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Paddling, running, biking, defying gravity - it's all part of the adventure of this race
PIKES PEAK• One. Two. Three. Go!
Kyla Allen didn’t move.
“If you guys let me die, I have eight children I will to whoever is in charge of this race,” she had warned moments before.
With all eyes on her, she sighed and plunged over the void, soaring down 700 feet of zip line wire high above a canyon, part of a course that includes running, kayaking, more running, biking, more running, the zip line, then running back down to Green Mountain Falls.
She was among 120 who spread out across Pikes Peak Friday and Saturday for the Big Mountain Adventure Race @America’s Mountain. With races ranging from 6 to 24 hours, it’s a grueling sport that’s growing in popularity among athletes looking for a variety of challenges.
“It attracts serious outdoor enthusiasts and all kinds of people, people who like all kinds of outdoor sports,” said organizer Mike Lester. “It seems like it is growing and people really enjoy the races and we get a lot of returns.”
Though it’s called a race, and competitors are timed, with time penalties for missing checkpoints, it’s more about just meeting the challenges.
So why would Allen, a grandmother, put herself through this?
“Because I can,” she said. “It’s challenging. Just to be out here in the beautiful outdoors. There’s no time to stop and I like adventures.”
Still, she said, “I was up all night thinking, ‘Thank God I’m not in the woods right now.’”
Others were in the woods all night.
Don Day and his team from Lincoln, Neb., set out at 7 p.m. Friday. By the pre-dawn hours two had dropped out, so he teamed up with solo runner George Meyers of Colorado Springs.
“I’m better since the sun is up. Before the sun came up I was kind of dragging,” said Meyers, while pumping up his inflatable kayak for the paddle around North Catamount Reservoir.
Both men had the same post-race plans: a couple of beers.
Allen was asked, once her feet were back on the ground, if she had conquered her fear of heights?
“No, but I’ll do it again,” she said.