tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:/posts The GECKO Blog 2018-01-15T13:52:06Z tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/871232 2015-06-19T13:59:03Z 2015-06-19T13:59:03Z Final Rider Update (#2) Pagosa Springs Endurance Horse Ride

Good morning riders

We trust you are looking forward to tomorrow’s big day.

This is the 2nd important update, if you haven’t already, please read the first on the website here:


We are in for hot weather – 88F and with an elevation of between 7,000 and 9,000 ft for this event we ask that you look after yourselves and your horses throughout the day with hydration and sunscreen protection.

As this is our inaugural event and first time ride directing an event with HORSES we respectively ask for your patience as we manage this. We have tried to consider every eventuality but as a first time, that’s more difficult!


Please give a broad smile of thanks to our 40+ volunteer team for this event – all helping out for the first time too. Without them it wouldn’t be possible to stage an event such as this. Dr Dwight Hooten, Dr Jim Baldwin and Dr Greggory Bell (Greg is from Centennial Equine in Pagosa Springs) are our accomplished VET team, and the San Juan Back Country Horsemen and Parelli Natural Horsemanship have both assisted with the majority of volunteers.


Further to this – we apologize for the late notice of the fee for AERC one day licenses of $15.00 for those of you who don’t have annual memberships with the AERC. 


Please collect this at the Ride Camp. Unfortunately this doesn’t extend to Crew and Spectators but it is a15-20 minute drive to most shops and restaurants in down town Pagosa Springs for them.


VET CHECK #1 “Ride Camp” - Dr Dwight Hooten

(75 milers through and the finish line)

The Ride Camp (start/finish line and parking) is located at

a gravel pit in National Forest approximately 8 miles east of Hwy 84, along

county road 302 (Mill Creek Road). Follow the Google maps link below. There

will be sign-posts for the ride along the road. Head east on Mill Creek

Rd.  Continue onto Fr 662 for 3.0 mi. Continue onto Fr 665. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/37.2662033,-106.9920263/37.2700233,-106.8816228/@37.2683378,-106.9348201,13z This will be the communications hub.

VET CHECK #2 “Blue Lake”- Dr Jim Baldwin

15 mile and 30 mile (50 & 75 milers through here)

From the junction of HWY84 and HWY160 travel south on HWY 84

for 8.1 miles. Turn left onto Blanco Basin Road (CR 326). Travel 2.3 miles and

then take a right onto Blue Creek Road (USFS 12). Travel 0.7 miles, then keep

left at the fork for another 1.9 miles to the vet check. This route is

preferable for high clearance vehicles.

VET CHECK #3 “Fawn

Gulch” – Dr Greggory Bell

13 miles/64 miles (25 and 75 milers through here)

From the junction of HWY 160 and HWY 84, travel east 3.4

miles to Fawn Gulch Road (Country Road 113). Travel 1.4 miles to reach the vet

check on the right-hand-side.


There will be two trailers for drop bags going to the two vet checks. They will be at the Ride Camp tonight to pack in and early Saturday morning. Clearly mark your items with your name and when you arrive at the vet check you will see the trailer there with everything.


Unfortunately Res Hill Grill will not be open this weekend as previously noted. Downtown you will find many lovely shops and restaurants. http://pagosaspringsdining.com/ will give you a list of the best. The Pagosa Baking Company and Kips Grill & Cantina are two close to the Ride Camp, and support GECKO regularly.


We update our Facebook daily with event information, event photos, latest news etc – so definitely find us on Facebook here <https://www.facebook.com/pages/GECKO/324829909101> and get your updates first!


There will be a mandatory rider briefing (race director on course and head Vet on horse safety and vet checks) for the 50-mile and 75-mile at 7pm tonight, Friday June 19th at Ride Camp. 25 milers are welcome to attend and all questions will be answered for all the distances but the mandatory ride briefing for 25 mile is at 750am on Saturday.

GECKO Ride Director – Mike Le Roux (970 398 0613)

GECKO Base Camp Communications – Kirsten Le Roux (970 398 0612)


Mike Le Roux

Ride Director



tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/870003 2015-06-16T13:22:26Z 2015-06-16T13:22:26Z Rider Update #1 Pagosa Springs Endurance Horse Ride
With Saturday's race day fast approaching, we hope that you’re feeling ready, and that you are looking forward to riding on the picturesque trails of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Below is information pertaining to the race. It will also be available on the website, and will be updated prior to the race with supplemental information, if necessary.

Ride Camp Location
The Ride Camp (start/finish line and parking) is located at a gravel pit in National Forest approximately 8 miles east of Hwy 84, along county road 302 (Mill Creek Road). Follow the Google maps link below. There will be sign posts for the ride along the road. Head east on Mill Creek Rd.  Continue onto Fr 662 for 3.0 mi. Continue onto Fr 665. https://www.google.com/maps/dir/37.2662033,-106.9920263/37.2700233,-106.8816228/@37.2683378,-106.9348201,13z

Rider Registration
Everyone regardless of whether you entered online or not but check in at registration. 25 mile, 50 mile and 75 mile will be able to check-in/register and vet check from 2pm to 7pm on Friday 19th July at Ride Camp. 
It is mandatory that all 50 and 75 milers pre-Vet and check in on Friday, as there will be no allowances for this on Saturday morning. 
25 milers can register and pre-vet check from 535am to 750am on Saturday June 20th at Ride Camp.

Start times: 
75 mile : 5:00am
50 mile : 5:30am
25 mile : 8:00am

All riders will be required to present their current AERC membership card at registration. Non AERC members will be required to purchase a one day license for $15.00 at registration (cash, credit card or receipt). All riders will receive their vet card and a map at registration.  ID may be required for pick up.
If you know others planning to register on the day or day before at the Ride Camp, late registration rates will apply. Online registration closes at midday on Thursday. http://www.joingecko.org/info.asp?uid=378 Here is the registration link.

Fees are as follows:
75 mile ride : $150 online/$165 at Ride Camp
50 mile ride : $110 online/$120 at Ride Camp
25 mile ride : $90 online/$100 at Ride Camp

Ride Camp Camping
The gravel pit that we have been permitted to use by the USFS is relatively small. We would appreciate it if campers could keep this in mind when parking trailers, trucks and rigs, maximizing the space so that we can fit everyone in. There will be porta-pottys on site. This is a gravel pit – so there is no grassed area. Please keep this in mind when determining what system you will be using for corralling horses. Dogs will be required to be on a leash at all times.
There are no existing facilities located at the base camp area. Trailer camping and camping will be allowed on site from Thursday 18th June 2015 to Monday 22nd June. There is no requirement for LD riders (25 milers) to camp, providing that they ensure enough time to have horses pre-ride checked on Saturday morning. USFS has allowed us to leave manure on site provided it is scattered and spread, and not left in piles.

Mandatory Course Briefing
There will be a mandatory rider briefing (race director on course and head Vet on horse safety and vet checks) for the 50-mile and 75-mile at 7pm on Friday June 19th at Ride Camp. 25 milers are welcome to attend and all questions will be answered for all the distances but the mandatory ride briefing for 25 mile is at 750am on Saturday.

Facebook Updates
We update our Facebook daily with race information, race photos, latest news etc – so definitely find us on Facebook here <https://www.facebook.com/pages/GECKO/324829909101> and get your updates first!

Weed Free Hay
The USFS has stipulated that we have to use certified weed free hay. We have done our best to source this through Tractor Supply in town and were let down this week when the order of hay did not arrive. Unfortunately we are not aware of any other place in Pagosa Springs that stocks this. Please do your best to comply with this permit restriction, as this is our first race, we will be reviewed for our adherence to the regulations, and this could impact it’s continuity.

Course Map
Here is the link to the latest Course Map. Vet Checks as noted on the map. The course will consist of a 25 mile loop and a 50 mile loop, with riders intersecting two vet check areas. GECKO operates under a special use permit with the San Juan National Forest and is an equal opportunity provider. http://www.joingecko.org/uploads/psehr%202015%20course%20map.pdf

On Course Vet checks
Dr Dwight Hooton is our Head Vet, other Vets on course are Dr Jim Baldwin and Dr Greg Bell.  We have over 40 volunteers helping for the first time at this event. We thank them all for their time. 

Bring your drink of choice and your s'mors for an evening celebration next to the campfire. Awards will be held at 7pm at Ride Camp. There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each category plus best condition for 50 and 75 milers.

Cut Offs
Race cut offs will be enforced for the 50 and 75 milers at the discretion of the Head Vet, subject to race and course conditions. The Head Vet will expand on this at the pre-ride briefing on Friday evening.

The long range forecast for Saturday a hot day of 85F, with the possibility of afternoon thunderstorms. There is plenty of shade around and a tent erected so bring your deck chairs. Also make sure you pack your sunglasses, sun hat and sunscreen for protection, as high elevation sun burns skin easily, even in overcast weather. This is the mountains, be prepared for afternoon lightening and thunderstorms. Weather changes quickly in mountain terrain, be prepared for everything. Make sure you stay hydrated.

If you are looking for accommodation for family or crew The Quality Inn downtown offers a discount of 20% off for GECKO participants. Down town Quality Inn <http://www.qualityinn.com/ires/en-US/html/ArrivalInfo?hotel=CO306&srp=LGECKO&pu=no> Use the link to receive the discount. Alternatively www.visitpagosasprings.com has accommodation options.

Res Hill Grill and The View Restaurant
The Quality Inn Downtown has a new restaurant and will be offering discounts – look out for these on Facebook updates. The View Restaurant uptown inside the Quality Inn has Sunday Brunch from 10m to 2pm, and all riders will get 10% off when mentioning GECKO.

Looking after your spectator entourage
Mill Creek is a beautiful setting but it is far from shops and restaurants. As we only provide aid station food for riders, please encourage your spectators/crew to pack some food and drinks for themselves as well as a deck chair or picnic rug, and sun protection as there will be nothing for sale at the Ride Camp.

Fresh coffee at the start line
Higher Grounds Coffee will be providing fresh brewed coffee at the race start.

Brown Bag Lunch for Riders and Volunteers
Subway is sponsoring a brown bag lunch for all riders and volunteers to be collected at the Ride Camp after 11am.

Recycling and Trash
We are delighted to have Elite Recycling at all our events this year providing trash cans and recycling bins. 

Local handmade caramels in your race bags
The Choke Cherry Tree has sent us delicious little caramel treats for your race bag. Check out their store and deli north of MacDonalds.

There’ll be rider surveys for you to fill out at the finish line from our Tourism Commission that helps funds events in Pagosa Springs. Each survey will go into the draw to win an item of SWAG! Look out for the surveys.

Course condition
The course is looking fantastic, there’s been some moisture which means it’s not too dusty, and the spring flowers are out in bloom. You’re in for a great day in the dirt. There may some residual mud from the volume of rain that we’ve had in the last few weeks, although there is sunshine forecast all week.

Support the businesses that support your racing
If you are out and about and come across these businesses, please thank them for the support and sponsorship of this new race.
San Juan Backcountry Horsemen; Dr. Greggory S. Bell - Centennial Equine Sports Medicine; Subway Pagosa Springs; Elite Recycling; Higher Grounds Coffee; Parelli Natural Horsemanship; Quality Inn & Resorts; Res Hill Grill; Goodmans Department Store; Archuleta Wildland County Fire; Choke Cherry Tree; Sierra Nevada; Moes Maps; Visit Pagosa Springs; Pagosa Springs Sun; KWUF; Southwest Land Alliance; US Forestry Service; Hands on Summer Art Camp & Tessie Garcia; Clifbar Company. 

The Pagosa Springs difference
Pagosa Springs is famous for the Guinness Book of World Records Deepest Hot Springs, and hot springs are known for their healing restorative qualities. After a long day in the saddle, soak away tired muscles at any of the hot springs facilities in down town Pagosa Springs. Healing Waters, The Overlook and the Hots Springs Resort all have day entry prices to enjoy the springs.

The GECKO difference
If you didn't already know all proceeds from this event go to GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) a local 501c3 charity raising funds to get kids off the couch, unplugged and outside! We want to thank you for choosing a GECKO event and we hope you feel good that by riding here you are also paying it forward. Look out for the GECKO Scholars on Saturday out on the course and helping, they are all heading out on their GECKO/NOLS summer adventures in July.

If you have any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on the details below.

This is the first time that GECKO is staging an event with horses and we are looking forward to the challenge. Thank you for being part of the inaugural race.

If you have any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact me directly on the details below.
We are looking forward to hosting you this weekend and most importantly - we hope you enjoy it!


Mike Le Roux
Ride Director

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/723614 2014-08-06T01:12:59Z 2014-08-06T18:12:57Z From Angette Pastuszek - "The Golden Three - Lessons I learnt backpacking through Alaska"

Dear GECKO supporters,

            I would like to take a moment of your time to thank you for giving me this wonderful experience.  Your support has given me a scholarship to a NOLS course. As an avid outdoorswoman and a future wildlife biologist this was a dream come true. My NOLS course has taught me lessons that I will undoubtedly refer to in the future. There were many lessons, but I picked “The Golden Three”.

The first lesson I learned is "take time to appreciate the hard work", after hours of continuous bushwhacking, sheets of icy rain or a horribly cooked meal, you have to appreciate the effort put into each action. Sitting on top of a mountain after a hard, sweaty 14 miles, look up and appreciate the brilliant orange clouds that stained the snow capped ranges. See the wonderful individuals you share this experience with. If you wouldn't have put that much effort into hiking that day, that view couldn't be that striking, the friendships not as special.

The second lesson I learned was to “lead by example and share the wealth”. When someone was having a tough day, the kind of day that slowly grinds the gears, the best thing you can do is share your trail mix, crack jokes and help them set up their tent. Because your positive energy and willingness to understand is the greatest way to improve group dynamic.


The third lesson, “when the milk spills, just clean it”. Some days when we were soaked to our skin it was difficult to not complain and keep going. But you just had to realize the only way to get dry was to make it to camp and crawl in that beautifully crafted sleeping bag and slide on those sacred dry socks. Vocalizing the level of difficulty and discomfort doesn't help the situation. Everyone already is going through the same exact experience. But it was these situations that we will remember the most, and what they taught us.

There were difficult times on our course, like the day we climbed a steep pass in blizzard conditions. We all developed mild hypothermia but we sang loudly to Journey, trying to overpower the howling wind as we waited to hear from the instructors whether we could climb down the other side. Three hours ticked by but we were unable to get down in this weather, we returned to our previous campsite and stayed there. Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty, right? It was a very humbling experience.

Another day we had set up camp along the banks of the Wood River with intentions to cross the next day. It had rained that entire day and didn’t stop that night either. We decided for a layover day to have classes on Wilderness Medicine. It had been raining for over 48 hours without stopping. Before crawling in my tent I noticed the small creek beside my tent swelling every hour. I said to my tent mate, “Jackie, we are going to be underwater in the morning” with all seriousness and crawled in my tent. I assured myself the 100 meters between us and the Wood was safe enough. Jackie was very upset that night because she was supposed to be an LOD(Leader of the Day) and she couldn’t figure out how to read a map. I tried my best to teach her and comforted her with an “Everything will be better in the morning”.

At 3 am I woke to a damp feeling creeping in my sleeping bag. I put my hand out onto the tent bottom, it was the consistency of a waterbed, and the ground had turned to Jello. I yelled to Jackie, who was still sound asleep, “Jackie we need to get out of here we are going to drown!” I frantically started to throw my wet belongings in my pack as water poured into the mesh bug netting of our tent. Jackie and I began to just start laughing, what were we supposed to do in this situation? Jackie said, “So Jett you said everything was going to get better in the morning?” I shook my head and crawled out of my tent still in my base layers. My foot hit the sediment with glacial river water up to my knees. I threw my bag on high ground and began to wake everyone up. As soon as 2 other people emerged from their bogged tents, we ran to the kitchen and started throwing our gear out of the river that was running through our cooking area. Luckily nothing was lost. I sat in the mud, my feet purple and numb from the frigid water.

The Instructors had decided there were to be no LODs that day, and we should cross the Wood River before it got any more dangerous. It was 4:30 in the morning and we threw on our wet boots and packs. Watershed off the mountains was 1 ½ feet deep. Just imagine, everywhere there was a knee deep river that you couldn’t get out of. We hiked 5 miles before we found a suitable place to cross. The water was belly-button deep in some places but we all made it across safely. We hiked another 3 miles to the airstrip where our re-rations would be. We made it there by 11 am. As soon as our feet touched the strip the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was surreal. We emptied our soaking belongings and hung them on every willow we could find. It looked like a used gear sale. Our instructor called the pilot letting him know we reached the airstrip. Ray, the pilot, decided to go ahead and bring our re-rations a day early without knowing what we had been through that morning.

Needless to say it was a long day, but not one moment during it did I wish I was home. Every hardship during my course was what made it so interesting. Even when a bear stole 15 pounds of food from my group and we went on a “low calorie diet” for ISGE(Independent Student Group Expedition, which is where we are completely independent of the instructors for 5 days and 4 nights). The stories you tell people after aren’t the beautiful and serene moments of sitting atop a peak, but the gritty and challenging ones.  

What made it all worth it was seeing the natural beauty that surrounded us. The natural beauty people like NOLS and GECKO help protect. I am so glad I got to have such a wonderful and amazing experience and be around unique and incredible people whom I’ve grown to love so much. GECKO and NOLS are for sure organizations I will always support for their dedication to the outdoors. They intensified my passion to teach the masses about wildlife and how important it is we protect and enjoy nature. Thank you so much for time, energy and support for what GECKO and NOLS stand for. It was because of those things I was blessed to go on such a wild trip, a trip I will never forget and for that I am eternally grateful.

Angette Pastuszek

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/715345 2014-07-17T21:24:29Z 2014-07-17T21:24:29Z This Saturday: Pay what you can with a new format GECKO event – 8 Hours of Wolf Creek

Get High with a brand new midsummer event on this Saturday at Wolf Creek Ski Area. When the clock starts you have 8 hours to complete as many or as few) laps as you can of either a short mountain bike loop or a short trail running loop…at over 10,000 feet of altitude!

8 hours of Wolf Creek

Saturday July 19th 8am to 4pm

Registration from 7am at Wolf Creek Ski Area lodge

8 hours Mountain Bike or 8 hours Trail Run, short lap racing.

Solo or option of Team up to 4

Wolf Creek Ski Area 10,000ft + incredible venue (ski lodge base camp)

Perfect long day’s training for your high altitude August ultra

Camping available at the Ski Lodge parking lot and for tents a mile away

No set entry fee. Pay what you want. Pay what you can. Pay it forward with GECKO

RSVP online to help us plan the day, and then pay when you get there (whatever you like), as a donation to GECKO. Credit card, cash or Check.

http://www.joingecko.org/info.asp?uid=381 (RSVP online, open until midday Friday)

We want this to be a FUN day out with Team GECKO and we’d love your support. Even if you can’t come out for the full day, come and do a few laps of for your favorite sport and hang out with us. Test your lungs at 10,000ft and have a blast celebrating summer outdoors.

Race Hard, Have Fun, Take a lot of Pictures and Enjoy the Fierce Beauty of the Wolf, while you Pay it Forward with GECKO.

For questions regarding the event, contact Mike Le Roux 970-398-0612 or Morgan Murri 303-475-6053 or email info@joingecko.org 

Reasons to Race

  • Do what you can. Short lap format suits all abilities, do as many or as few laps as you want to
  • Social and fun – base camp has food, music and a great vibe
  • Safe – short laps to try new things and come safely back to base camp while being in remote forest often above tree-line
  • Clif aid station – fully stocked the whole day!
  • New twist – pay what you want or can
  • Bring your own support and have it ready for your base camp return (cars parked 200 yards from the start/finish area, easy access)
  • Premier access to premium trails
  • Get outdoor for a great cause – proceeds go to GECKO programs
  • Do it solo or a team of up to 4
  • Smokin' hot Coolmax Wolf Creek event socks on sale for $10
  • Finisher ‘Wolf’ medals made by the elementary school art class
  • Scott Slind’s famous metal artwork winner trophies – one of a kind, worth going hard for
  • Perfect high altitude training ground for your late summer racing
  • Spectacular venue and high alpine scenery at the Wolf Creek Ski Area
  • The ski lodge will be open (ablutions etc) and there will be a grill and griller
  • Racers are welcome to help themselves to PBJs, burgers and brats, crew and family, bring your lunch and grill your own!
  • There’ll be a hot water urn as well, so bring your cuppa soup or hot chocolate and help yourself to hot water
  • Camp if you like Friday and Saturday (we are), tented campsites are a mile away from the start and everyone else can camp on the parking lot
  • Higher Grounds coffee for the early birds at registration
  • DSP Pizza providing a cheesy garlic knot half way to keep you motivated!
  • Sierra Nevada cans will be at the finisher line!

Little Reminders to make Race Day fantastic

  • Crew and family should bring deck chairs, pop ups to set up at the start/finish area or can use the deck at the ski lodge
  • There’s no shops between Pagosa Springs and the ski area, so bring everything you might need to be comfortable
  • Pack gear for all weather, at 10,00-12,000ft you need to expect weather changes and temperature drops (afternoon monsoonal showers are typical of this time of year)
  • Registration is at the main ski lodge from 7am to 745am, don't delay, get there early (it’s the largest building, left of the ticket office)

If you’ve  already signed up – thank you and here are the rules http://blog.joingecko.org/race-rules-and-instructions-for-8-hours-of-wolf-creek

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/715243 2014-07-17T17:01:46Z 2014-07-17T17:01:47Z Race Rules and Instructions for 8 Hours of Wolf Creek

This is a distance over time race. Meaning the final placement, within each category, will be determined by the person or team that covers the most distance (Laps) within the 8-hour time limit.


Placement: Should a person or team complete the same distance (number of laps) within the 8-hour time limit placement will be determined by the person or team completing the distance (laps) in the shortest amount of time.

Example: Runner 101 completes 10 laps with a final time of 7 hours 45 minutes and runner 105 Completes 10 laps with a final time of 7 hours 32 minutes runner 105 will be the winner.

Any lap completed after the 8-hour time limit will NOT be counted.  Therefore be confident of the time you will need to complete your final lap to ensure arrival at the final finish PRIOR to the 8-hour limit.


Check-in, Check-out procedure:

Each racer must check-in and check-out of each lap.

The ski lodge patio will be used for timing.  As you enter the patio you must stop and present your bib # to the staff at the check in table. Each racer must wait for confirmation from the timing staff that they have been logged in and time noted.

After handling your aid/refuel/restroom/team transitioning (all available on the patio/lodge area) you will depart the patio to the west, stopping at the check-out table, presenting your bib # and awaiting confirmation that the timing staff has logged and noted your departure time.


Course Rules:

Runners and riders will share much of the same course.

The entire first mile (and 1,000’ of elevation gain) is climbing.

Runners will depart the double track/road to the Continental Divide Trail before the Riders do.

Prior to this departure Riders have right of way, due to the steepness of the road and difficulty of making this climb while staying on your bike. With that right of way comes the responsibility to KINDLY announce yourself and your intention as you approach a runner from the rear. “Coming around you on your left….”


The Continental Divide Trail will be busy with hikers all day and they have the right of way at all times, please be courteous to other trail users.

When the riders join the Continental Divide Trail they again have right of way. This section of the trail is fairly fast and flowing single-track. Again, with this right of way comes the responsibility to KINDLY announce yourself and your intentions. PLEASE allow time for runners to step safely off the trail allowing riders to pass.


Once the summit has been reached and you begin the descent, RUNNERS have the right of way all the way to start finish patio. RIDERS, this means it is your responsibility to control your speed and allow adequate time, space and distance to SAFELY and Comfortably pass runners while descending.


The descent is a mix of remote/rough double track to high speed dirt service road.

There are several sections combining VERY TIGHT CORNERS, with VERY LOOSE GRAVEL!!!

Use caution and pay attention.

All of these trails and roads get very limited activity. Large rocks, large and small logs and branches are common and should be expected.



Teams of riders and runners may consist of 2-4 members. Each member of your team MUST sign his or her own individual event waiver.

Teams may mix and complete laps in any order they wish. The only rule here is that the team member that starts a lap must complete the entire lap, (no splitting or breaking up a lap).

Teams MUST exchange their bib number at the timing area and the team bib # must be carried on each lap by the racer completely that lap. Your bib must be available to show race staff on course.



Aid and support may be handled in either (or both) of two ways.

The patio of the ski lodge/timing area is available (outside only!) for you to leave supplies, crew, family, team members, bikes, etc.

(Please organize and handle your aid as to not interfere with racers moving through the timing lanes, and check-in/check-out tables.)

Additionally you are allowed to leave the course to visit your vehicle or camping area to use as aid/support.

However you do it. It is your responsibility to check-in and check-out of each lap. We don’t care how you do it but we strongly suggest you check-in upon arrival, aid if you are using the deck, then check-out as you leave the deck. If you are going to a vehicle we strongly recommend you check-in, immediately check-out, then go to your vehicle prior to heading back out on course. It is up to you, but if you forget to check-in or out your lap will not count!



Any emergency on course, if you have a cell phone call 911 then Morgan at 303-475-6053 or Mike at 970-398-0612, Then, alert a rider to relay the information to the start/finish line. We are all in this together and keeping each other safe is most important to all of us.


Race Hard, Have Fun, Take a lot of Pictures and enjoy the Fierce Beauty of the Wolf.




tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/694781 2014-05-22T20:18:10Z 2014-05-22T23:17:40Z 20 Reasons to Race the 2014 XTERRA TURKEY TRACK TRAIL RACE

Turkey Track is an old mountain classic trail race in its 6th year. Traditionally this is a spectacular 13.1 or 26.2 mile trail run on sweet single track, and with the start at 8,000 feet of altitude you're in for incredible mountain vistas and pristine mountain air as you follow the edges of dynamic canyons and through Ponderosa and Aspen forests. Plus your share of roots, rocks, turkeys and perhaps a little bit of mud! It has mellow elevation gain, less than 1,500’— the ideal early-season layout. Now in 2014 GECKO has added two distances 5k and 10k which is really the perfect transition from a 'road' to a 'trail'.

Besides the scenic trails, there are lots of reasons runners return year after year to this race,  here are a long list of 20 GREAT reasons to sign up:

Sign up at www.joingecko.org/xterraturkeytrack  

1. The race raises funds for GECKO (www.joingecko.org) a 501c3 Pagosa Springs based charity that aims to get kids off the couch, unplugged and outside!

2. We have a state of the art electronic chip timing system. You'll get accurate results fast.

3. All online entries are guaranteed a limited edition, race branded Coolmax Running Sock.

4.  Turkey Track is a race that prides itself on being a memorable day out. The friendly people of Pagosa Springs come out to make it so: aid stations are run by local community groups like the ATV Club Pagosa Trail Riders and the Pagosa Springs High School Cross Country team–the Pirates. They all run like clock work and are always well stock and well briefed.

5. We're iPod friendly if that's your thing.

6. Get points towards the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series.

7. Every finisher will get a famous handmade turkey foot adobe medals made by the local elementary school art class.

8. Winners receive handcrafted metal work trophies made by local artist Scott Slind.

9. Top Sponsor XTERRA Partners for on course fuel and great SWAG!

10. Killer after party at The Pagosa Brewing Company to celebrate a great day out.

11. Higher Grounds Coffee will be providing delicious hot coffee pre-race.

12. GECKO has many accommodation partners offering 15% discount to all athletes.

13. So you’re used to your course lead out being on a mountain bike, correct? Well at Turkey Track, ours is a cowboy on a horse. Welcome to Colorado!

14. In 2014 XTERRA Turkey Track has joined American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day which is a nationwide celebration of trails and an opportunity to celebrate our country’s 200,000+ miles of trails by participating in an outdoor event. Please join us on June 7th to unite in the effort to promote healthy living, protect green spaces and reinforce the importance of trails in our community.

15. 5k and 10k distances have been added – take your time, we’ll be out there all day anyway! Hike it or walk it if you can’t run, just have fun!

16. Pagosa Baking Company and DSP Pizzeria are providing delicious baked GECKO goodies at the finish line.

17. Why not take advantage of Pagosa Springs and soak in the Hot Springs afterwards (they are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the deepest!)

18. We don't mind if you run with you best 4-legged pal.

19. This year 5k and 10k distances have been added. If you're waiting for your family or friend to finish the marathon, why not run, jog or hike the 5k!

20. As always this event is included in the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series.

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/690509 2014-05-13T15:26:31Z 2014-05-17T20:49:29Z Turkey Track is an old mountain classic trail race in its 6th year. Here are some great reasons to sign up!

Register now at 


Turkey Track is a spectacular 13.1 or 26.2 mile trail run on sweet single track, and with the start at 8,000 feet of altitude you're in for incredible mountain vistas and pristine mountain air as you follow the edges of dynamic canyons and through Ponderosa and Aspen forests. Plus your share of roots, rocks, turkeys and perhaps a little bit of mud! This run has mellow elevation gain, less than 1,500’— the ideal early-season layout. It's really the perfect transition from a 'road' to a 'trail' race

This year introducing two new distances 5k and 10k - everyone can be part of the trail action! 

Besides the scenic trails, there are lots of reasons runners return year after year to this race,  here are lots of great reasons to sign up:

1. The race raises funds for GECKO (www.joingecko.org) a 501c3 Pagosa Springs based charity that aims to get kids off the couch, unplugged and outside!

2. We have a state of the art electronic chip timing system. You'll get accurate results fast.

3. All online entries are guaranteed a limited edition, race branded Coolmax Running Sock.

4.  Turkey Track is a race that prides itself on being a memorable day out. The friendly people of Pagosa Springs come out to make it so: aid stations are run by local community groups like the ATV Club Pagosa Trail Riders, the Roller Derby R.I.P team and the Pagosa Springs High School Cross Country team–the Pirates. They all run like clock work and are always well stock and well briefed.

5. We're iPod and Pet friendly if that's your thing.

6. Now part of the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series this year 5k and 10k distance have been added. As always this event is included in the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series.

7. Every finisher will get a famous handmade turkey foot adobe medal, made by the local elementary school art class.

8. Winners receive handcrafted metal work trophies made by local artist Scott Slind

9. Top Sponsor XTERRA Partners for on course fuel and great SWAG!

10. Killer after party at The Pagosa Brewing Company to celebrate a great day out.

11. Why not take advantage of Pagosa Springs and soak in the Hot Springs afterwards (they are in the Guinness Book of World Records as the deepest!)

12. GECKO has many accommodation partners offering 15% discount to all athlete

13. So you’re used to your course lead out being on a mountain bike, correct? Well at Turkey Track, ours is a cowboy on a horse. Welcome to Colorado!

14. In 2014 XTERRA Turkey Track has joined American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day which is a nationwide celebration of trails and an opportunity to celebrate our country’s 200,000+ miles of trails by participating in an outdoor event. Please join us on June 7th to unite in the effort to promote healthy living, protect green spaces and reinforce the importance of trails in our community.

15. 5k and 10k distances have been added – take your time, we’ll be out there all day anyway! Hike it or walk it if you can’t run, just have fun!

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/690461 2014-05-13T14:35:27Z 2014-05-13T14:35:28Z XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Race 7th June 2014 5k, 10k, half and full marathons

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/690455 2014-05-13T14:29:44Z 2014-05-13T14:29:44Z Swim, Bike, Run? Do the whole triathlon or get a relay team together and be part of the action! Sat 3rd August.

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/685600 2014-05-02T13:12:29Z 2014-05-02T13:12:29Z 2014 GECKO Scholarships Awarded

Congratulations and safe & happy travels to the five 2014 NOLS scholars. 

2014 Scholars & NOLS Course

 Deja Chappell                                               Wind River Wilderness 

Angette Pastuszek                                       Alaska Backpacking 

Jessey Hampton                                          Baja Coastal Sailing 

Davin Hanley                                                Wind River Wilderness 

Heidi Williams                                              Alaska Backpacking and Sea Kayaking

 Look out for them at the GECKO races this summer and ask them about their trip!

Thank you to YOU for giving them this life-changing opportunity.

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/680676 2014-04-22T23:11:52Z 2018-01-15T13:52:06Z Sweaty Santa 2014 - come find us amongst the Festival of Trees

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/680433 2014-04-22T17:55:06Z 2018-01-15T13:51:35Z Chow Down Doggy Dash & Dawdle 24 May 2014 - Bring your furry friends and have some fun!

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/674326 2014-04-07T22:17:49Z 2014-04-29T23:54:29Z GECKO has finalized the 2014 Events Calendar

GECKO has finalized the 2014 Events Calendar. Which one will we see you at?!

As a friend of GECKO please help us spread the word about our cool races, or even better participate, sponsor or volunteer. It's for a great cause!

There are lots of new exciting races and distances this year, plus all the old favorites.

There’s more information on the website at www.joingecko.org or contact or contact Race Director Mike Le Roux on 970 398 0612, email or info@joingecko.org

Here is an overview of the 2014 GECKO Events Calendar:

 Sat May 24th. 10am

Chow Down Doggy Dash & Dawdle 3k & 5k (City Market precinct)

Register on the day

Sat June 7th. 8am                              

XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Marathon, ½ marathon, 10k, 5k all on scenic 100% single track (Turkey Springs)


Fri July 4th. 8am

Star Spangled Shuffle 3k & 5k (Town Hall/Community Center Car Park precinct)

Register on the day

Sat July 19th.  8am

8 hour of Wolf Creek Mountain Bike & Trail Run (Wolf Creek Ski Area)

Registration details to be confirmed                                                                   

Sat August 2nd.   9am                    

XTERRA Pagosa Springs Off-Road Triathlon 1.5km swim/16 mile bike/6.2 mile trail run (Sullenberger Reservoir, Cloudcap Avenue)


Sun August 3rd.     9am                          

The PLOW Pagosa Lakes Open Water Swim Challenge 1 mile and ½ mile swim (Sullenberger Reservoir, Cloudcap Avenue)


Sat August 23rd.       630am

Devil Mountain Ultra 50k and 50miles – One hell of a run! Followed by Bonfire, Camping and a Pancake breakfast (Turkey Springs)


Sat August 23rd.       12pm                

Demons of Dust 5k, 10k & ½ marathon trail hike/run (Turkey Springs)


Sun September 7th.   7am               

Rocky Mountain High-est (Leadville, Co Road Marathon and Half Marathon)


Sat September 27th. 830am               

Mountain Chile Cha Cha Festival 5k, 10k, ½ marathon on downtown trails, followed by a free concert and Green Chile cook off (Town Park, Hermosa Str)


Sat December 6th. 10am

Sweaty Santa 3k & 5k Fun Run/Walk (Ross Aragon Community Center)

Register on the day 

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/657384 2014-02-23T18:25:16Z 2014-02-23T18:25:16Z EPIC 2013 Athlete Testimonials

Thinking about racing the Epic Mountain Challenge this year? This is what athletes that raced had to say about their experience.

"One helluva weekend of racing-vacation" Joseph Gray

 “The Epic Mountain Challenge was a very well executed event last year, bringing together some of the best mountain bikers in the country and a few international stars. “ Josiah Middaugh

 “A challenging and competitive event with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.” Travis Macy

“I left the EPIC Mountain Challenge feeling as though I was part of a new family.  Incredible group of participants with plenty of time to make new friends, extremely genuine and organized promoters/volunteers, enormous/equal prize money, and an "epic" ;) course layout.  Looking forward the EMC 2014 more then any other event this year. “ Heidi Rentz

"This was one of the greatest races I did.  Not only was the half marathon course challenging yet exciting (I was the runner), but the camaraderie among not only teammates, but also other teams was wonderful and special.  Everyone was cheering for everyone, regardless of what team they were on.  The anticipation of waiting for results and rankings made every minute of the weekend thrilling, yet nerve racking.  Everything about the race and weekend was something I had a hard time leaving.” Stevie Kremer

"Ben (Allen) and I always look to challenge our abilities both mentally and physically. The Epic Mountain challenge offered us a unique opportunity to go beyond our limitations in trail running and mountain biking. We discovered a new pain and mental toughness we had never encountered before and the competition was second to none racing against world class multi-sport athletes all champions in their own fields of XTERRA, trail running and mountain biking. Set in the stunning town of Pagosa Springs The Epic Mountain challenge catered well for all athletes and offered a wonderful friendly atmosphere through out the whole weekend. Ben and I had a blast, learnt a lot  and will be back next year for sure!" Jacqui Slack

 “The Epic Mountain Challenge lived up to its name. As it was truly Epic.  I have never seen some many top quality athletes so thoroughly destroyed by a race and yet loving every minute.”
Joshua Merrick

 "Epic Mountain Challenge is a unique multi-sport stage race, in spectacular surroundings. Make a weekend of it - small town feel with big heart and a lot of adventure on offer." Dan Hugo

 “I have such great memories from the Epic Mountain Challenge weekend! A highlight of 2013 for sure, can't wait for 2014!” Emma Garrard

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/650074 2014-02-04T15:30:31Z 2014-02-04T15:30:32Z GECKO to launch Highest Road Marathon and ½ Marathon in Leadville, Colorado

This September 7th athletes around the world will have a new highest road marathon and half marathon to add to the extreme sports bucket list: The inaugural Rocky Mountain High-est

Starting and finishing in the historic town of Leadville, Co. at the breath taking elevation of 10,152’ the race runs an incredibly scenic paved route along the bases of several of Colorado’s 14,000’ peaks.

The town of Leadville is no stranger to iconic athletic events, having hosted the Leadville Race Series, including trail 100 mountain bike and trail 100 running events, for decades. The Rocky Mountain High-est Road Marathon and Half Marathon will round out Leadville’s annual offering with an early Fall race, coinciding with the changing of the leaves, and cementing the cache as a premier racing destination for both trail and road runners.

The race is presented and staged by GECKO (Give Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) a 501(c)(3) non profit created by passionate ultra endurance athlete Morgan Murri, who is a 5 time Leadville trail marathon, 4 time Leadville trail 100 run and 5 time Leadville trail 100 mile bike finisher including a 2013 podium place for his race on a single speed. “My love for the community of Leadville is tied to more than 20 years of racing and training in the town and making friendships and achieving accomplishments that have shaped my life. Our desire with this event is to offer that experience and share the amazing history and beauty of this community with a broader range of athletes. The challenge of this event is simply focused on the altitude. The accomplishment comes in completing the race while enjoying all the beauty here, in both the local people and the scenery. Even if it means you are little cross-eyed as you view it!” Says Murri.

Murri has teamed up with Australian Mike Le Roux as Race Director to stage world-class events, which Murri started in his hometown of Pagosa Springs Colorado, in 2008. Le Roux brings a wealth of experience to the mix, including his own racing background, having won the 2010 Ultraman World Championships and currently holding the record for 100 miles on trails in Australia. Le Roux and Murri have been working tirelessly with the town of Leadville and Lake County to create a route that will inspire runners from all over the world. The Rocky Mountain High-est skirts Turquoise Lake and winds through the bowl beneath the 14ers of the Sawatch mountain range. The course is mostly flat with some gentle climbs and plenty of downhill.

In addition to the race, GECKO will continue its charitable work of  “paying it forward” and getting kids "unplugged, off the couch and outside.” Rocky Mountain High-est will include a kid’s only free fun race. Additionally Murri is liaising with Leadville schools for local applications for GECKO scholarships. To this end GECKO has also worked closely with long time friend and local Leadville businesswoman, Donna Chapman, to ensure that the race reflects the community and their needs. Chapman, an entrepreneur with interests in several Leadville businesses including City on a Hill Coffee & Espresso, Leadville Outdoors, Leadville Running Company and Two Guns Distillery, commented “I am elated to have the opportunity to partner with a quality organization like GECKO and excited to showcase Leadville to a new running demographic. Leadville Outdoors and Leadville Running Company are aligned with Morgan and Mike’s passion of giving back to the community and children. I have witnessed, through participating and spectating, Morgan’s team seamlessly execute top-notch events in Pagosa Springs. GECKO’s events are motivating, challenging, fun, organized, and provide recurring benefit to the community.

Registration for the event is currently open at www.joingecko.org. All GECKO events are listed here.


tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/608996 2013-10-14T20:08:22Z 2013-10-14T20:40:31Z EPIC Results

Here are the overall results for the Epic Mountain Festival


EPIC Solo – Men

                                           1/2 MARATHON    MOUNTAIN BIKE XC    10k    MTB TT    Overall

1st: Josiah Middaugh    1:29:38.959    1:18:17.061    0:35:57.445    0:08:27.051    3:32:20.516

2nd: Howard Grotts    1:31:07.658    1:16:58.634    0:37:50.692    0:08:16.426    3:34:13.410

3rd: Brian Smith    1:31:30.533    1:21:31.522    0:36:00.764    0:08:46.186    3:37:49.005

4th: Jason Donald    1:28:38.744    1:25:58.110    0:35:32.309    0:08:52.533    3:39:01.696

5th: Bradley Weiss (South Africa)   1:33:56.298    1:23:11.759    0:38:18.689    0:09:03.162    3:44:29.908

Epic Solo – Female

                                        1/2 MARATHON    MOUNTAIN BIKE XC    10k    MTB TT    Overall

1st: Emma Garrard    1:44:55.833    1:33:00.281    0:41:06.914    0:10:26.335    4:09:29.363

2nd: Heidi Rentz    1:47:21.489    1:33:16.894    0:43:42.268    0:10:59.445    4:15:20.096

3rd: Shonny Vanlandingham    1:47:54.305    1:38:45.623    0:43:42.628    0:10:56.682    4:21:19.238

4th: Renata Bucher (Switzerland)   1:53:24.174    1:33:42.223    0:44:52.695    0:10:41.496    4:22:40.588

5th: Fabiola Corona (Mexico)   1:52:44.455    1:40:14.996    0:43:18.912    0:11:14.424    4:27:32.787

Epic Duo – Open Team

                                        (Runner & Biker) 1/2 MARATHON    MOUNTAIN BIKE XC    10k    MTB TT    Overall

1st: Joseph Gray & Russell Finsterwald    1:21:41.013    1:15:42.261    0:32:22.954    0:08:24.854    3:18:11.082

2nd: Mcdonard Ondara (Kenya) & Michael McCalla   1:21:37.833    1:20:11.348    0:32:01.302    0:08:39.489    3:22:29.972

3rd: Jared Scott & Bryan Alders    1:25:29.735    1:17:04.159    0:34:15.553    0:08:45.977    3:25:35.424

4th: Sylvan Ellefson & Taylor Sheldon    1:30:03.084    1:17:33.237    0:35:33.478    0:08:30.354    3:31:40.153

5th: Greg Krause & Mike Friedberg   1:33:35.857    1:17:18.002    0:36:46.475    0:08:48.438    3:36:28.772

Epic Duo – Female Team

                                           (Runner & Biker) 1/2 MARATHON    MOUNTAIN BIKE XC    10k    MTB TT    Overall

1st:  Lindsay Krause & Megan Carrington 1:46:31.562    1:30:11.323    0:41:03.183    0:10:12.663    4:07:58.731

2nd: Rachel Viele & Gretchen Reeves    1:46:38.052    1:30:55.823    0:40:36.779    0:10:24.426    4:08:35.080

3rd: Stevie Kremer & Sarah Stubbe   1:39:09.015    1:49:36.299    0:38:41.746    0:13:03.299    4:20:30.359

4th: Flora Duffy & Courtenay Brown    1:58:38.449    1:33:26.523    0:43:10.114    0:10:47.325    4:26:02.411

5th: Jaime Brede and Marlee Dixon    1:57:16.547    1:35:12.852    0:45:08.482    0:11:19.732    4:28:57.613


Individual events:

Trail Half Marathon

Overall Male winner: Mcdonard Ondara (Open Team) 1 hour 21 minutes

Overall Female winner: Stevie Kramer (Female Team) 1 hour 39 minutes

The Hub Hammer 20 mile Cross Country Mountain Bike

Overall Male winner: Russell Finsterwald (Open Team) 1 hour 15 minutes

Overall Female winner: Megan Carrington (Female Team) 1 hour 30 minutes

10km Road Running Criterion

Overall Male winner: McDonard Ondara (Open Team) 32 minutes 01 seconds

Overall Female winner: Stevie Kramer (Female Team) 38 minutes 41 seconds

Rez D’Huez 3k Uphill Mountain Bike Time Trial

Overall Male winner: Howard Grotts (Epic Solo) 8 minutes 16 seconds

Overall Female winner: Megan Carrington (Female Team) 10 minutes 12 seconds

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/605988 2013-10-03T12:03:52Z 2013-10-08T17:30:56Z #1 Race Update for Epic Mountain Challenge Racers

Hello Epic Mountain Challengers

Team GECKO is looking forward to meeting each and every one of you this weekend for the Epic Mountain Challenge EPIC = Mountain[Run+Ride]2

Here is some important information pertaining to the race and the weekend. Please read this carefully. Supplemental information is on the website at www.joingecko.org/epic 

Bib / Packet Pick up for Solo and Team Event athletes

BIB / Packet Pick up will be held on Friday, October 4th at our host venue the Springs Resort & Spa (EcoLux Conference Room) from 4pm to 7pm. Access is via the rear car park and entrance into the new Springs Resort building. ID will be required for pick up. Late registrations will be allowed at this time. Online registrations close tonight at midnight (Weds 2nd Oct).



Friends and family will be able to register for the individual events (half-marathon on trails, XC 20 mile Mtb race and 10k road run – 7 hot laps) on the day of the event as well as on Friday night. Only online entries are guaranteed a swag-filled race bag.

Epic Schedule of Events

Please refer to the link below for a detailed listing and schedule of events. There is plenty of entertainment for Friends, Family & Supports so please share the link with them. 

http://www.joingecko.org/info.asp?uid=340 Dinners, Breakfast, Awards, Elite Q&A and all entertainment are listed on this schedule.

Here is a map of the event https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=z3Ugv3xojKss.k0Um1LGElF7c

Join us for Meals – compliments of GECKO and the Pagosa Springs Restaurant Community

You are your guests are invited to complimentary meals throughout the weekend, including Dinners (Friday and Saturday) in the Big Top and complimentary Breakfast (Saturday and Sunday). Our local restaurants has joined together to cater the whole weekend for you, and we’d love to have you all join us for meals. Please let your guests and supporters know that they are welcome to attend with you and share the Epic action. We will post the delicious menu to Facebook shortly. Beer will be on sale on Saturday and Sunday, and an aid station for athletes (thanks Clif Company!) will be located in the B OK Corral all weekend, with plenty of goodies to help you rejuvenate. Refer to the Epic schedule for times http://www.joingecko.org/info.asp?uid=340

Social Media – Live action updates

Follow the Epic Action Live! Thanks to Crushwave Design & Ideavise we will have live updates on Twitter and Facebook throughout the weekend.

We have recently started our social media feeds for Epic Mountain Challenge and we will be posting important updates, so make sure you Like and Follow us there.

JoinGECKO Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/GECKO/324829909101 * Epic Mountain Challenge Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/EpicRunRide2?ref=hl

@joinGECKO  @EpicRunRide2 Use the Hashtag #EpicRR2

Directions & Parking

If you’re not staying with our host accommodation The Springs Resort & Spa, follow Hot Springs Boulevard from Highway 160 to The Springs Resort & Spa.

Designated car parking will be via the rear access to The Springs Resort & Spa car parking area. 

Course Maps

Course maps can be found at:

Stage 1 Bull & Bar 1/2 Marathon Trail Race


Stage-2. The HUB Hammer XC MTB Race 19.5 Miles


Stage-3. EPIC Criterium 10k Road Run


Stage-4. Rez D’Huez Mountain Bike Time Trial


Event map https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=z3Ugv3xojKss.k0Um1LGElF7c

Weather Forecast

The most accurate weather updates can be found at http://www.wunderground.com/US/CO/Pagosa_Springs.html.  At this stage, Saturday s forecast is looking at a High of 52F and Lo of 28F. Please come prepared for all weather and cold conditions in the morning and evening. In the mountains the weather can change quickly and without warning.

In the meantime please send me an email if you have any questions mike@joingecko.org

Rest up, travel safe and get ready for one Epic Weekend!

Mike Le Roux

Race Director


tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/605427 2013-09-30T20:59:18Z 2013-10-08T17:30:49Z EPIC Program of Events, Epic Mountain Challenge 4-6th Oct Pagosa Springs CO


Pagosa Springs, CO

Friday October 4th

6pm                Ribbon Cutting

745pm           Elite Parade - Introduction of the expert athletes and their racing  

                        history. Race briefings and course information


Saturday October 5th

9am                Bull & Bar half marathon on trails

930am            B OK Corral and Epic Expo Opens (closes at 5pm)

10am              Coors Beer Garden Opens (closes at 830pm)

10am              Cheer the Elites as they start to come through the Finish line on Hot Springs Boulevard

10am              Huffy Toss (ends 12noon)

12noon           Pagosa Disc Golf Club Putting Contest

1pm                IMBA Epic Kid’s Ride (16 yrs & under) meet at The Hub Expo Tent

                      (ends 2pm) Bring your Mountain Bike or Strider/Balance bike (Free)

2pm                Pagosa Disc Golf Club Long Drive Contest

3pm                The Hub Hammer Cross Country 20 mile Mountain Bike

4pm               Ski & Bow Rack Slackline demonstration

415pm           Cheer the Elites as they start to come through the Finish line on Hot

                        Springs Boulevard

630pm           EPIC Awards Ceremony and Day’s Racing Review, 

                         Interim Results and Photos/Video of the day. Elite Q&A

730pm           Music by DJ 21


Sunday October 6th

9am                Hot Springs Hot Laps 10k (7 laps of the River Walk)

930am            B OK Corral and Epic Expo Opens (closes at 2pm)

10am              Coors Beer Garden Opens (closes at 5pm)

930am            Cheer the Elites as they start to come through the Finish line on Hot Springs Boulevard

10am              Huffy Toss (ends 12noon)

1130am         Ski & Bow Rack Slackline demonstration

1230pm         Rez D’Huez Mountain Bike Time Trial on Reservoir Hill

2pm                Free outdoor concert with Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge Band

330pm           EPIC Awards Ceremony and Awarding of the $60,000 Cash Purse

5pm                EPIC Mountain Challenge Closes

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/604382 2013-09-25T23:15:19Z 2013-10-08T17:30:36Z Impressive Race Career for Epic Solo Women's Entrant Fabiola Corona - Mexico

Fabiola Corona is 33 years old and hails from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where the Tequila and Mariachi were born. 

To the end of 2012 Fabiola has raced in 262 races with188 podiums including 47 international races.

This is her story:

"Since I was born I remember the sport and competition was in my veins, instead of playing dolls in the Street, I was playing at the park with kids (football) and running all around. At school I was a member of all the teams sports.

I graduated with a degree in Communication but I don´t know what it means to do regular work, because my job had always been racing Triathlons, XTERRAs, Adventure Races, Road bikes, Mountain bikes etc.

My other facet is television programs and reality shows. Winning is my motivation. I have been in 5 TV programs like: Fear Factor 2004 (I won) and Wipeout 2011 (I won it too).

My Highlights (Top 10) in sports:

1.     Gold Medal in Central American Games. Triathlon (2006) Cartagena, Colombia.

2.     7º place in Panamerican Games. Triathlon (2007) Río de Janerio, Brasil.

3.     First Mexican Woman to qualify for Olympics Games in triathlon (2008) Beijing, China.

4.     Silver medal  World Championship Duathlon Green Cup (2009) Costa Rica.

5.     Gold medal Panamerican Championship Triathlon Cross (2010) Peru.

6.     8º place World Championship Triathlon Cross ITU (2011) Spain.

7.     Bronze medal Iberoamerican Champiosnship Duatlhlon Cross ITU (2011) Spain.

8.     4º place World Championship 70.3 Vegas (2011) age group 30-34

9.     16º place World Championship IRONMAN Kona (2011) age group 30-34

10.  13º place World Championship XTERRA Maui (2011) Elite

In 2000 I began with adventure races (my passion) I raced at Eco Challenge Fiji 2002, then I discover triathlon in 2002. 2004 I start racing MTB (nationals), 2005 XTERRAS, 2006-7-8 focus on triathlon and ITU races. 2011 began with long distances: 70.3 & IRONMAN. 2013 finally SPARTAN RACES in México!

I have race only 2 Spartans: The Super in Valle de Bravo (1º Place) 2,700 mts altitude and The Azteca Stadium Sprint (1º Place). Now I am training for the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in Vermont (The Beast). "

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/604103 2013-09-24T22:25:03Z 2013-10-08T17:30:33Z IMBA's National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day event at EPIC Mountain Challenge

As part of the first annual Epic Mountain Festival GECKO and The Hub Bike Shop are partnering for IMBA's National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day at The Springs Resort & Spa in downtown Pagosa Springs: October 5th at 1pm. Meet at the Hub booth in the Expo area at 1245pm.

Bring the kids, bring the parents, everyone is welcome to come out and share your passion for pedaling with the kids!  Kids 16 and younger will have an opportunity to be part of the EPIC action and meet some of the big names in Mountain Biking and XTERRA racing. Rides will vary by skill level and will be on dirt and single track trails so helmets are required.  

The Hub Bike Shop will be able to supply some bikes for those who need them, but please bring your bike if you have one. Have a toddler with a Strider bike?  Bring them out for a fun time of riding with other toddlers their age!  Please contact Stephen Durham at 970-444-2238 for more information, if you need a bike or if you would like to volunteer.

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/604032 2013-09-24T16:19:02Z 2013-10-08T17:30:32Z Race with the elite athletes in the EPIC Mountain Challenge

It's exciting to read the names in the daily entries for the Epic Mountain Challenge as anticipation builds for the $60,000 Cash Prize Purse. But in reality it's anyone's game - there's no separate PRO division, anyone can race for the prize money.

Here's a few names you may recognize - all specialists in their fields of Mountain Biking, XTERRA, Trail Running, Mountain Running and Triathlon.

SOLO MEN: Josiah Middaugh; Travis Macy; Jason Michalak; Jorge Mendiola - Mexico; Tate Behning; Dan Hugo - South Africa, Bradley Weiss - South Africa & Ben Allen - Australia

SOLO WOMEN: Fabiola Corona - Mexico; Heidi Rentz; Shonny Vanlandingham; Emma Garrard; Danielle Ballengee; Renata Bucher - Switzerland & Jacqui Slack - Great Britain

TEAM OPEN: Joe Gray/Russell Finsterwald; Michael MaCalla/Macdonard Ondara and Jared Scott/Bryan Alders

TEAM WOMEN: Stevie Kremer/Sarah Stubbe; Lindsay Krause/Megan Carrington & Gretchen Reeves/Rachel Viele

Categories and Prizes

SOLO Women

Enter and compete in all four events. Lowest cumulative time wins.

1st to 5th place each receive: $5,000 down to $1,000

2-Person Women
2-Person Open

Divide the four events between you in any combination. Lowest cumulative time wins.

1st to 5th placed team each receives: $5,000 down to $1,000

Enter any of the 4 events

Male or Female Age Group 39 and Under or Masters 40+

1st to 5th. Sponsor Prize Packs Finisher awards to all

See you on the 5-6th October, Pagosa Springs CO Register at joingecko.org/epic

Check out the Epic Schedule: http://www.joingecko.com/uploads/gecko_epic_mt_r06.pdf

Josiah Middaugh is a top favorite to take home the Epic title

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/603434 2013-09-22T21:08:54Z 2013-10-08T17:30:25Z Race in Review: XTERRA Pagosa Springs

Despite a rainy, damp week leading up to the event, Sunday Sept 15th was a pearler of a day for the inaugural XTERRA Pagosa Springs. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. It was fun to be part of history in the making - there'll never be another first XTERRA Pagosa Springs. First ever swim in Lake Pagosa (or any of the lakes for that matter!); first ever XTERRA and first ever off-road triathlon! 

We are proud to share that we had a professional photographer at XTERRA Pagosa Springs, snapping happy action shots of you all day!  

Thanks to Trent Bona Photography, we've posted some incredible photos of the race on our Facebook page. Please LIKE the page, check out the Album, TAG yourself and your friends and SHARE the love!

There are also Facebook Albums posted by Melissa Webber, Stephen & Randi Durham, Joanne Irons and Teal Noelle (our GOAL Academy student entered into the Photo contest)...so many memories of the event!

Read follow up stories in the media: Pagosa Springs Sun



Winners are Grinners:

Congratulations to our XTERRA sponsored prize draw winners:
285 Jenny Ploss wins the XTERRA WETSUITS Vortex Sleeveless Wetsuit!
296 Ambrose Teasyatwho wins XX2i Optics Sunglass or Polarized Reader
251 Hailey Fortin wins a Rudy Project Gift (choose from their gift catalogue range)

A full list of RESULTS can be found on our website here.

Honors for the top spot was a dual between Jason Michalak of Crested Butte and Joshua Merrick of Alamosa, Jason taking it out the win 6 minutes ahead of Joshua in a combined time of 2 hours 11 minutes. Pete Mech and Logan Ot both from Durango, took out the top team spot in 2 hours 25 minutes and Shonny Vanlandingham crushed the women's field in 2 hours 27 minutes.

 Medals and Trophies made by local artists Tessie Garcia and Scott Slind were awarded to finishers and winners!


A sincere & heartfelt Thank You to our incredible volunteers and our SPONSORS - we couldn't function as we do without them!

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/603406 2013-09-22T17:58:34Z 2013-10-08T17:30:24Z Epic gets Personal!

Thanks to Rydin Decal http://www.rydindecal.com/ and First SouthWest Bank athletes that enter the Epic Mountain Challenge before 9am Monday 23rd Sept will receive Personalized Race bibs for the event.

We believe this will be a great event memento for athletes and will also engage the spectators on the course who will will be able to cheer the athletes on personally and will also see where they have come from.

Online registration for the Epic Mountain Challenge, Pagosa Springs CO 5-6th Oct is at http://www.joingecko.org/info.asp?uid=346 Sign up as a Solo, Team or for any of the individual events and be part of the EPIC action.

It's a great incentive to get in early next year - mark your calendars Columbus Day weekend in October!

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/603063 2013-09-20T21:50:52Z 2013-10-08T17:30:20Z Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge to Play at EPIC closing

Pagosa Springs Colorado is an authentic mountain town with sprawling ranches and cowboys in every corner. It's fitting then that the area’s premiere country and western band: Tim Sullivan & Narrow Gauge, a permanent fixture at Parelli Ranch in the summer, is going to be closing the EPIC Mountain Challenge with a free concert from 2pm onwards on Sunday 6th October at the Hot Springs Resort & Spa, until the Awards presentation following the final race event mid afternoon.

Tim Sullivan has appeared on stage with such well-known artists as Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Glen Campbell, and Tammy Wynette.  He has won a Songwriter of the Year award in Massachusetts for his song “Dance In The Rain,” and is featured on the soundtrack of a new motion picture, “Follow Me Outside”.  An entertainer and songwriter who has performed from Los Angeles to Manhattan, Epic Mountain Challenge is proud to have Tim and his band as a fitting part of our event.

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/600752 2013-09-11T16:13:00Z 2013-10-08T17:29:48Z GECKO Scholar's Thoughts & Review "Surviving 28 Days in Alaska"

Mason is at least 6ft something in his socks: tall, athletic, the school cross country captain and the perfect contender for a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course that traverses the wilds of Alaska with a Pack Raft. Two weeks after Mason was awarded the GECKO scholarship he collapsed with breathing problems. Doctors found he had a condition where blisters formed on his lungs with the danger of bursting, at which point his lung would deflate and collapse. When it happened again a month later he was taken in for invasive surgery where about 30 blisters on his left lung and 100 on his right were sealed closed.

With only a couple of months to go to the NOLS course Mason's health, fitness and ability to join the trip were in question. Showing grit and determination he rallied and was packed off to Alaska in late July.

No stranger to overcoming hardships Mason has had a challenging childhood. The eldest of 5 siblings from a merging of two families Mason has felt a great sense of responsibility for being there for them. He flipped between families with disastrous results and admits to feeling somewhat detached and lost from his sense of family prior to NOLS. This - interestingly - was his biggest outtake from the 28 days in the wild, his changed perspective on home and family and what that means to him.

"Some of the other kids on my NOLS course were already in College and so they were used to being away from home. I was surprised how homesick I was, for home comforts like my bed and a warm shower, and all the conveniences but also for my family. Before NOLS I couldn't wait to move out and go to college but now I feel like I have to make the most of the time I have left and I appreciate it so much more."

Mason chose the Pack Rafting and Back Packing tour of Alaska because he'd never done that before and wanted the experience. A pack raft is a 5ft raft that deflates into part of your backpack, allowing you to travel over land and rivers or lakes without stopping. He said that even though he was still recovering from his operation when he left for NOLS he wasn't worried about his fitness. He has a natural athletic ability and he knew he would quickly get his form back. So it was a shock to him to find just how hard the trip was, and not just from a fitness level but just the way the expedition threw him so far from his comfort zone.

"When we arrived at NOLS they explained to us that this really would be an 'expedition'. NOLS was taking us on a new course of Wrangle State Alias that no-one at NOLS has ever done before, it's very remote and isolated and it was truly going to be a test of survival for us and it was scary."

The expedition took them 255 miles around a glacier called Mt Wrangle and over the 28 days they pack rafted 115 miles and hiked 140 miles. Mason says 'it was surreal, I touched an iceberg everyday, I saw a glacier everyday, I also found myself on a 45 degree slope on a goat track that was as wide as my foot, it was terrifying. Every morning we would say to our NOLS instructors; Where are we going today? What's the terrain like? How tough is it? And they'd reply, we don't know! At first I was so freaked out by the unknown of it all, but then I got used to just accepting it and living each day as it came. They (the NOLS instructors) were like, don't think about home, or tomorrow or yesterday just think about what you're doing now and what you need to do to get through it." 

There were some amazing highlights for Mason on the trip such as the wildlife he saw (including three grizzlies!) but a really low point was when he flipped his raft and wasn't able to get back into it, resulting in him getting frigid ice water in his dry suit. It was also the day before they were due to meet their food drop and they had run out of food. "They made me a fire on the river side and I had to dry out my clothes, I have never been so cold or hungry or miserable in my life, I really wanted to be at home. But then the next day we were laughing about it and I felt like I had a great story to tell."

Now that Mason's home and on dry land again, back in a routine of school, work and cross country I asked him, how does he feel? 

"I think I work harder now, because nothing is a tough as what I did, like that was survival and this is just easy. I feel that I have a better attitude to things like my work, home, my job. NOLS gave me a new perspective on a lot really. It's made me want to be great, not mediocre, and it inspired me to want to achieve more, and showed me that I could. I want to make something of myself. I want to be a doctor, I want to focus on college, I know what I want to write in my college application now about what's important to me.

NOLS is really, really hard. I think only people that have done a NOLS trip will know what I mean. I feel like if I can survive living in the wilderness for 28 days then surely I can do well in school, do well in my job...Every night around the camp fire the instructors asked each of us - today what was your 'rose' and what was your 'thorn'? I feel like I can take each day and good and the bad from it, learn from it, and move on."

Interview: Kirsten Le Roux

Thanks to Mason for his candid, honest account of his NOLS expedition and thank you to everyone who contributed to the scholarship fun to all GECKO to facilitate this!

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/600740 2013-09-11T15:19:38Z 2013-10-08T17:29:48Z Wrap up of the Mountain Chile Cha Cha
In its 8th year the Mountain Chile Cha Cha proved to be bigger and better than ever before. The day started with a super-cute and super-successful Kid's Fun Run and then the main event took place, which was 30% up on starters from last year.

We want to take a moment and THANK each and every runner for choosing GECKO's Mountain Chile Cha Cha as part of your 2013 Racing Season and we hope that you feel as pumped up about the day (and your achievement) as we do. Many of you were first timers (first race, first trail run) and many of you have run with us so many times, you should all be very proud! We'd love to hear how your race went - post your thoughts to our Facebook page! We love that the Chile Cha Cha brings so many great people together (Pagosan locals and from far and wide!) and we hope that you made as many new friends and connections as we did.

We are so honored to think that while you're achieving your race goal you're also contributing to a GECKO scholarship, and that you helped give kids the opportunity to attend a life-changing trip to NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School).  We want to thank you, and remind you of the role you play by pushing yourself and by participating in GECKO events. When you race with GECKO you Pay it Forward!


We are proud to share that we had a professional photographer at the Cha Cha, snapping happy action shots of you all day!

Thanks to Trent Bona Photography, we've posted 1650 photos of the Kid's Fun Race, your Race, the Awards Ceremony and the Cha Cha Festival on our Facebook page. LIKE the page, check out the Albums, Tag yourself and your friends and share the love!

Trent has kindly allowed YOU to use YOUR photos for Facebook for FREE (You Rock Trent) but if you did want a high resolution version or print (without logos etc) Trent has a very user friendly gallery webpage here and very reasonable prices. You can also get the photos on mugs, magnets, mouse mats - virtually anything in fact...Take a look at TrentBona.com 


A full list of RESULTS can be found on our website here.

Here are the highlights: The 5km was won by Pagosan Connie Chubbuck in 28m50 and fourteen year old Lucas Curry 23m22 from New Mexico; the 10km by Nicole DeMarco 45m48 and JD Kurz 43m53 , and the Half Marathon was won by husband and wife Steven 1h39m19 and Catherine Fenster 1h39m53 from Durango who crossed the line second apart. Medals and Trophies made by local artists Tessie Garcia and Scott Slind were awarded to finishers and winners


Thanks to Blake Irons for Editing this Upbeat Edit of the Mountain Chile Cha Cha Trail Run - can you spot yourself? Contributors Muriel Eason and Jude Lindburg.

Thanks to Joanne Irons for this Kid's Fun Run Video Montage! This is Super-Cute! We love that so many kids GOT OUTSIDE!

This wonderful photo & video blog was created by Allen Lucas who was in Pagosa with his whole clan. "The Mountain Chile Cha Cha was a blast! Thanks so much for putting it on and getting so many amazing volunteers! I think it managed to get a number of our family members hooked on trail racing and hopefully they will be able to make it to Devil Mountain (thanks for adding shorter distances there)." 

Here is another article & video created by Bill Hudson of the Pagosa Daily Post.  

Media - Pagosa Sun

Thanks to the Pagosa Springs Sun for their coverage of the event, read their stories and see their photo gallery here:


A sincere & heartfelt Thank You to our incredible volunteers and our Cha Cha SPONSORS - we couldn't function as we do without you!
Yours in the Outdoors, 
tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/600745 2013-09-11T13:47:56Z 2013-10-08T17:29:48Z 12 very good REASONS TO RACE XTERRA PAGOSA SPRINGS

1. Proceeds from the race goes to GECKO (www.joingecko.org) a 501c3 Pagosa Springs based charity that raises money to get kids off the couch, unplugged and outside!

2. Entry as an individual or a relay team of 2-3

3. All online entries are guaranteed a limited edition XTERRA Pagosa Springs Coolmax Multi-sport Sock 

4. Inaugural event and the first time that Lake Pagosa has been opened for swimming

5. It's a Wet suit swim

6. Race on a spectacular trail system. You'll traverse the edges of narrow rim canyons with incredible vistas and mountain views. It's mostly fast flowing single track but you'll need to be on your game as there is a couple of technical sections. The winding trail system works you through spectacular Ponderosa and Aspen forests, which makes it rooty and rocky underfoot.

7. Special GECKO adobe finisher medals made by the local elementary school art class

8. Handcrafted metal work trophies made by local artist Scott Slind

9. Top Sponsor Partners for on course fuel and great SWAG!

10. Killer after party at The View Restaurant & Bar, Quality Resort & Suites

11. Why not take advantage of Pagosa Springs and soak in the Hot Springs afterwards!

12. Accommodation partners including The Quality Resort & Suites and Mountain Landing offering 15% discount to all GECKO athletes 


tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/600590 2013-09-10T23:33:58Z 2013-10-08T17:29:46Z Top Multisport Athletes Head to Battle at Epic Pagosa Springs, CO Event

Race 50 technical kilometers on a mountain bike.  Run a hilly half marathon on trails.  Hammer uphill in a mountain biking time trial.  Turn on the leg speed for a 10 kilometer road run.  Sound like a challenging summer of endurance racing?

Participants in the Epic Mountain Challenge, a multi-sport festival in Pagosa Springs, CO on October 5th and 6th, will accomplish all of the above--in just two days.  The brutal mountain race will punish even the most prepared athletes, and a big purse of $60,000 is drawing some of the nation’s top endurance athletes.  Male and female competitors will race as individuals and teams in the first-year event that hopes to become a mainstay on the endurance racing circuit.

“Four all-out races in two days mean that recovery is crucial,” says prolific endurance athlete and coach Travis Macy, of Evergreen, CO.  “I’ll rely heavily on Vitargo S2 drink mix and Hoka One One shoes to make sure my body is ready for the next event.”  Macy is coming off a win and new record at the prestigious Leadman, which involves running and biking 284.2 miles around Leadville, CO, as part of the Leadville Race Series, but he doesn’t think he’s the favorite. “ Josiah Middaugh is definitely the guy to beat.  He is incredibly strong, especially in the mountains on the bike, and there’s a reason he’s one of the best XTERRA triathletes in the world.  The Team Teenek Racing athletes from Mexico will also be very tough.”

Middaugh, who is a trainer and coach with Dogma Athletica, has raced very well in 2013, with solid XTERRA results and a win over Macy in the GoPro Mountain Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge, which uses a two-day, four-race format similar to the Epic Mountain Challenge.  “This race is a true test of endurance, and it’s perfectly suited for mountain athletes, including trail runners, mountain bikers, and off-road multisport athletes,” says the Vail, CO strong-man, who is rarely bested in the mountains in summer or winter.

In the women’s field, Tokyo Joe’s athlete Gretchen Reeves will battle Luna Pro Team racer Shonny Vanlandingham, among others.

Athletes also have the option of racing in two-person teams, with each athlete completing two of the four races, and competition in this category will be sharp as well.  One favorite duo includes Trek Factory Team rider Russell Flinsterwald and pro runner Joe Gray.  Says Flinsterwald, “I've never done a relay style race so it should be fun! I think my partner, Joseph Gray, and I will bring a lot to the table. We are both coming off our World Championships and hope to carry that form all the way to the finish line in Pagosa Springs.”

Weekend warriors will toe the line with the pros at the race, just one example of the family/community-oriented nature of the event.  One family, the Krauses of Littleton, CO, will trade off time with their daughter as Greg, a pro rider with Team Groove Subaru-Alpha, competes as a mountain biker on a male team and Lindsay runs with a female team.  “This is an awesome event for the whole family, and we are excited to see Pagosa’s fall color,” says Greg.

Epic Mountain Challenge information and registration are at www.epicmountainchallenge.com.

Photo credit: Jan DePuy

Photo caption: Travis Macy, seen here fueling up at the Leadville Trail 100 Run in August, looks forward to racing against Josiah Middaugh and others at the Epic Mountain Challenge in Pagosa Springs, CO on October 5th and 6th.

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/594865 2013-08-14T02:22:08Z 2013-10-08T17:28:32Z Mountain Chile Cha Cha - Ready for some Hey Bro?

The Mountain Chile Cha Cha Festival celebrates trail running, combining our incredible in-town trails with the famous Pagosa Springs music and green chile festival. Celebrate the series, the season, trail running and getting kids outside on Pagosa's killer downtown trail course. Beautiful, challenging and remote, all right downtown.  In it's 8th year it has some remarkable characters and traditions. Here's the story of Hey Bro Chile!

Hey Bro Green Chile celebrates their third anniversary this summer. With news from Hatch that the crop will be ready to harvest in early August, Hey Bro’s Andy Warden surveys his homemade chile roaster for any necessary maintenance.

“It all started because of the Patty Aragon Green Chile Cook Off that takes place in Pagosa Springs at the end of the summer. Everyone was eager to make green chile and eat chiles, and there weren’t any roasters available for on-site roasting at the event. I decided to make my own roaster to fill this need.”

“People love to hang out and watch while Andy runs the roaster” says Hey Bro’s female counterpart and wife, Cory Warden. “Everyone loves fire and flames, and the aroma that escapes from the roasted chiles is intoxicating. I always say I wish I could bottle that smell so I could enjoy it all year long.”

“I like selling the chiles” Hey Bro’s third partner and nine year old son Theo remarks. “My job is to help my mom with bagging the fresh, hot roasted peppers and helping with sales. I like eating them too, especially the first batch that is roasted with bacon to help season the roaster.”

“It’s definitely a labor of love” chuckles Andy from under the bandana he wears to keep the hot fumes from burning his nose and mouth. “We love using green chiles in our cooking, as do many of our friends. One friend buys our chiles to make his own chile beer. By roasting a few days in the summer we provide green chiles to many of our friends, other green chile enthusiasts, and stock our freezer too.”

Visit Hey Bro Green Chile at the Mountain Chile Cha Cha on Saturday, August 24th in Town Park, Downtown Pagosa Springs to purchase delicious, fresh roasted Hatch green chiles. Or call 970-946-4219 to pre-order bushels.

To enter your green chile (meat, vegetarian or people's choice) in the Patty Aragon Chile Cookoff click here.  

tag:blog.joingecko.org,2013:Post/593822 2013-08-09T17:06:38Z 2013-10-08T17:28:20Z My 20th Anniversary of the Leadville 100 mile Bike & What I Have Learned...
20 years ago this Saturday I rolled to the line in what was the first ever 100 mile mountain bike race. The facts that we were at 10,100' and going to ride to over 12,400' over a distance that seemed unfathomable to me and that it was raining weighed heavily on all 250 or so of us nervously wondering what the hell we were doing here?

The chatter and banter among most of us over the previous day or two, around  coffee and then the medical checkin (where we were told in no uncertain terms what the risks and hazards and possibilities of death were) and then at the bar, was simple and straight forward.... Can we do it? Can it be done? How long will it really take? And how much, really, must one suffer to get it done?

All legitimate questions with no true basis or experience for answers. This was the first, the beginning step into a void that has since been filled with legend and lore and incredible examples of perseverance and suffering.

I was 28 years old, full of attitude and anger and fitness and ready to test myself against that which had never yet been done. I was in over my head (and I knew it). And, I was scared shitless! (This was a place I had learned that I liked to be and have since developed a serious infatuation with, both being in over my head and being truly, truly afraid.)

My suffering that day only lasted 9 hours and 22 minutes as I become the 28th person in history to complete the now iconic, now historic, Leadville trail 100 mountain bike race. The fallout though has had a more profound impact on my life then perhaps any other single event in my being. The wheels set in motion that day have since guided me on a path of profound change, deep deep pain, fear and suffering and most importantly a dedicated commitment to sharing my love of sport and fitness and challenging ones self against whatever it takes for you to learn the benefits of stepping outside of what you know you can do into the arena of what you are absolutely scared shitless to even attempt to do! The rewards I've reaped from this continuous personal test and challenge of me against me is a gift that I've since become compelled to share as it has defined  who I am (as it has done to others as I have witnessed) and continually improves me as an individual, a father, a son, as a friend and as one man on this planet with the desire of making a positive difference in lives of the people I come in contact with. Ultimately this journey led me to create GECKO and to create races that give athletes all kinds of ways to get uncomfortable while at the same time giving kids scholarships to get uncomfortable too.... For weeks at a time!

My dear friend Mike defines it simply as "getting out of your comfort zone"  and it is as simple as that.
Or, so it may seem... I have another friend, who like to remain anonymous, that says, when speaking in the context of some of his incredible accomplishments, (like being one of only a handful of people on the planet to drive a car at over 350 mph.... Yes, 350) that he is Fear-less! I know him well enough to know that in that arena he actually has no fear.... However I also know that he is working extremely hard to prepare himself for his first ever running race, GECKO's Chile Cha Cha 5k in 2 weeks. And I will bet my Leadville big buckle against his 300mph+club  hat that come the start of that 5k he will taste that cold metallic steel of fear in the back of his throat. And I will go further in saying that the accomplishment of crossing that finish line will rival any of his car race finishes.

But, I digress.... Back to Leadville 2013 year 20 and my 10th time to line up at a Leadville 100 event...
I admire those around  me that come here every year and finish. Many bikers and runners have completed more then 10 or even 15 and one or two even 20 finishes in one of the worlds toughest races. But my story (and this is my story) is different. For me, and I recommend for you, it is about being uncomfortable. Not so much physically, that comes with almost every event. But mentally and emotionally. That is the arena where you get to amaze yourself. Where you get to prove to you (not those around you) who you are and what you are capable of.... And that my friend(s) is where the beauty is. Where you get to make you a better, stronger, happier, more confident, more secure, more gracious you.
Taking my own advice then (and wrapping up this chapter of my story) I chose to roll to the line at Leadville one more time, not with the simple goal of finishing (I've proved to myself many times now that I can do that) not with the goal of my fastest time yet (I've passed that test too improving my time each time I have entered)... If you know me you know I have an admitted love affair with racing in Leadville so I wanted to find a reasons and a personal challenge to do it again.

At the same time I knew that for the experience to be the most rewarding I had to get uncomfortable,,, really uncomfortable.... 20 years later than  the first time my comfort zone is pretty vast. With more  than 40 years of racing experience, competing in many of the most challenging races on the planet doesn't leave me much room to "scare the shit out of myself" on my turf and in what is essentially my backyard.... It took a little thinking, and then a bit of soul searching because once I hit on the idea I really realized that I was scared, truly about what I was considering. And, of course once I realized I was truly afraid I couldn't resist the challenge.

So here I sit. 20 years and 24 hours away from rolling to the line at the Leadville trail 100. This time with 2,000 brave souls. This time with 2 decades of experience and wisdom. This time with a tired 48 year old body that knows exactly how bad it is going to hurt and how deep the suffering will reach.

This time knowing it can be done. That I will finish it. But, and it's a big but (not literally, my but has always been kinda small) but figuratively, as I've chosen to take this 20th anniversary challenge in the hardest variation possible on a bike. How's that? By riding a single speed bike with no suspension. "Old school" that is even older school then 20 years ago. With more than 14'000' of climbing in the race and long long flats in between when everyone else is shifting back and forth selecting the best of their 20-30 different gear options I will have but one. One that is way to hard to climb the climbs with and way, way to easy to hammer the flats with.... And when it comes to the fun parts, the downhills, the rocky, rutty, gnarly downhills when everyone hoots and hollers and hauls ass on full suspension bikes with 5" of shock absorption, or the "hard cores" with their front suspension only "race bikes" I will be hanging on for dear life. Eyes rattling, kidneys slapping, hands burning, forearms pumping on my solid steel rigid everything little single speed. And just to ensure I don't let the challenge be my crutch. My commitment to myself is that I will do what I have always done and throw down my best time yet.

So, that's my Leadville story and this is my point.
Whatever box you are in get out of it.
Wherever you find comfort pick a spot that is uncomfortable and get in it!
When you feel like you are on top of your game enter a new one. Totally new.
When you find something you love, find ways and angles to love it that keep you motivated, rewarded and focused.
And most important of all... When you are in a spot that you are scared shitless and there is not a porta- potty in sight repeat the sacred Leadville mantra; "You are better then you think you are and you can do more then you think you can".

I absolutely promise you, you are.

Yours in the outdoors,

Morgan Murri
Founder, President