my own health and fitness. I decided to jog Laredo up Hermit Pass in the Sangre de Cristo Range just to get in a short, but steep and rocky climb. Now 10 days of recovery before Fairplay, July 27, 29 miles; Leadville, Aug. 3, 22 miles; and Buena Vista, Aug. 10, 12 miles. That’s a lot of racing miles in three consecutive weekends. I always feel a sense of relief when this training run is over. There’s nothing to do now but show up. This year I packed a digital camera along and so you get a brief 8-second glimpse of what it’s like. Eight seconds is how long a bull rider rides. Of course a pack-burro race is much longer.