Monday, February 13, 2006

Matt Hart Sets Personal Record for Elevation Gain During 24 Hours of Sunlight Ski Race

Photo by my brother, David Bitton
As the sun sets during the 24 Hours of Sunlight ski race at Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, Colo., Matt Hart of Seattle, Wash., climbs toward the top of Compass Mountain.

Matt Hart of the DART adventure racing team invited me to be his support crew at the 24 Hours of Sunlight ski race in Glenwood Springs, Colo. The race began at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, and ended at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. Matt's showing was impressive. He completed 17 laps for a total elevation gain of well over 26,000 feet. He took eighth place out of 18 in the men's solo division. The course required participants to climb more than 1,500 feet to a ridge on Compass Mountain at the Sunlight ski resort, then ski, snowboard or simply hike back down. As his only support crew, my job was to meet Matt at the bottom of the hill each time he skied down, and get him ready to head immediately back up the hill. I'd hand him vitamins, coffee, energy drinks and food, put the climbing skins back on his skis and send him on his way. Forty-five minutes or an hour later, I'd do it again. Then again. And again. My brother, David Bitton, staff photographer for the Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colo., joined us at the race. Because he sent his photos to the Associated Press, his coverage of the 24 Hours of Sunlight ran in newspapers all over Colorado. What an awesome trip! I got in some great brother time, and was able to support one of the best endurance athletes I know. The more time I spend with Matt, the more impressed I become. Congrats, Matt! You are super-human in my book!


Hart said...

Miiiiiike! Thank you so much for your support. I couldn't have done half of the 26,350 feet I climbed without you there buddy. You were awesome!

Next year we return without frostbite and actually finish the race. I'm going for 45,000 next year!

David Bitton said...

What a great race. It was nice seeing you brother