It feels like a Sunday, but it’s Monday. I am listening to the ocean, roosters and feel the warm sun burning my snow-white arm. Where is my sunscreen? How did I get here?  Less then 48 hours ago, I was at the top of Imperial on a mostly sunny day with incredible snow conditions watching 200 Super Heroes race from downtown Breck in the 2014 Imperial Challenge.

There is a connection or a similarity between the mountain towns and small beach communities. A very wise lady explained it to me like this…“both locations are extreme”.  Those extreme qualities attract unique individuals…which in turn, emulate the same relaxed, low-key feel as well as on-the-edge attitudes.

I love Breckenridge. I love all of the unique personalities and events. The Imperial Challenge is one of those events that makes it so special. It’s a Spring time tradition in Breckenridge.  For the last 23 years in April, at the first signs of spring, racers dust off their bikes(or pull our their running shoes), grab their snowshoes or SkiMo gear and get psyched for the Imperial Challenge.

This year in addition to the biking leg to the base of peak 8, the event organizers added a running category.  26 bad-ass, crazy runners joined in the event.  Amazing! Winner, Ben Kadlec, finished in 1:49:29, no joke.  He made it look easy … it’s not.

Back in the day, bikers would carry their ski gear with them to the base of peak 8. Today that is called the “Retro” category. Dave Ruttum not only was one of those “Bad-ass runners” but he also did it “Retro” style.  He ran up to the base of Peak 8 carrying his SkiMo boots and skis with him.  If this sounds like something you would like to do next year, He recommends wearing a helmet so you won’t hit yourself in the head with your skis.  Dave’s finished the race in an impressive 1:52:54.

I must admit that I felt extreme envy many times during this race. Envy can be a powerful emotion. Motivating. Jamie Falcon, Marlee Dixon, Kate Zander and Ellen Brown are not only incredible athletes, but also humble and classy humans.   I day-dream of one day finishing a race with them still in sight. (like it said … dreaming)

In one particular case, the envy translates into a heart warming “attaboy” for the Smith family.  Deb, Todd, Ezra and Tai-Lee, four of the six family members of the Smith family participated in the 2014 Imperial Challenge.  Ezra, who turned 14 on race day (Happy Birthday Ezra), Tai-Lee 10 are among the youngest to finish the Imperial Challenge.  As a mother, I see this is an amazing feat in the parenthood category.

Overall, it was a huge success for all the Racers and Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports Promotion and his awesome crew!  Can’t wait for next year!  Enjoy the Climb ….

View All The Event Photos at