Kim Dobson finished second in the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2009 and ’10, but she doesn’t remember much about the ride down on one of the prettiest drives in the state.
“I’ve driven down the road, but I was usually pretty sick and throwing up, so I don’t know it all that well,” Dobson said.
Running to the top of Pikes Peak will do that to a person.
But that will change on Aug. 28 when the 27-year-old second-grade teacher from Aurora competes in the inaugural Pikes Peak Road Ascent, an 11.6-mile race from the Pikes Peak Highway Toll Gate to Glen Cove. The route gains 3,675 feet with a finishing altitude just below treeline at 11,425.
Cool video interview with race organizers
Lots of running and cycling photos, video and stories from the Pikes Peak Region
Altitude is something Dobson craves.
“I love the mountains and the more climbing and higher elevation, the more I’m going to enjoy the race,” she said.
The new race, organized by Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association, and Ron Ilgen, race director for the Triple Crown of Running, will be a part of bigger celebration.
The Assault on the Peak bike ride will go on the same day. Runners and riders will share the road, which will be closed to auto traffic, with the exception of race vehicles.
The competition in the women’s race should be fantastic, with some famous road runners and former Pikes Peak winners in the mix.
Visit the Pikes Peak Road Ascent website
Brandy Erholtz, 33, the two-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent (2008, ’10) who recently earned a spot on the 2011 U.S. Mountain Running Team, is in the hunt.
Video interview Brandy Erholtz following 2010 Pikes Peak Ascent win
Melody Fairchild, 37, arguably one of the most decorated runners from Colorado with six state high school championships and two national cross country titles, is also in.
Lisa Goldsmith, 46, a longtime veteran of the Pikes Peak Ascent – she won it in 2005 and ’06 – will run.
And Rachael Cuellar (formerly Dobbs), 29, a three-time member of the U.S. Mountain team (she won a team gold in 2006), who won the Vail Hill Climb on July 3.
But Dobson may be the one to beat. She is a pure uphill runner who in 2010 set the Mount Evans Ascent record, covering the 14.5-mile course in 2:01:39 – and that race ends at 14,264 feet. The Pikes Peak Road Ascent offers a similar paved course.
“I love moderate grinding road, so I think I’ll really enjoy the Pikes Peak road race,” she said.
2010 Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon coverage, video, photos, stories
Dobson should be fit and prepared in August. In fact, she may win twice on Pikes Peak in nine days. She is training for the Aug. 20 Pikes Peak Ascent, a race she is poised to win. She nearly caught Erholtz over the last rugged mile of the Pikes Peak Ascent last year. Only a hand full of seconds separated them at the top of America’s Mountain. Erholtz is skipping the Pikes Peak Ascent this year.
Dobson was a good high school runner at Arapahoe High School, but only ran for fun while attending Colorado State University. Running up the side of 14,000-foot mountains wasn’t a part of her plans..
“Five years ago, I never thought I’d be doing this,” said Dobson, who signed on to run for Runner’s Roost this year. “My first year on Pikes Peak, I thought I’d do pretty good. And then I placed second.
It was kind of a surprise.”
Odds and ends: The race is limited to 700. There are about 200 parking space available near the starting line. Runners should plan to carpool to the race start. Transportation will be provided from the finish to the starting line.