Niwot's Challenge 2019 Race Report

Well, I can honestly say, now, close to a year after the event, that I don't remember this event in the furious detail that characterizes my usual race reports. How lucky! We're not supposed to talk about the Niwot's Challenge at all.

I ran this race in 2019 for the second time, finishing in 27 hours and 17 minutes with Matt Fackrell and Jason Antin, my long-time collaborator on such beauties as "The Rainier Infinity Loop!" and the quite absurd "Tahoe 200, 2018 edition". We ran a good portion of the race with Todd Salzer; Todd guided us through the first two loops, but unfortunately didn't finish the 2019 edition. I know he'll be back in 2020, this year.

In lieu of a race report, please accept this photo and video tour of our glory.


We did the usual things. Nothing to note here. No black widows at the start.


First book!

We collected the next two books without any notable events.


We nailed Suffer with almost no scrub oak... except for the big climb up to "Jason's Knob", as Sherpa John likes to mutter late at night, mouth full of the fried-chicken nightguard he pops in each evening before bed.

Here's Todd climbing the hill. He commented around here that Niwot's was a "young man's game"... that was before chowing caffeine gum and snatching the map from Jason's hands, late in the night.

Look at this beast, so casual, wearing climbing pants on a run.

Up a steep hill, dominating, sending the gnar. Why am I making this face?

Chief's Loop

We met up with Matt on the climb up to the Chief's loop. Here we are, trying to find the first book, which eluded us for over an hour. We almost left before doubling back and finally finding the thing.

We snagged that book, the next, then bombed down a hill with a good bit of snow to a great refill at a stream in the cold. It took forever; I had forgotten my BeFree bottle, and Jason's was completely clogged from months of silt-sifting.

One mile down the road, hit the bridge crossing the stream and start climbing up. If we'd had a green laser pointer we would have been able to see the powerlines above.

Here's the tower, with no book!


A huddle, trying to find out what the hell happened:

I don't want to remember the madness of Book 14, where we wandered for hours. Or the Wall, climbing carefully up a 2k+ foot extremely steep hill full of dinner plate rocks. Thank god no one kicked anything down.

Crawling through scrub oak. Jason, sobbing like a bitch. Or was that me? Or the ghost of Sherpa John? It'll be forever unclear.

Far later, the next morning, Matt and I sit looking at the map, trying to figure out the final long bomb down the hill.

Here we are before the descent down the powerlines. It was so steep, so fun.

After a long, hot slog in the sun, we were done! We were Chiefs! I was dubbed "Chief Many Coves", after the events of 2018.

That's it for now. A 600 word race report, 14,500 words shorter than my Tahoe 200.


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