The High Lonesome 100

Skout Backcountry Instagram Giveaways have led to some great partnerships in the community! Anthony Lee, winner of the Summer Adventure Giveaway, happens to be super involved in the trail running community in Portland. Anthony won goodies from Trew Gear, Trail Butter, New Seasons, Ecliptic Brewing, and Skout Backcountry.

The weekend before Anthony gathered his giveaway prizes, he took first place at the High Lonesome 100 in Colorado. The 100-mile race takes place in the Sawatch Mountain Range (home to Nolan's 14, one of the hardest, craziest Ultrarunning adventures in the world).

"The race takes place just outside of two really amazing Colorado towns, Buena Vista and Salida.  Having never been to Colorado, I came out five days before the race to get somewhat acclimated and check out the state," Anthony wrote on his blog.

This race would be Anthony's third 100-mile race, but it was his first real mountain 100 — starting around 8,150 feet and topping out almost 13,150 feet above sea level on a rugged mountainous course.

"Going into the race I saw the start list and the majority were runners based in Colorado. I was one of the dozen runner coming from out of state and from sea level. Thankfully living in Washington and right next to Oregon, I have a lucky amount of places to train, like Forest Park, the Columbia River Gorge and I can get up to some high spots like Mt. Hood and St. Helens, but for the most part, my training was done on the treadmill and in the sauna."

July 28, 2017 — Anthony got out of bed at 4AM and took a cold shower.  His parents along as his race crew, the Lees drove out to the start line.  The starter pistol shot off at 6AM and off they went.

Anthony Lee - High Lonesome 100 - Starting Line

"We had about a ~4 mile gravel/paved downhill until we turned up on the Colorado Trail and the singletrack would begin. Keeping it light and easy, there was a group of maybe 7 of us just talking and introducing each other to one another. By the time we started the first climb the group thinned. I didn't want to use too much energy, so I backed off to a power hike and let North Face athlete, Mike Wolfe and CTS coach, John Fitzgerald take the lead as I stayed comfortably in third.

The first aid station came quickly at ~7.4 miles. I had a rough estimate of the time I'd be there and I think I got there in about an hour and seven minutes which was what I told my parents... I rolled in right behind Mike and John, grabbed some gels, refilled my water and saw my folks before leaving quickly."

Anthony Lee - High Lonesome 100

55 miles in, Anthony embarked on an 11 miles stretch, which was the longest distance between aid stations.

"This next section was pretty lonesome, that is how the race got its name. Being by myself, I thought about family and friends back home, why the heck I was out here as I was making my way up this amazing mountain pass and running along this stunning ridge. It was getting close to sunset and I finally got up to the crux of the race. I looked back down and across the sky to see where we had the race, some 14 hours earlier. Still no sign of Mike. Winds shifted, rain started to fall and fog rolled in as the last sunlight dipped below the horizon.

I forgot how difficult night running was. I literally didn't do any night running in my training cycle for this race, so I slowed down considerably. Fog was dense but the trail markers could be seen ever so slightly. I look back again to see if any lights were coming and I see some flickers. YES!! Mike was close. I continued slowly walking just to stay warm but not moving too fast so Mike could catch up."

With spirits lifted, Mike and Anthony descended down the trail to the Monarch Pass aid.

"We made our way down and we could see the highway, cars and lights, but the trail just seemed to push us further and further away from where we were supposed to go which was down. We were both silent for the most part, but we were getting a little impatient. Finally, we exit out from the trail and cross the road and climb just a short distance to the aid. Here, I was so relieved to see my parents.

We left the aid station around 9:48PM, 15 hours and 48 minutes into the race. I wasn't thinking too much besides sub 24 hours. It was doable with about 50K left. I just didn't know how much my legs could handle and also how the trail was going to be with the rain coming down much more."

They pressed on into the dark, set on reaching the next aid station.

Anthony Lee - High Lonesome 100 - Blank's Cabin, mile 82

"It was approximately 2AM give or take. We [ate] more warm food and had 4ish hours to go sub-24 hours. We had ~18miles left. My leg were trashed, and I'll assume Mike's were too being 82 miles into this rugged mountain race. 4 hours to run 18 miles felt like an eternity. I was out of my comfort but that was where the magic started to happen. I accepted the pain and misery. I didn't fight it. I just internally told myself that I was going to suffer just a little bit longer. Just suffer for a little less than 4 hour.

We walked out of the aid station with purpose and on a mission. We got some rolling trail and again just took major deep exhales and inhales. We'd go maybe 30 seconds to a two minutes on of running then power hike when we hit hills. It wasn't pretty but the 9 mile stretch back to Raspberry Gulch aid went by a bit faster. I look at my watch, seeing time slowly tick away but similarly the miles also going up which was good, but not good enough. It was 4:06AM and we hadn't hit the aid station. I started to panic.

WHERE THE HECK IS IT? Just around the corner? No. AGH... I started to run hard. I just needed to get to the aid. I was running on an empty tank. It took all the willpower to move my body. I gapped Mike by maybe 30 seconds and then the aid station comes into view and I am in."

Anthony Lee - High Lonesome 100 - Raspberry Gulch

Mike came in a minute later. Having worked so hard for a whole day together, Anthony wanted to wait for him and finish together.

"Mike told me to go on and it really killed me internally cause I wanted to share the victory with him. In the end, I listened to him and charged out of the aid. It hurt like no other. My already shredded feet were screaming at me to stop and walk. Nope, I wouldn't hike. I knew the finish was near. I can suffer through this pain for about an hour more. And so I went to my ultrarunning bag of tricks and ultrashuffled up this slight hill before bombing down the backside of the mountain to get to the road we came from Friday morning.

I kept looking at my watch, I wanted to hit the road section by 5AM to give myself a little buffer time. The final 4 miles on the road I ran as hard as I could, getting closer and closer to the turn up the final 300 foot climb we came down. As soon as I made the turn up the climb, the blisters on the bottom of both my feet ripped open. I almost collapse onto my face in anguish, but catch myself. Seeing that I can break 23:30, I charge up the climb to the meadow where we began and sprint to into the finish line and collapsing into Caleb's arms.

23:29:05, 1st Place, Men's Champion of the inaugural High Lonesome 100."

Anthony Lee - High Lonesome 100 - FinishPhoto by Mile90 Photography 

Anthony has an amazing blog outlining the details of this incredible racing feat—training and beyond. Follow his adventures on his blog and follow his IG: a.c.l8.

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