Experience pays at Sopris Runoff | PostIndependent.com

Experience pays at Sopris Runoff

Post Independent Photo/Kelley CoxZeke Tiernan was the first to finish in the Mount Sopris Runoff from Basalt to Carbondale Saturday morning. Tiernan finished the 16.5-mile race with a time of 1 hour, 44 minutes, 22 seconds.

CARBONDALE – Zeke Tiernan and Lisa Gonzales-Gile put their prior experience of running the Mount Sopris Runoff course to good use Saturday.Both runners said having run the route from Basalt to Carbondale – which transitions from pavement to dirt and back to pavement, over 16.5 up-and-down miles – aided them in taking men’s and women’s honors at the annual race.”Knowing the course always helps, because you know what to expect,” said Tiernan, a lifelong valley resident who earned All-America track honors at the University of Colorado. “I’ve run that course a bunch, so I know how to pace myself.”Tiernan’s pace allowed him to complete the course in 1 hour, 44 minutes, and 22 seconds. It was the fastest time among the 56 runners who took part in the 27th annual running of the event.His mark was more than a minute better than second-place finisher Garett Graubins’ time of 1:46.18.Knowledge helps, but the course is not easy. With 1,500 feet of elevation gain, then a descent of 1,800 feet, even the sturdiest legs start to wobble – then there’s that sneaky final leg.”The hardest part is when you hit Highway 133. At that point you’re tired and there’s cars zipping by,” Tiernan said of the slight uphill into Carbondale and the finish line. “You can see the finish line. But, its still way out there.”For Gonzales-Gile, the finish line couldn’t come fast enough.The Aspen resident, who successfully defended the women’s crown with a time of 2:01:56, withstood a strong challenge from women’s runner up Jenny Barsness.The two took turns with the lead throughout the course. Barsness, who finished a scant 41 seconds behind Gonzales-Gile, held the early lead in the uphill portions of the race.The two marks placed Gonzales-Gile and Barsness sixth and seventh, respectively, in the overall standings.”I think I went out a little hard and I was anxious and excited when (Barsness) caught me going up the hill,” said Gonzales-Gile. “She passed me pretty easily.”When the two runners reached the downhill portion, Gonzales-Gile’s experience kicked in. “When we started going downhill, that’s when I kind of opened it up and let it roll,” she said.”This was the first time (Barsness) was doing this course,” said Gonzales-Gile. “I don’t think she knew it as well as I did, so I had a little bit of an advantage there.””I didn’t worry that I was going too fast on the downhill. You can blow your legs out pretty easy on that turnover, because you’re not used to it,” she added. “But I kind of just went for it and didn’t worry about it, and let whatever happen, happen.”Susie Wells was the third fastest woman at 2:18.31 (18th overall).For more results, see Scoreboard on page 14.

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