There is a tradition among a certain group of ultrarunners in Albuquerque called signing the napkin. My understanding is that a couple long-time ultrarunners, Kurt and Fred, were having a few drinks and each challenged the other to run Leadville back in the 1980’s. This challenge lead to each of them putting their John Hancock on a bar napkin as a promise they were committing to running Leadville. For years now each new season planning has ended in the signing of the napkin.
So, which napkin did I sign? I signed the Hardrock, a.k.a. “Hardly Walk” napkin. I still need to wait until the lottery opens and then would, by some miracle, need to be selected, but I signed it none-the-less. Actually to be more specific I think Ken signed it on my behalf as I was driving to El Paso to ref a triathlon this weekend during the napkin signing festivities.
The course alternates each year and in 2011 the course will be a 100 mile COUNTER-CLOCKWISE loop through the back country of the San Juan Mountains in beautiful southwestern Colorado. The Hardrock 100 connects or passes near the old mining towns of Silverton, Lake City, Ouray, Telluride and Ophir. With a total elevation gain of approximately 33,000' and an average elevation at near tree line of 11,186', the Hardrock 100 peaks out at over 14,000’ on Handies Peak, one of Colorado’s 14’ers.
I'll leave you with a beloved ultra profile comparison showing Harkrock towering above them all as well as some Hardrock pics. Note the Boston Marathon profile waaay down in the corner with its famed "Heartbreak Hill."