EVENTS: 2014 Flyathlon, near Saguache, CO



Now that I have had a chance to decompress from the 2014 Rocky Mountain Flyathlon, in this race director’s opinion, here are the Top 10 things that are notable from the event:

10)  It was sold out.  Sure, a couple of people had to bail out last minute (including my own brother- coming soon to a Shit List near you), so we ended up having a field of 33 flyathletes, which was more than double the number at the first “unofficial” race which was held in 2013.  Please see the following link for the Final Race Results.

9)  ALMOST everyone caught a fish.  While it is highly probable that some of you caught the same fish, it is impossible to know for sure because, as you now know, Middle Creek is absolutely loaded with 7 inch brook trout (again, see the Race Results page for more on this).  However, what impressed me most about the fishing aspect of the race was…

8)  …several flyathletes pushed the limits of the Team Fishing rule.  This rule clearly reads “catching a fish for your boyfriend / girlfriend / spouse / friend is cheating” and “using the same fish in two pictures (on different race bibs) is sad, and easily identified as cheating”.  Although no one documented either of these flagrant Team Fishing violations, there were several reports on Flyathletes stopping on their way to the finish line to provide coaching / moral support to those that were still fishless…  I did not anticipate this kindness, and I have determined that this type of selflessness is not cheating, but rather, is worthy of extra beer at the finish line.  The rules will be amended in 2015 to allow for altruism.

7)  We drank a lot of really good beers.  6 kegs and a bunch of recycling.  Your feedback indicated that all beers from the weekend received votes, but the top beers were Elevation’s Lil’ Mo Porter (36%) and Three Barrel’s Thurday Special Coconut Brown (32%).  Lucky for all of you, both of these companies bottle their beers, and the other beers that they bottle are just as good as these two.  Please buy all of our sponsors’ beers (including Gunnison Brewery and the San Luis Valley Brewing Company), let them know how you feel about them, and visit them when you head down to the San Luis Valley in the future.  Note:  Bud-Light Lime-a-Rita received zero votes.

6)  Flyathletes leave no trace.  In spite of drinking beers in the woods for two straight nights, there was minimal zombie clean-up for the race crew to complete on Sunday morning.  In fact, the Saguache Forest Service Ranger District was so pleased with our overall conduct, that they indicated that they would happily host us again, and / or serve as a reference if we choose to take our circus around the state.  I knew we were mature adults (thank god)…

5)  No one got hurt.  Yes, I made you all fill out waivers and I would’ve pretended like I didn’t know you if you had gone down hard…  But you didn’t.  There were some scary moments, but no one got an ambulance ride to Del Norte, we didn’t have to interrupt the Saguache sheriff’s son’s wedding, and I didn’t have to press the DeLorme “send in the black helicopters” button.  Good times.

4)  My volunteers are the best.  Sure, they include my dad and my neighbor, but this wouldn’t have come off without their invaluable help.  Rumor has it, one volunteer may have even offered you rye whiskey at the turn-around point.  Next summer, make sure to give them a big hug when you see them.

3)  Native fish made the difference.  Our fastest finisher was screamin’ fast.  To run 3.5 miles up a significant rock-strewn hill, navigate a flooded aspen grove twice, string up a fly rod and catch an 8-inch brook trout, and run 3.5 miles back in just over an hour and 23 minutes is flat-out awesome.  Ah, but running the same run six minutes slower, but with a shit-eating grin plastered on your face,  producing a photo of an 8-inch native Rio Grande cutthroat trout at the finish line…  That is just slightly more awesome.

2)  We raised a ton of money for a very worthy organization.  What can I say, but thank you.  All told, this year’s flyathletes raised $6661 for Colorado Trout Unlimited.  Special thanks go to our Top Three fundraisers of 2014, Mark Rudolph, Kelly DiNatale, and Tony Selle.  I have already spoken to CTU’s Executive Director, and he is actively looking for the best ways to spend that money, in large part in the San Luis Valley.  Stay tuned.

1)  We are going to do it all over again next year…  Based on your feedback, I am going to try to pull together multiple events next summer, including one closer to the front range, as well as at least one that will resemble the far-flung, backwoods festival environment that you experienced this year.  I hope that you will share this concept with your friends, that you will wear your 2014 race t-shirt to formal events, that you will pack your fly rod and catch a fish during the next trail race that you do (please take pictures of the fish on their race bib), that you will coordinate training run/fish/beers with the fun new people you met in the woods near Saguache, that you will shamelessly promote the Flyathlon through social media channels by liking the event on Facebook, and that you will let me know if/when you plan to do any of these things so I can be a part of them too.

Thanks to all of you for believing in my weird ideas.

run. fish. beer.

Andrew, The stout runner
Founder and Flyathlete

P.S.  Don’t just take my word for it.  Here are the thoughts of your fellow flyathletes summarized in one place…  Of particular interest, please see the race report of Flyathlete #34, Dan Wall.

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