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By Kirsten Le Roux
Special to The PREVIEW
Get high with a brand new midsummer event on July 19 at Wolf Creek Ski Area. “8 Hours of Wolf Creek” is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 19. When the clock starts, you have 8 hours to complete as many laps as you can of either a short mountain bike loop or a short trail running loop … at over 10,000 feet of altitude.
Mike Le Roux, GECKO’s race director, comments, “Eight-hour events are very popular the world over. Instead of being a long, remote course where you don’t see athletes for hours at a time, with the short laps you’ll see them every 40 minutes or so. They’re fun because they’re social; you generally have a set meeting place to return to, where you can restock, refuel, replenish and then go out again. That meeting place is a hive of activity with aid stations, athletes, music and cheering.”
It’s also a new format for GECKO, with a new twist: there’s no set entry fee.
Morgan Murri, GECKO founder, says, “Pay what you want. Pay what you can. Pay it forward with GECKO is the motto for this exciting new event. We decided to see what would happen if we gave participants the opportunity to race the distance they want and to pay what they think is fair, or what they can afford that day or what they would like to contribute to GECKO. It’s a chance for GECKO to give back to the athletic community and to give everyone the opportunity to get outdoors on a great course for a great cause.”
“8 Hours of Wolf Creek” is the opportunity for mountain bikers and trail runners to come and spend the day up at the Wolf Creek ski resort and get unprecedented access to premier trails. There are two short-looped courses back to the parking lot — one for trail runners and one for mountain bikers, with the start/finish area in the parking lot. Athletes can park their cars in the aid station area and use their trunks as a base to return after each lap.
It’s also not just for solo athletes wanting to tackle the full eight hours. Teams of two, three or four are permitted and athletes can share the time between them any way they like.
Due to the altitude, the terrain and the format, this event will particularly appeal to athletes looking for quality training miles in time for key high-elevation mountain bike and trail ultras later in the summer. With the short return laps, they can feel comfortable to try new gear, nutrition and speeds knowing that they can safely return to their support and comforts. They can run or ride without having to “pack in” and carry all their nutrition, water and safety clothing, knowing it can be stashed and waiting back at the parking lot.
Concludes Morgan Murri, “Really, we all know Wolf Creek well in the winter. but summer is a spectacular time to go to pass and enjoy the trails. It’s a unique opportunity to be up there, safely and socially. We’re really hoping to get a crowd for the day, regardless of whether they can do one lap or 15 laps. When you can pay what you like, it’s going to fit every budget and every ability. Slow or fast, a lapped course means that everybody can go at their own pace.”
To help GECKO plan for the day, please RSVP through an online registration system, through the website, www.joingecko.org. Then you can check in on the day. Registration will also be open on the day starting at 7 a.m. Credit card, cash or checks are the payment options. “8 Hours of Wolf Creek” commemorative socks will be on sale for $10 each on the day.
For questions regarding the event, contact Mike Le Roux at 398-0612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.