Bend already lays claim to the title “Bike Town U.S.A.” but it may be time to add “Ultra Runners ‘R Us” to our town’s moniker.
Bendites dominated the recent GORE TEX Trans-Rockies Run, a 120-mile, six-day stage race in Colorado that concluded on August 18. Bend sent eight runners to the race, which started in Buena Vista and finished in Beaver Creek and included approximately 20,000 feet of altitude gain, and each day all eight Bendites made podium appearances.
Zach Violett and Stephanie Howe returned to the race hoping to improve on last year’s third-place finish in the “open mixed” category. The couple, now experienced in the ways of stage racing, blew the other co-ed teams out of the water and won the six-day race in 17 hours, 47 minutes—two hours ahead of the second place team.
According to Violett, the win didn’t come easy as each day included somewhere between 14-24 miles of running, which took, on average, three hours to complete. What made the difference, Violett said, was their preparation.
“This year we did more training, we knew the course, we were more patient—the first day we really held back that five to 10 percent,” said Violett.
“I actually feel okay. I’m not limping too bad or anything,” he added.
Max King, Bend’s best ultra runner, won the three-day solo race in 7 hours, 19 minutes after finishing second last year while racing in the six-day team event. For the second year in a row Bend husband and wife power duo, Jeff and Katie Caba, won the masters mixed category (combined age of 80-plus) in 19 hours, 20 minutes. Racing for Patagonia, Jeff Browning and Rod Bien of Bend finished second overall in the masters men category (80-plus) in a time of 17 hours, 29 minutes, just 16 minutes off of first place. And in the open men’s category Bend’s Mario Mendoza and teammate Jorge Maravilla finished third in 16 hours, 34 minutes.
photo credits: Kelvin Trautman