For all runners who need an end-of-summer celebration, Gemini Adventures brings racers to Eagle Ranch with the festival of fun, Mountain RATS. Three-course options wind through the rugged mountains of Eagle, Colorado, with almost 100% dirt trails; Heavy Half, Marathon, and 55K. The festival begins at the finish line, where participants are congratulated with free beer or a Color Roasters coffee. Registration also includes winner awards, shirts, and finisher’s memento. An awards ceremony at the end of race day gives customized cowbells to the six categories of the top three male and female finishers of each race of each age group. Fully stocked aid stations are provided for each race; they are cupless but have snacks and hydration options for runners to fill up their water bottles. Mountain RATS Festival is an entire weekend celebrating those athletes who love the scenic outdoors. Saturday starts with sunrise yoga outdoors, followed by the start time of trail runners. Sunday is dedicated to the Firebird 50K & 25K MTB for mountain bikers competing in either a 50K or 25K, another rugged race organized by Gemini Adventures.
55K is the longest and most challenging option, with a course of 36.1 miles and 6400 feet of climbing. There are nine aid stations along the way with cut-off times at Spring Creek, station 4, and School House, station 6. The first uphill starts at mile 2.4 and continues with a variety of double and single-track trails as runners attack short, steep climbs and ascents that level off. Those competing in 55K will be able to run along World’s Greatest Trail with steep ascents and descents with open views.
Marathon is 24.2 miles long with 4500 feet of climbing. There are seven aid stations throughout the course, with cut-off times at Spring Creek, station 4, and Easy Rider, station 5. Marathon racers run with those in 55K until the School House aid station. There are plenty of steep climbs, and diverse trail types as runners wind through Third Gulch Trail, Pipeline Trail, and Star Wars Trail.
Heavy Half is a 15.4-mile run with more than 2500 feet of climbing. There are five aid stations, and the Heavy Half does not have a cut-off time. The longest climb of the course starts two miles into the race, with a climb of 4 miles and 1100 vertical feet. The rest of the course has short climbs and descents, open views, and a mix of double and single tracks described by previous participants as fun.
For those looking for meals beyond the festival, there are many options in Eagle, Colorado, or nearby at Copper Mountain Resort. Local restaurants include Mamma’s Italiano, The Eagle BBQ, and High Rockies Whiskey and Wine Bar. The host hotel for the event is Quality Inn and Suites; see details on the dedicated event site. Colorado is gorgeous all year, but September in Eagle is a great way to end the summer and welcome fall before preparing for ski season. See you there!