This morning I had the opportunity to run the Harper's Time Trial. It is a somewhat nondescript 2.3 mile section of trail ascending 1000 feet through the Idaho Mountains north of Ketchum. That, taken alone, is pretty ordinary. However, what makes this particular run extraordinary is its connection to the Sun Valley Cross Country Ski Team. You see, this run is the creation of Rick Kapala, the legendary coach of the Sun Valley Ski Team. For the past 10 or so years Rick's athletes have used Harper's as a proving ground in determining their fitness going into the season.
The list of names and times who have tackled Harper's is impressive. Olympians Morgan Arritola, Noah Hoffman and Simi Hamilton have tested themselves here as have members of the Norwegian Ski Team, collegiate Nordic skiers from across the country and countless other cardio beasts. Rick keeps meticulous records of the runs and everybody who tackles the trail has their eye on something. The seemingly unbeatable overall Course Record of 11:50 is held by Ben True, a Dartmouth grad and 3:40 1500 meter runner. Morgan Arritola, not surprisingly, holds the women's record of 13:41.
I headed out there this morning to test my fitness along with a handful of the studs on the SV ski team. We started at 1 minute intervals and redlined the entire time. I started out hard and just pegged my effort. In the end I finished it in 14:10 tied with Scotty Phelan and 25 seconds behind Torin Tucker (son of Montrail Founder Scott Tucker). It was great to get out there with some real athletes to test myself. In fact, I am thinking of going out there again in a couple weeks to see if I can break 14. As Pre used to say, "It's always good, once in awhile, to completely blow out the carbon!"