Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not Much on the Adventure Front

Things have slowed down since the Grand Traverse Run.  The little one brought home a head cold and promptly gave it to her dad.  Jeni escaped unscathed.  

I've done trips to the gym, and even hit a treadmill for a short while.  The gym was fine but the treadmill was as much fun as watching the grass grow.

I took a trip to Flagstaff and had plans to run Mt. Elden and perhaps even summit Humphrey's Peak, but rain and the cold did not allow for plans.  I finished work at 10 AM Wednesday and decided to just head home.
 I did get to have breakfast at Macy's though.  Without a doubt the best coffee shop on the planet.
 I also found this old gem while spending time in a clients library.  I'm thinking you could build a pretty substantial building if you followed this old code.  Access for wheelchairs and power supplies for computers might not be so great though.
Let's see if I can piece something together this Labor Day weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grand Traverse Summer Run

I completed the GT Summer Run, ~40-miles point to point from Crested Butte to Aspen over Star and Taylor passes, following most of the ski mountaineering race route.  I surprised myself and finished less than 8 hours, and was happy with the result.  No photographs from me, but there are some floating around Facebook.  Awesome course, great time, excellent event.  We finished at the base of Aspen Ski Area, 1A.  Anyway I now have completed both the skimo and running version of this event.  I'll have to do the mountain bike one next year.

On the way back we stopped in one of my favorite towns, Paonia - the organic growing capitol of CO.  There is a new town cafe called the Hightower and they make most of their food from scratch and use local products when and where they can - typical of this community.  They are known for their strudels and had apple, cherry, peach, blueberry and raspberry available - all of the fruits grown locally naturally.  We got the peach one, and it has the creme cheese filling (dairy from locally raised cows) on the bottom.  Wow, that was a post run indulgence I will not soon forget.  Stop by there when in the area, you will not regret it.  The town also has one of my favorite micro-breweries.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rico-Silverton Trail

I finally ran the Rico-Silverton Trail down from Rolling Pass to Silverton.  I started at Cascade and ran up Engineer Mountain and then worked my may over from there.  Really scenic and fun trail, but I should have checked about the road down below - it was crowded.   

 The next day the family decided to test my tired legs and subsequently dropped me on a trail run.  Fast crowd I run with.  

Monday, August 04, 2014

Late Starts

We had a very wet week from the afternoon monsoons, which means if you sleep in then the high country will be a downpour.  I stayed in town this week and enjoyed the local trails with cooler weather.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Red Cloud & Sunshine Peaks

Slowly working on my 14er list and I climbed Sunshine (14,001) and Red Cloud (14,032) this last weekend.  Here are some photos.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Crawford 100

I entered - and finished - my first 100 mile running race, the inaugural Crawford 100 held up in Crawford. CO.  It probably could be called the West Elk 100 as well as it is really the West Elk section of the Gunnison National Forest but even that will not help most people as this is a very remote place.  The photo below is Needle Rock a prominent feature on the way to the forest.
 All finishers got this cool belt buckle and a huge medal with another embedded image.  Spoiler alert - two of us finished and I took first place!  8 signed up and only 5 toed the line.  This is a brand new event and it is a hard one for sure.  
 I finished the race in Hotchkiss and ordered this double burger....that is 1lb of meat there.  Alas my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I only ate 1/2 of it. 
 This is a photo of the course from the race promoter Charles Johnston of EverRun Racing.  It is a new organization but it fits in perfectly here on the far western slope.  In the first weekend of August they have another 100 miler up in Ouray.  Man I wish I could do that one!
 A race volunteer Cherri Marcinko took this photo of me somewhere in the race.  she was awesome and came down from SLC just to help out!  The course had great aid stations, awesome and difficult singletrack, but the truth is I really don't remember much.  I just ran.
I do remember this one though, at mile 75 I was hungry and GU gel packs were not going to do it anymore.  Joe Oglesby a lifelong local of Crawford manned this aid station and he fed me Dinty Moore from a can and an awesome sausage and cheese biscuit.  Joe was great and I really enjoyed taking this break with him.
 I raced very well until the last aid station at mile ~88 or so.  It was actually mile 93 for me as I had gone off course a little over 5 miles up to that point, but after refueling at the aid station a huge downpour came and I was at ~11k on an exposed trail.  I saw a bear jump out of the trees below my feet (this was a steep mountain) and bound down below.  It was surreal.  I put on my rain jacket (again) and knew I was about 8-10 miles ahead of the guy behind me so I waited under a small tree for the rain to never did so after 30 mins or so I ran through the rain and got my feet soaking wet.  I wore thick socks coated in Vaseline which turned out to be a real problem as I got a bad case of trench foot.  I wish we would have taken a photo of that at the end - bright white with huge crevasses - those crevasses are the problem because it is a pinching pain when you step.  Really painful.  I alternated running and walking but on the final 5.5 mile road descent the rain had turned the caliche soil into a thick gooey mud.  So I walked the whole way...finally pulling out my socks (you can see them below in my hand at the finish line).
Pulling off the socks and having the shoes untied helped a bit but it also gave me two bubble blisters I had to contend with afterward (they disappeared so no aftermath).  But instead of finishing strong on a downhill road I came into the finish at a whimper.  The 2nd place guy came in a little while later and his feet were fine.  Thin socks and well draining shoes.  Wow, lesson learned.

The other racers were just awesome and very supportive.  I had know idea what to do or what to expect and each one gave me some tips either the night before or while on course.  All of the other racers were vets of at least ten 100 milers with one guy having done 12 since 2012 and he considered himself a rookie!  Great community and I'm glad to at least see a small part of it.  

I'm hooked on this local series and will plan on being back again in 2015!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Relay Creek Trail

 Back in 2006 I raced the Durango 100, a 100-mile mountain bike race that never had good karma.  It always rained for the dates the promoter picked.  The year I raced it, my stem broke on a steep downhill section at Purgatory Ski Resort as I finished up lap 1.  I'm still amazed at how I escaped inury there - I simply jumped off the bike, but the real story is that upon finishing that loop I was happy to take a DNF - the mechanic came up and offered me a new stem to continue racing, but there was no way I wanted to go back out in that muddy mess.  A little while later they ended the race due to the rain.  What I did get out that race though was an appreciation for some of the dirt roads in the area that take you to little used trails.  Relay Creek is one of those.  
 The legs were tired from the day prior, so running on a dirt road for a warm up was attractive to me.  I skipped Purgatory, but started right at the junction with Hermosa Park Road and the road to Cascade/Relay Creek.  On Relay Creek Road it was about 9 or 10 miles maybe until I hit the single track.  On a side note there are several old logging roads out there I really need to explore.  I ran some last year and those are absolute solitude.
Relay Creek Trail takes you over to Bolam Pass.  I started late - after 2PM but missed most of the rain.  A light drizzle at time, but perfect temperatures.  From there it was a long downhill from Bolam and even with tired legs it was a blast running so fast.  After 25 miles or so, Danny and Kylie drove on up and offered to give me a ride - worked out perfect and shaved a boring slog back through Hermosa Valley.  

The old Durango 100 helped me pick the date for the Durango Dirty Century which we held last weekend.  Deep snow on the trails is much easier to deal with than torrential monsoons.  As last weekend was dry and this one is wet, while not perfect, the weather this time is easy to predict.  Monsoons start at July.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Birthday Run

I started at Cascade and ran up Graysill to the Colorado Trail, over Rolling Pass and down Engineer Trail.  What a great route.  I've done this in the reverse direction but this one worked out well.
 The monsoon seasonal rains are back and I just love this weather.  Colorado bluebird skies are great for photos and scenic views but when there is moisture the air breathes so much better.  I brought my C.A.M.P. protection jacket and it worked perfectly in a slight drizzle.

 I saw several marmots including this little guy who could care less that I was within a few feet of him.  Meet Mick the Marmot.  
 Then back to regular terrain near Engineer.
Just short of a marathon taking the quick descent down cow trails from the Engineer Trail-head.  I could have tacked on a few miles heading back over to Cascade Road, but i don't like finishing on that road, as it seems to take forever.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Long Beach, WA

They claim there is 28 miles of continuous beach on the shoreline and from what I saw I would believe it.  I did a 2.5 hour run in nice 60 degree weather and saw very few others.  I started a few miles North of town to avoid the tourist concentration and it was a good choice. 
 Horse riders, cars, even people practicing golf were out there.  The homes nearby were all over the grassy earthen berm which I assume is there for storm surges.
 The sea pelicans were always on the move and would not let me get close, but the gulls never really cared much when I ran by.
 I did a see a beached harbor seal that apparently had been dead for some time.  I would have rather seen the living version.  Other than that there were a ton of dead sand crabs but not much trash or man made ocean debris.  Most of the sea wash was natural.
 Long Beach claims to have the longest continuously running beach line in the nation.  For my friends who have embraced the "fat bike" craze I would think this would a be a destination.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Twin Peaks

I found the route I was looking for after just one wrong turn.  I was able to find a crossover abandoned dirt road that allowed me to access both Parrot and Madden Peaks from Mancos Hill.  Some really good running, with scree scrambling up top.  Not quite to 12k for these peaks but they are the easiest to access from town as you park your car just a little off 160.  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Little More Exploring

I headed out Friday afternoon back up near Lemon Reservoir to explore the Burnt Timber Trail.  In the background of the first photo is the Endlich Mesa that I explored last Sunday.  This is all Wilderness but pretty popular with horse riders and hikers.
 The start of the trail was rough but it eventually evened out and then there were excellent views.
 One interesting thing was that caterpillars were everywhere.  They were falling from the Aspens and many were dead right in right on the trail.  It was hard to avoid stepping on the live ones as they crossed the trail.  I'm somewhat surprised the trail was open and not closed off during this period of their transition.
I started too late, but this could be looped into Endlich Mesa via City Reservoir Trail.  I hope to complete this route someday.