Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 22 - 28

Mon-AM: 2:25, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
After a very early morning (4am wake-up in Glenwood Springs), rolled into Chautauqua and hit the 1st, 4th, and 5th Flatirons before going to the top of the mountain. The blizzard hit me about half-way up the 5th, but I made it off and trudged to the summit of Green anyways.

Tue-AM: 2:00, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down Gregory-Ranger from my doorstep. Truly ridiculous amounts of snow on Green with more coming down. Took me a full hour to make it up the hill from the trailhead.
PM: 1:01 ~ Creek Path
Easy jog in the evening; really tight right hamstring.

Wed-AM: 1:36, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
From Chat after Buff photoshoot. Up Greg-Ranger and down Greenman-Gregory with Joel. Very tired today. Tons of snow (obviously), but it was all I could do to just stump along on the uphill. Obviously still recovering from the weekend.

Thu-AM: 2:14, 4400' ~ Bear & Green
Biked to Chat, then up Fern and back over Green. Once I got in Fern it was a shirtless morning and stayed that way. Lots of postholing on the west ridge of Bear.
PM: 1:18, 3000' ~ 1st Flatiron+Green Mt.
From Chat with Joel. Really really sloppy, slushy, muddy trails. Tons of fun, though.

Fri-AM: 2:27, 5200' ~ Bear & Green+1st Flatiron
Biked to Chat, and then had lotsa good energy in the legs heading up Fern and coming back over Green. On the way down I couldn't resist the exemplary weather, so I tacked on a lap of the First Flatiron, too. Great run.
PM: 1:02, 2400' ~ 2 x 1st Flatiron
Joe and I headed up for a lap on the First before Joel joined us for the second lap. Dry rock, wet trails.

Sat-AM: 2:50, 5300' ~ Flatiron Quinfecta
After finishing up shooting with Joel we ran over to scramble the 5th Flatiron after which Joel ran back to Chat but I continued with the 4th, 2nd, and two laps of the 1st. The descents off most of them were still very snowy and slow, postholing/bushwhacking through deep, wet snow. By time I got to the 1st I was a thirsty, bonking dude, feeling the sun on a warm spring day.

Sun-AM: 7:02, 13,700' ~ 2xGreen-Walker-Eldo-Bear-Green-1st Flatiron+Green
Ran up to the Gregory parking lot and started the day off with two laps (38 and 37min) on Green, up Gregory-Ranger and down the front. Then headed out to Walker and went around the loop CCW from the Ethel Harrold TH, to connect into the Eldo Cyn trail. Took that down into Eldo Spgs and caught the Old Mesa trail taking that up to the Mesa and eventually up Fern Canyon to the summit of Bear. That was hard, but my energy was still quite high, it was just tough dealing with all the slushy ice/snow above the Nebelhorn Saddle. Cruised down Bear's west ridge and connected back up to the summit of Green...the day's vert definitely started to catch up with me on that climb. Descended the front of Green down to the base of the First Flatiron and then scrambled that (13min) before downclimbing and grunting to the top of Green one last time. The final 20min to the top of Green was pure survival. I'd hit my last gel at the base of the First and I was bonking like crazy the last 1000' to the summit. Like, losing my vision bonking. Blood sugar was seriously low. Staggered to the summit where I bumped into Colin Lantz who was so kind as to give me a GU, which pretty much saved the day. Rejuvenated by the sugar, I cruised down Ranger to Flagstaff to Viewpoint which deposited me right back where I started. Felt super solid all day with the exception of the final 1000' of the last climb of the day.

Hours: 23h55min
Vert: 44,500'

I spent the first half of the week recovering from the lack of sleep and long outings down in Arizona last week, but the second half of the week was super quality. Of course, the suddenly spring-like weather helped things, too.  I'm very pleased with today's final really long run before Transvulcania. I'm starting to feel quite fit and can't wait to line up with the crazy stacked field in La Palma in two weeks.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 15 - 21

Mon-AM: 2:02, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Up Gregory-Ranger, down Greenman-Gregory from my doorstep. Woke to rain turning to snow and by time I got to the trailhead it was really dumping. ~4" fresh on the summit with plenty more coming down. Man, I'm ready for summer.

Tue-AM: 2:11, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Ran up to Chat to meet Dakota and Jurker for a run up and down Green. Up Greg-Ranger, down the front. We were slogging up through about a foot of fresh snow, but otherwise it was a very calm, pleasant morning, if cloudy.
PM: 1:00 ~ Creek Path
Cruisy 8+ miles out and back east from Eben G. Fine park. Surprisingly fun to get out and just roll along at a comfy low-7s pace, something I don't do very often anymore.

Wed-AM: 2:14, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Ran up to Chat and then over on the Mesa to go up Bear Canyon to the summit. Descended the front. Pretty nasty weather day, with a rain/sleet/snow mix and a 1/4" of ice covering everything, which wasn't a whole lot of fun to break through for the first 90min getting to the summit.
PM: 1:01 ~ Creek Path
Same run as yesterday, but today it was cold(er) and snowing and my legs were quite tired.

Thu-AM: 1:01, 500' ~ Gold Hill
Early morning jog with Joe in 0F temps. Tons of snow up there. Legs were tired.
PM: 1:18, 3000' ~ Incline/Rocky Mt.
Stopped off in Manitou on our way to the Grand Canyon and got in a lap on the Incline in a snowstorm. 23:25 ascent for me, not great, but good enough on tired legs. Continued on up to the summit of the mountain in ankle-deep snow before descending Barr back down to Soda Springs Park.

Fri-AM: 0:16, 500' ~ Durango
Got up in the +10F weather and started out on a jog with Joe before being doubled over with abdominal pains. Hobbled back to the Roost while he finished up his run.
PM: 1:03, 500' ~ Tusayan, AZ
Easy but brisk out and back on a FS road just outside town. Shirtless in the sun!

Sat-AM: 6:59, 11,500' ~ Grand Canyon Double Crossing
Used the standard South-North Kaibab route and clocked a 6:59:24 roundtrip, which was a 17min PR for me and I think ~30sec under Mackey's previously 2nd-fastest time (but still 6min short of Dakota's FKT). I didn't know if I was going to go particularly quick today, but thought I'd just see how the legs were feeling. After getting down to the river pretty quickly (despite being slowed a minute or two by a descending mule train), I decided to keep going steady and see how things shook out. Felt pretty solid all the way to the North Rim, hiking a fair bit above the Supai Tunnel, but then on the way back down I was definitely already getting pretty tired by time I made it back to the residence water spigot. Things got progressively worse on the run back to Phantom Ranch (stiff, achey, tired legs), but I pounded three bottles of water there (spending 4min at the spigot) and then climbed quite strongly all the way to Tip-Off, but above there things got pretty weak/queasy as I ran out of water about half-way up. At Tip-Off I thought there was a really good chance I could still get Dakota's record--even take 5min or so off of it--but in the end I was just psyched to sneak in under 7hr. Great run, and a good confidence boost going into TV, as I know I still have a lot of running fitness to gain. Had another 12min of running on the day, getting to and from the South Rim. Splits: River, :46; Phantom Ranch, :53-54; Cottonwood, 1:54; Residence, 2:09-10; Bridge, 2:42; Supai Tunnel, 2:56; North Rim, 3:22; Supai Tunnel, 3:35; Bridge, 3:43?; Residence, 4:04-6; Cottonwood, 4:16; Phantom, 5:08-12; River, 5:19; Tip-Off, 5:49; Skeleton Pt, 6:14; Cedar Ridge, 6:37; South Rim, 6:59:24.

Sun-AM: 3:25, 4500' ~ New Hance to river and back
Joe and I parked at the totally stealth "trailhead" on Hwy 64 (just west of the Moran Pt turn-off) and after much grumbling and groaning about various sorenesses and lack of sleep, stumbled off into the woods towards the Rim. This trail is an awesome, true goat route and about as technical as a trail can be while still being a trail. Eventually dropped into Red Canyon via some buffed singletrack and ran the ~3mi of wash down to the Colorado River. Took a quick dip in the green-hued waters, put the shoes back on and ran back up the wash. Chugged and filled our bottles at the top of the wash and then went into grunt mode to get back up to the rim. Choppy, technical and hot, but all in all an awesome way to get some secluded (we saw four people, one of which was a ranger) Canyon time before hitting the road back home. We didn't get driving until 2pm or so, hit Glenwood Springs right around midnight where we crashed out in a rest area until 4am, and then got up and drove the rest of the way back to Boulder, including some heinous, pre-dawn blizzard conditions on Vail Pass.

Hours: 22h40min
Vert: 30,500'

Not as much vert this week because of all the snow on the trails, but I did get in 135mi or so, buoyed by the big run on Saturday and the flat doubles earlier in the week. The Grand Canyon was as great as usual, and I was excited to feel as strong as I ever have (this being my third R2R2R) on the final climb up South Kaibab, but that vertical mile was still the crusher of dreams that it always is. If I'm going to go for time the next time I do it, I'll probably stash a bottle at Skeleton Point on the way down. The problem is I've never done a Double Crossing with explicit intentions of running hard, I always just wait to see how the legs are feeling. So, I pay for the non-committal attitude. The Canyon is always such a breathtaking and inspirational place, I can't wait to get back and explore more non-corridor routes, maybe this fall.

My Czech roots love the fact that he used the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra on this whole album.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 8 - 14

Mon-AM: 2:39, 6000' ~ Flatiron Quartet+Green+1st Flatiron
Biked to Chat and headed up with the intention of doing a bunch of scrambling before it started snowing in the evening. After climbing the First and Second Flatirons I was on a really good pace but then had to drop down to the Royal Arch trail and take it over Sentinel Pass to the 4th and 5th Flatirons (the 3rd is closed). These went well, too, and after the 4th I went to the top of Green where I bumped into GZ and we chatted amicably for a few minutes enjoying the beautiful morning. Finally motivated to get moving again, and on the way down I tacked on another high-intensity lap of the First (and its 700' of vert...always tough at the end of a long outing). Great run.
PM: 1:09, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Biked to Chat and headed up the hill with an eye to the sky, expecting it to start raining at any moment, but it never did. Good scramble, solid effort up the hill, and then a pretty mellow downhill (24min back down to Chat), taking it easy on my knee (which actually seems to be a combo of peroneals and IT band tugging on the fibular head).

Tue-AM: 1:58, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Woke to dumping snow, so ran to the trailhead and went up Gregory-Ranger and down the front. ~6" of fresh snow with more coming down.

Wed-AM: 2:11, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Same as yesterday except I went up the front and down the back and there was a ton more snow, making it quite the slog. Well over a foot on the summit. Cold morning, too, with temps in the single digits and high humidity.
PM: 1:01, 500' ~ Sanitas Valley-Red Rocks
Very easy jog in the chilly evening with Jocelyn. Been a really long time since I've been on these flattish but nice trails.

Thu-AM: 2:22, 4400' ~ Bear & Green
From Chat ran up Fern Canyon---which was kind of a slog with all the snow---and then broke trail all the way down the West Ridge and up to the to summit of Green. Trail is packing in nicely on the front of Green, though. All of this snow is going to melt very quickly, definitely be able to do some scrambling this weekend I think.
PM: 1:25, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Well, turns out I was able to get in some scrambling sooner than anticipated. Biked up to Chat even though it was sort of randomly sprinkling and ran up to the base of the First. I could see that there were a couple ice/snow patches in key spots up high, but the real issue was the water running down the face on the thin stuff right before it gets steeper and juggier. I just tip-toed my way through here, smearing on many a wet foot-hold, but everything went well. Up high I had to take the standard route onto the arete instead of my usual shortcut under the Ear because there was a giant curtain of icicles still hanging off of the flake. Lots of snow on the arete itself, but I could mostly navigate around. Slow 19min ascent, then. Postholed up to the summit of Green and then splashed down through the very soft and deep slush. Classic spring conditions.

Fri-AM: 2:00, 4400' ~ Bear & Green
Biked to Chat and did the exact same run as yesterday morning except that with some aggressively-lugged shoes (custom 110s) I was able to do the whole run sans Microspikes, which was really nice. Fern was in way better shape, but no one else had been down the West Ridge of Bear or up the connector to Green since I ran it yesterday morning. Really fun run, but I was bonking hard at some points, like, losing vision bonking. It happens.
PM: 1:17, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Went at mid-day and caught a gorgeous window of hot sun. Wet shoes made the first couple minutes of the scramble slow, but eventually I got going and was a bit surprised to see two other roped parties on the face. I actually tried to go under the Ear again but a big chunk of ice thwarted me so I just bopped up to the arete like last night. Sloppy, slushy, slippy snow for the rest of the outing.

Sat-AM: 5:21, 8200' ~ Green-Walker-Eldo-Green
Met Scott and ran up to the Gregory trailhead. Ran up Green via Gregory-Ranger then headed out to Walker Ranch for a lap before running down through Eldorado Canyon and up on the Old Mesa trail. Jurker headed home from there while I went back up Green via Bear Canyon to tack on an extra 2k' climb and push the day's outing up to 35mi. First long run I've done in a very long time and it went quite well. Despite the big week of volume and vert I felt strong on all the climbs and really enjoyed just getting out and cruising consistently for a full morning (as opposed to breaking it up with scrambling or hiking).
PM: Climbing w/ jLu in Eldorado Canyon.

Sun-AM: 2:11, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Biked to Chat, but even that did little to get my legs warmed up; it was a proper stumble over the mountain today. So I just went easy. But the ice on Greenman (fresh stuff from overnight, not frozen slush) got me on the way down and things in general just felt like wreckage. Nice to get out as always but kind of a relief to get back to Chautauqua, too.

Hours: 23h34min
Vert: 43,000'

Really solid week despite the big dump of snow in the first half of the week. Another month of weeks like this and I think I'll be ready for a good one at Transvulcania. Starting to get really excited about the racing season, feel like I've got fresh legs and a good level of basic fitness to build on.

Here's a post I did over on the Swiftwick Blog explaining how my relationship with them came to be.

Flatties 1, 2 & 3 in the fresh snow Wednesday morning.
Backside of the First Flatiron, from Saddle Rock trail.
Upper Greenman.
Green summit.
Longs (and Meeker, Pagoda and Chiefs Head): my favorite mountain.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 1 - 7

Mon-AM: 1:53, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta (1,4,5) + Green Mt.
From Chat, enchained the 1st, 5th, and 4th Flatirons before heading to the top of the mountain. My scrambling was really on point this morning, both on the faces and on the downclimbs. Nothing like moving quickly and efficiently over moderate rock, I love it.
PM: 1:04, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Another great evening run. There was a slight amount of sprinkling going on at the trailhead, so I headed to the base of the First with some urgency, not wanting to get caught in the middle of the face on wet, slick rock. As a result, ended up getting to the base in 11min and then charging up the face in 11-flat, which is only 10 seconds off my PR scramble. Downclimbed in 2min and kept working hard to the top of the hill, ascending into falling, big, floppy flakes of snow. Snappy downhill, too.

Tue-AM: 2:01, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta (1,4,5) + Green Mt.
From Chat, same exact outing as yesterday morning except that this morning I was slower, mostly due to very low clouds that were covering the flatties and making the rock wet/slippery. Rubber was not sticking. When I topped the First, the clouds were still lower than its summit and I was treated to one of the more epic views I've seen in Boulder in a while---clouds at my feet and snow-encrusted trees on the slopes above me. The rest of the run was stuck in the clouds, though.

Wed-AM: 0:25, 500' ~ East Longs Trail
Oy, rough morning. I've been fighting off a head cold for the last few days and it finally caught up to me. Drove all the way to the Longs Peak trailhead, but was struggling to keep it together and stay awake so should've known better. Trudged out of the parking lot and was hoping that I could just snap out of my funk but after only 15min on the trail I knew there was just no way I was going to slog up the mountain...sleepy, weak, super tired. Running back downhill to the trailhead was almost too much effort. Drove home, slept another 4hr, was in a daze the rest of the day, and went to bed super early.

Thu-AM: 4:18, 5000' ~ Longs Peak
Up Martha's/Cables, down Cables. Exciting morning on the mountain.
PM: 1:17, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Gorgeous day, so I went to Chat in the evening for a quick scramble and summit. My avalanche-battered lateral right knee was definitely touchy out of the parking lot but mostly disappeared on the uphill. Cruised the First but then on the march to the top of Green I could feel that my tweaked left foot was quite painful. I knew I'd twisted it pretty badly during the morning's shenanigans but I guess I was just more focused on my knee. I thought the run down would be horrible, but the foot was just tolerable. However, within minutes of finishing the run I couldn't even weight my foot anymore, and I spent the rest of the evening hardly able to stand and about 99% convinced that it was broken.

Fri-PM: 1:12, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Took the morning off because I was afraid my foot was broken, but after a short walk it seemed to be miraculously healed. Cautiously headed out in the afternoon for a scramble and run then, and the foot was fine. My knee still hurt, but mostly just on flats and gradual downhills (steep downhills it's fine).

Sat-AM: 2:52, 6500' ~ Flatiron Quinfecta+Green+1st Flatiron
Awesome morning. Was up with the sun and biked up to Chat to rack up some vert. Scrambled flatties 1,2,5,5,4 feeling strong and scrambling really well. Super efficient. Went to the top of Green then and on the way down was so psyched with the nice weather that I figured, what the heck, one more lap on the First was worthwhile. In the 2hrs since I'd been there the east face had gone from being vacant to passing five roped up parties...such is a Saturday morning on one of the more iconic formations in the country. Right knee is still janky.
PM: 2hr?, 1700' ~ First Flatiron
Casual hiking/soloing with Jesse and Kaley. It was Kaley's first time soloing the First. I was elated to score a #1 and #0.5 cam under a flake about 500' up, but, of course, they belonged to the next roped party that we passed a few hundred feet more up the face. How do you just forget $130 worth of climbing gear?

Sun-AM: 2:55, 4000' ~ Chasm View (13,100')
Bugger. First time I've been skunked on Longs. Spooked by Thursday's mishap, I got an early (for me) start of 6:00am at the trailhead where the wind was already ripping. It's often windiest during the hour or so surrounding sunrise, so I remained confident in the forecasted (and typical) 20-25mph winds up high, but that would not be the case. The minute I passed treeline, life became a miserable struggle. Epic blowing snow, snail-like forward/uphill progress. This stuff is basically de rigueur on Longs, so I tried to stay optimistic. It took forever to clear Mt. Lady Washington's north ridge (ok, ~20min longer than usual) and when I did, conditions somehow intensified. Like, doubly so. Forward progress across the Boulderfield toward Chasm View and the Cables was mostly accomplished on all fours and I dreaded lifting my head amongst the maelstrom just to keep a bearing on where I was going. Which was often futile anyhow because the status quo was a hurricane white-out. Climbing the Cables in this was out of the question, and I knew things would only be worse on the west side of the Keyhole. Groveled my way to the snow apron below the Cables at ~13,100' before finally deciding to turn around. Unfortunately, things were just as bad on the way down until I got to treeline when it turned into an idyllic, mostly calm, gorgeous spring day. Things were so mellow and sunny at the trailhead that I almost couldn't believe I'd bailed. But then I looked back up toward the summit, saw the mountain still completely obscured in a wall of white, and was fine with my decision. I guess that's sort of the point of this whole Longs thing. If I weren't going for a bunch of summits I probably wouldn't have even headed up at all this morning, let alone gotten to 13k'. If you get out enough, you're bound to hit some non-ideal days.
PM: 1:07, 3000' ~ First Flatiron+Green Mt.
Quick evening lap on the hill, in what is becoming a nice trend of second-run-of-the-day-high-energy. Locked up the bike and felt relatively peppy right out of the gate. Felt like I was really going for it on the east face of the First, but couldn't quite duck under 12min (12:05 scramble) hitting the summit in 23min. Once I was on the arete there was a very strong wind that also slowed the downclimb. Felt strong on the rest of the outing, but my right knee/fibula/peroneals are still pretty touchy from Thursday.

Hours: 20h04min
Vert: 38,700'

Kind of a weird week. Basically took a day off right in the middle of the week, and then had another easy day on Friday, but still hit some solid volume, so things are looking good. Starting to feel fit for the first time since last October, which is always nice. Super tough week up on Longs...barely made it out of the parking lot on Wednesday, bit of a calamity on Thursday, and then turned back high on the mountain on Sunday. Good chance I won't even make any attempts this coming week considering the buckets of snow we're supposed to get over the next 48hrs. I'm going to take that as an opportunity to test the shin with a few outings of more continuous running this week.  Maybe--gasp--even a proper long (4hr+) run?!

The east face of Longs as seen from Mt. Lady Washington.
Dreamweaver couloir on Mt Meeker (left) and the Loft.
The Flying Dutchman couloir is looking nice.
Sunrise over the Twin Sisters on Sunday morning.