After I finished my early morning blog post yesterday (Saturday), I drove over to the start point for the Pikes Peak Ascent & Marathon in Manitou Springs. I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve volunteered to drive one of these vans many times in past-years.
The volunteer drivers met up at a table on the corner of Manitou Avenue and El Paso Blvd, right next to the old Cog Railway train display. Click HERE for more info on this 1890’s train from www.rgusrail.com.
I was assigned to van #2. I picked up the keys, a gas card, and a box lunch, courtesy of Subway®. It was a little after 5 AM when we loaded up the first vans with race volunteers/officials and we headed up to the top of Pikes Peak. After passing through the toll gate; where you usually have to pay $12 per person or $40 per carload, it is 19 miles to the top.
Once at the top of Pikes Peak, we lined up the vans alongside the summit road and waited for the first runners. Click HERE to see more on the drive up Pikes Peak.
We set up cones and tape to help direct the runners to loading zones. There would be two loading zones, one for shuttling people to Glen Cove and the other for Devil’s Playground. These are the two designated areas that the vans would shuttle runners to and from. Devil’s Playground is primarily a parking area where many of the runners with friends and/or family could park their cars, and Glen Cove is where the runners can board a bus for a return trip to Manitou Springs. The volunteers also set up a nice tent with refreshments for the runners at Glen Cove while they waited for the bus.
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The ultra-prominent 14,115-foot (4,302.31 m) fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, 12.0 miles (19.3 km) west by south (bearing 263°) of downtown Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike who was unable to reach the summit. The summit is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude. Click HERE for more info from wikipedia™.
Here’s a few pictures from the summit just after sunrise:
The battery in my iPhone went dead so there are no more pictures during the day. Yes, I know you’re disappointed 🙁 I even brought along a charger with a USB connector but my van didn’t have a connection.
The weather was great all morning and I probably made about 7 ‘runs’ once the runners started getting to the top. I made about 3 trips to Devil’s Playground and 4 to Glen Cove. As in years past – it was great fun… and when else can you take multiple trips up (and down) “America’s Mountain” for free? It was also interesting to hear all the stories from the runners about their trials and tribulations during the ascent. Some runners even encountered mountain goats on the trail. The general consensus I heard from the runners was that this was a good year weather-wise, and the officials did a good job of staggering the start times so that the waves of runners didn’t bottle-neck as in years past.
After we got back down about 3 PM, I gassed up the van and drove over to the rental agency (InterMountain Coach) to help shuttle the other volunteer drivers back to the parking area in Manitou after they dropped off their vans. My van (#2) would be used again on Sunday for the Marathon so I didn’t have to drop it off. I did a quick-charge on my phone while I waited at the rental agency and snapped a picture of the trip odometer. I did 115 miles for the day!
If you’d like to volunteer to help out in future race events, contact a volunteer coordinator at this link here. Or just email Jeremy Jost @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, it’s not just for the free t-shirt – but the experience!
I turned down the free dinner that was offered for the volunteer drivers and headed on back to the Elks Lodge for “Margaritaville Night”. Stilla and I had already paid in advance for the buffet style dinner of pulled-pork and BBQ chicken. This is an annual charity event held here at Elks Lodge 309. This year, the fund-raising event is to help out an 8 month-old child that is battling cancer.
We met up with friends and fellow FCRV members Biff & Linda. They saved us a good table out on the grass near the pool.
The food and entertainment was great, but a quick rain-shower passed through that made us take our meals inside for a short time. It cleared up quickly and we were soon back at our table. Biff & Linda headed home after the silent auction results were posted; but of course, we only have to walk out the back gate to the pool to be back at our house 🙂 So we stayed on as the party continued into the late evening with lots of dancing and entertainment. There were even a few people that jumped, or otherwise – somehow ended up in the pool 🙂
Another good day! Check back to see what we’re up to next…