Yours truly at the start. I was a little nervous, but I was ready. I turned 50 last year and needed a goal, something to mark my half century on earth. I always wanted to do the ascent. I trained for about nine months. Making the decision and sticking to it was the real reward. I put it many hours at the gym during December and January, miles of icy road runs in March, some painful rips up the Manitou Inlcine, and some great runs on Barr Trail and Longs Ranch Road in preparation.