I cross the finish line at the Creede Mountain Run in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Immediately, a man walks over and tells me he has gone sub 3:10…but the record was set in 1988…an oil man from Oklahoma put up money for the winner. "Wanted this race to be as big as Pikes Peak!" A bunch of Kenyans came out of the woodwork and one ran a 2:55…"but that's not the record in my mind." This guy came out in the early 90's and "ran a 2:58, after getting lost!"…Obviously, results don't matter. No one knew what the record really was…I found myself wanting a puppy.
Two days later, at the campground just outside of Creede, I'm reclining in a chair watching the sun slowly rise.
"Well? How is it go'in for you this morn'in?"
I lift the brim of my hat off my eyes and look up at a dead-wringer for Damon Herriman's Dewey Crowe. He is standing next to me looking out at the rising ball of light.
"Yessir, I ain't like'in this cold weather. Caint wait for it to warm up a bit. COME'ON SUN!"
I ask my new friend where he hails from.
"Fill in the blank, Texas", he says. "We come out here every year". Lyssa comes over and sits in the chair next to me as we enter into a 40-minute-long conversation with our mystery Texan.
Spint two seasons on a fishing boat up in Alaska… fish'in for Swordfish. Out on that Bearin' Straight.
Mechanic, just helping folks out where they need it. Helped out a gal in Alamosa just tryin' to get back on 'er feet. Been here. Done this. You should go there. I'm amazed at all this man has experienced. Tells us how he is immune to poison sumac, ivy…"'cause his grandfather gave him a special Cherokee potion when he was little. The Cherokee knew things we'll never know."
Lyssa tells him we just ran a race around the Bachelor Loop.
"Run?! What fer when you can drive it?!" He says, at one point telling me I'm to scrawny, just like him, to be running too much. He lifts his oversized flannel up for emphasis, showing us a tattoo of a Hula Girl laying across his mid-drift.
He scratches the scruff of his chin. "Well. I think it might be time fer some coffee at my camp. It certainly has been a pleasure. You folks take care."
I do like Creede.
Last Turn at the CMR
Lyssa cruising to the finish