Fat Camp ’15: the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

As with most of my epic screw-ups, this is pilot error (again).

I agreed to do the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse. You know, the hallowed Crested Butte-to-Aspen skimo race, 35 miles over 7000 feet of climbing? That one.

I nonchalantly said “Yes” when my partner invited me to do it. Pairs of racers must stick together until the end, which, given how hard and diligently my partner has been training, might be tall order for me. I haven’t even hinted to him at the prospect of me being the anchor in our team. I’m praying several thousand grams of caffeine and some southern-Italian stubbornness keep me on his ski tails.

They say, too, that one’s body fat stores up to 100,000 calories of energy, so I’m thinking my muffin top could just be the secret weapon none of the Lycra-clad weenies at the front have at their disposal. Sure, my lumbar might jiggle, bitches, but I’m like a cold-fusion nuclear reactor back here!

This is me at the weigh-in, yesterday morning.
This is me at the weigh-in, yesterday morning.

This is my life, concocting absurd stories to avoid a total collapse of morale. Don’t tell my partner I’m in a freefall of confidence, a sheen of sweat across my man-boobs and a quivering bottom lip. He won’t share the mid-race donuts if he knows.

And this just in: there will be no mid-race donuts provided this year.

Yeah, well, thanks a bunch, Gore-tex. What kind of title sponsor doesn’t hand out donuts and angel dust at the halfway mark?

Well, time to pack up, drive to the Butte and attend tonight’s pre-race events. These include a showing of Dynafit’s “From the Road” film, as well as some hanging with the guys and girls who will finish just after sunrise in Aspen on Saturday morning. The race starts at midnight, you know this, right? Friday night. Yeah, light a candle or something for me. And raise a glass at 8 p.m. the following evening, if my muffin top has anything to say about it.

Once more into the breach, dear friends!

Rob Coppolillo is an IFMGA-licensed mountain guide in Boulder, Colorado. He’s co-owner of Vetta Mountain Guides

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