Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week Summary: Aug 20 - 26


Tue-AM: 1:11, 1500' ~ Second Flatiron
Incredibly slow stroll up to the base of the 2nd, crawled up the rock (Freeway), and then limped back down to Chautauqua at a very very easy walk. Tired, tight legs still, but nice to get out and move them around a little.

Wed-AM: 1:29, 1500' ~ First Flatiron
Hiked up to the base of the First with only a tiny bit of running mixed in, scrambled the East Face in a very fatigued and casual 35min, did the downclimb in 9min and then hiked slowly back down to Chautauqua as the quads were pretty worked after all the muscle tension required on the climb.  A couple desperate moves up there in my burnt shoes.
PM: 0:26 ~ Creek Path+barefoot
Very very easy run with Jocelyn with ~10min of barefoot on the grass in the middle.  Medial knee/adductor attachment flared up a little bit, which is typical for me after a 100mi race.

Thu-AM: 1:29, 2700' ~ 2nd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Went with Buzz, Anna, and Joel from Chat. Actually ran up to the base, so the legs are coming around.  Casual on the rock itself as Buzz showed me the route to actually get on the east face of the Pullman Car (the 2nd's summit block) and gain the true summit.  Not too tricky, and the downclimb is simple, too, but there are a few feet of 5.6 or so to gain the Car's south face.  Continued on to the top of the mountain and the legs continued to feel good, but my quads were still dead/twingy/tight on the descent of Ranger and Gregory.

Fri-AM: 1:33, 3500' ~ 2nd+3rd Flatirons+Green Mt.
Fun link-up this morning with Joel in tow. Jogged up to the base of the 2nd, scrambled it fully to its summit in 11:30, downclimbed the west face and then dropped down the boulder field to the south to the East Bench of the Third where a half a dozen dudes with ropes and full racks looked like they were gearing up for war.  Joel and I scooted past and I proceeded to PR with an 8:14 scramble to the summit (40:49 total from Chautauqua).  The downclimb of the SW Chimney was a PR for me too at 9min (Joel is a pretty accomplished climber, so has zero problem keeping up) before hunching over and grunting to the summit of Green itself. Beautiful on top with finally a day w/o much haze or smoke.  Descended the frontside of the mountain back to Chat (quads are still a bit battered). Back at the parking lot I was disappointed that we hadn't begun the morning with a scramble of the First in order to complete the full link-up.  Tomorrow.

Sat-AM: 2:35, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Ran up to Chat with Joel and then headed up the First Flatiron (slow 25:50 ascent...had to wait for one party, plus I had some route/hold-finding issues on the thin stuff), down to the base of the Second, climbed Free For All (12:40 climbing split) , boulder-hopped down and over to the base of the Third, climbed the Third (7:55 PR climbing split), downclimbed the SW Chimney and then headed up to the summit of Green before descending back to Chautauqua and running back down to the creek.  Awesome morning, with the Chat-to-Chat Trifecta+Green Link-up being done in 2:09:40.
PM: 1:04, 500' ~ Creek Path+2mi barefoot
Jogged over to Kitt Field, did some barefootin', and then jogged up to Chautauqua before heading back down to the creek.  Gorgeous summer evening and the legs actually felt quite good.

Sun-AM: 2:26, 4500' ~ Flatiron Trifecta+Green Mt.
Ran up to Chat and then the base of the First with tired legs. Scrambled First in 22min, quick 4min downclimb, scrambled Second in 12:45, descended to the East Bench of the Third and scrambled it in a PR 7:35 before downclimbing in 7min and continuing on to the summit of Green. Legs were pretty tapped this morning, but I was psyched to feel much more confident on the couple tricky sections of the First and to PR on the Third.  Still need to get over and check out the Fourth and Fifth.

Hours: 9h47min
Vert: 18,700'

Nice recovery week.  The ol' pins have come around pretty well. I'm not sore at all any more, just still feeling a little weak and a bit battered in the quads, hence no running this evening.  I was very excited to link up the Flatirons Trifecta today and yesterday and will probably hit that once more tomorrow before retreating back to the high hills for some more altitude time before the weather starts shutting it down for the season.  I still have a couple of high-altitude exploits (hopefully a Glacier Gorge Traverse in RMNP and a couple trips up the Grand Teton) planned before I head over to Spain, so I want to keep in touch with my acclimatization just a little bit longer.

Buzz leading the way to the base of the Pullman Car on the Second Flatiron. Photo: Anna Frost.
Sussing the route up the Second Flatiron with Joel and Buzz. Photo: Anna Frost.
First Green summit in a while on Thursday morning. Photo: Anna Frost.
More irresistibly catchy Little Dragon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Week Summary: Aug 13 - 19

Mon-AM: 0:54 ~ Turquoise Lake Trail
Easy, flat run w/ Frosty.

Tue-AM: 1:00, 300' ~ Hagerman Pass Rd
Easy taper run.

Wed-AM: 0:52, 300' ~ Turquoise Lake Trail
Another easy run out to Tabor Boat Ramp and back from below the lake.

Thu-AM: 0:53, 300' ~ Turquoise Lake Trail
Ditto, but this time with my friend Martin.

Fri-AM: 0:38, 200' ~ Boulevard
Easy loop with Frosty.

Sat- Leadville 100 in 17:21:09, 17,400'
4th place.

Sun - off.

Hours: 21h38min
Vert: 18,500'

Not much to say, except I'm glad to have finished Leadville and hopefully the recovery goes smoothly and quickly so I can get back to fun stuff again before the high country starts getting snow.

And this.  This is good. Both bands courtesy of Sweden.

In my head the entire race:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Summary: Aug 6 - 12

Mon-AM: 4:01, 8000' ~ Pikes Peak Marathon Course+ (14,115')
Parked at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs and ran to the summit of Pikes Peak in 2:32:58 from the starting line.  My legs felt okay for a while, but the last couple of miles seemed to really be a struggle despite the very shallow grade and what I consider to be very good altitude acclimation at this point.  Overall, my climbing legs were just sluggish this morning, probably from the late evening ascent of Cameron Cone last night. Stopped the watch and took a quick break on the summit to grab a drink of water in the tourist-swarmed summit gift shop.  Frosty was still running up and was planning on hitching back down to the start, so I thought I'd give the descent a little gas and race her back to the bottom.  Really surprised to get back down to Barr Camp in only 36:50 and then eased the effort on the smooth track below there for a 1:20:50 descent back to the finish line in downtown Manitou, so a 3:53 PPM not counting the break on the summit.  Jogged around some and then headed back over to Memorial where I met Anna just seconds after her ride from the summit dropped her off. Good timing.

Tue-AM: 1:32, 3500' ~ 3rd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Ran from Chat to the East Bench of the Third where I scrambled the standard East Face to the summit, then downclimbed the Southwest Chimney before continuing on to the summit of Green. Met Anna there and ran back down with a couple of short side trips for some scrambling on Jaws and the 2nd Flatiron.  Looks like a long outing but 21min of that was spent downclimbing off of the Third.
PM: 2:05, 4500' ~ Torreys & Grays Peaks (14,267' & 14,270')
Nice evening jog up the peaks, via the Kelso Ridge. Super idyllic conditions on the summits--calm, clear, warm with pleasing light.  It's nice doing these mountains in the evening as the usual crowds are non-existent.

Wed-AM: 2:17, 4500' ~ Mt. Elbert (14,433')
Up the West Ridge and down the NE Ridge. Remarkably crowded summit this morning, so I was really glad I took the backside route (which I've never seen another human on).
PM: 1:01, 500' ~ Boulevard+barefoot turf
Nice evening shake-out on the start/end of the LT100 course plus 15min barefootin' and striders on the turf field. Some nice pep in the legs.

Thu-AM: 2:28, 5300' ~ Mt. Elbert (14,433')
Up and down the Black Cloud trail. This route was a really nice surprise--excellent, proper-steep trail from the highway to reach Elbert's SE ridge at 13.5k', and then a very scenic run up the ridge to the summit, bopping over 14,134' South Elbert along the way. The climb offers nothing in the way of a warm-up, so the start was a bit rough, but overall I felt very good. Trailhead is at 9700', but the 200+' double-bop over South Elbert adds the extra vert.
PM: 1:00, 500' ~ East Leadville+barefoot
Jogged around on the east side of town before finishing up with 17min of barefoot down on the turf, including half a dozen striders.

Fri-AM: 2:37, 5000' ~ Mt. Massive (14,421')
Up and down the East Ridge from Fish Hatchery. Legs were feeling good up and down, this is quickest I've done this run.
PM: 2:00, 4500' ~ 3rd-2nd-1st Flatirons-Green Mt. Link-up
One of the most fun outings I've had this summer.

Sat-AM: 2:27, 5000' ~ Longs Peak (14,255')
Up and down the North Face (Cables) from the East TH. Up in 1:29:55, down in 48:47. Even though I got to the TH at 7:00am, being a Saturday morning the lot was already completely full with cars parked over a half a mile down the road. This gave me a few minutes of warm-up and cooldown, which was nice.  Legs felt quite good on the run up, but once I popped out of the trees at Battle Mt I was buffeted with a heinous headwind that would toss me about and periodically stop me in my tracks all the way until Chasm View.  Definitely lost a few minutes to the wind as I couldn't run nearly as much as I normally would.  Cutting over the north shoulder of Mt. Lady Washington I also lost a couple minutes by traversing too high and remaining in slow talus/boulders (not wanting to lose any elevation) instead of crossing the more runnable terrain down in the basin.  Despite all the cars in the parking lot, I encountered my only other compatriots of the day on the section of technical climbing on the Cables--a roped-up couple.  The 5.4 corner went quickly and 9min later I was standing on the completely clagged-in summit. On the Cables downclimb I re-passed the couple who was now rappelling (slowly--apparently w/o tagging the summit?!?!) before cutting back over the shoulder of MLW and taking the Jim Grove and Reveley Routes back down to the car. Footwork and energy were excellent on the downhill.

Goblin - 12:56
Battle Mt Trail - 27:00
Granite Pass Trail - 45:13
Chasm View - 1:17:00
Top of Cables - 1:20:54
Summit - 1:29:55
Top of Cables - 1:36:05
Chasm View - 1:39:50
MLW Shoulder - 1:52:15
GP Trail - 1:56:45
Battle Mt Trail - 2:05:45
Goblin - 2:12:45
Pavement - 2:18:42

PM: 1:30, 3000' ~ 3rd Flatiron+Green Mt.
Scrambled the Third and continued on to the summit of Green before descending Gman-NE Ridge-Saddle Rock. Did the scramble in 10:36--wasn't feeling super 'on' today, especially on the downclimb--so abandoned any plans of hitting the Second and/or First, too. Trails have taken a real hit this summer; lots of water run-off damage, wonder if OSMP has any plans to do anything about that. Runners in Boulder would be ready to volunteer in a second if just given the opportunity.

Sun-AM: 2:12, 4500' ~ La Plata Peak (14,336')
Up and down the standard NW Ridge. Easy the whole time, testing out a footwear option for the race next weekend (RC1600, 5oz racing flat). Think I might use them, but would like just a touch more traction on sandy/gritty sections of trail as there was a little slippage. Overall, a super-dialed in shoe, though. Last summit I'll see before the LT100; it's been an awesome summer for sure.


Really fun week with a good mix of flat running (the most I've done all summer), peak-bagging, and scrambling.  Did my only longish run way at the beginning of the week and my legs are definitely itching to go long again, so after a week of nothing more than short, flat jogging I'm sure I'll be ready to go for the Leadville 100 this weekend.  It's going to be really fun to race 100mi again for the first time in 18 months, but there's definitely a part of me that can't help but feel that next weekend pretty much marks the end of the summer.  A few aspen leaves have already started draining their chlorophyll and I'm sure I'll need a couple super-mellow weeks post-Leadville before my legs are ready for any significant adventuring again.  I'll probably spend a lot of that time scrambling in the Flatirons, but definitely hope to tag a few more high-country summits, too, before I head to Europe the middle of next month.
  • A post I recently published over on the UD Blog.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Flatiron Trifecta + Green Mt.

Three hunks of rock on the face of Green Mt.
Since the Third Flatiron opened for business on August 1st (after it's annual six-month closure for raptor nesting), I've been excited to get back on it.  Back on January 30th and 31st (the last two days it was open) I climbed it each day for good measure--the first day, soloing in rock shoes, with Buzz belaying me as I tried the Southwest Chimney downclimb; the second day, I went out by myself, soloed in rock shoes again (in a then-PR 26min), and rappelled the three pitches off the south side of the summit.

Rappelling off the Third back in January. Photo: Buzz Burrell.
I felt really good about that fully solo summit then, but definitely dreamed of a day where I could just run to the base of the 1000' slab, solo it in my running shoes, downclimb it, and continue on to the summit of Green.  After a lot of scrambling in the following months, I did just that this past Tuesday morning.  I was a bit nervous about the downclimb as I'd only seen it once ever--and that was on belay and six months ago--but to my surprise the entire thing was way, way more moderate than I'd remembered.  And I more than cut my PR in half, without trying at all, clocking an 11:34 scramble of the standard East Face. The downclimb was a bit more involved at 21min, but I was excited to have completed it at all.

After spending the rest of the week tagging Sawatch 14ers, I found myself back in Boulder Friday evening, and--after a summit of 14,421' Mt. Massive in the morning--thought it would be fun to maybe link up the Third, Second, and First Flatirons.  I didn't really think I would tack on the First at the end as I'd never climbed it in running shoes before and I wasn't willing to carry rock shoes with me through the ascents of the Third and Second (I wanted to climb them in descending sequential order as the descent trails make more sense in that direction, in my opinion), but the thought of soloing it in running shoes definitely sat way back in the recesses of my mind.

After starting my watch at the Chautauqua trashcan, I started off up the hill and within a few minutes could tell my legs felt good.  I put in a solid but not all-out effort to the East Bench of the Third (14:53) and immediately stepped on to the face, feeling more secure and confident than usual.  I worked steadily up the route, and basically ran up the final crux 5.2 slab to hit the summit in 24:09 for a 2min+ PR of 9:16.  I immediately started the downclimb and was way more comfortable than on Tuesday morning, touching down on the ground almost exactly 12min later.

The mighty Third, last winter.
The run down the trail through the boulder field to the base of the Second was easy and I started up the face at 43:18--there was a pair of climbers roping up at the base, but I never even broke stride just running straight up on to the face.  Unfortunately, as I've never even been on Free For All--the standard  5.6 East Face route for the Second that includes climbing the Pullman Car summit block--I stuck to my usual 4th Class Freeway route, taking rock all the way and stepping onto the trail at 51:35.

I was feeling really good on the rock, so on the way down the trail to the bottom of the First Flatiron, I decided to forgo climbing the 5.4 Bakers Way route and instead do the standard 5.6 East Face route all the way from the bottom.  I stepped onto the face at 56:58, and--much to my surprise--had zero difficulty with the slabby, thin first 200' or so of climbing.  I'd only ever done this in rock shoes, so this was hugely confidence inducing and when I hit the summit in 1:14:16, my climbing time of 17:18 was 11min faster than my previous PR.  The downclimb that usually takes me 9-10min passed in only 5:45, and from there I decided I'd do a quick tag of the summit of Green Mt. as well.

When I hit the top at 1:37:07 I knew it'd be close in order to get back to Chautauqua in under 2hr, so I gave it a little gas on the descent, reaching the Baseline Trail junction in 1:52:53 (15:46 descent) and then finally returning to the Chat trashcan at 1:56:28, for a 19:21 descent from the summit, both of which have to be dry trail PRs for me.  This route is probably no more than 7mi total, but it packs in 4500' of vertical gain---such is the nature of scrambling I suppose.  This outing has me excited to spend some time post-LT100 really dialing in the First and Third East Face routes and maybe even taking a shot at Dave Mackey's venerable Chat-to-Chat speed records on those rocks.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week Summary: July 30 - Aug 5

Mon-AM: 3:20, 6200' ~ Middle Teton (12,804')
Started from Lupine Meadows. I was planning on summiting the Grand Teton but at the Meadows backcountry campsites I mistakenly climbed to the pass between the South and Middle Teton instead of to the Lower Saddle of the Grand. Climbed over the snow field and then up the last 1500' or so to the summit via the SW couloir, mostly easy Class 3.  Awesome view of the Grand from the top, and a satisfying consolation summit. Descended the same way, glissading a significant and steep snowfield back down to the Meadows. Ran into Kilian and Seb heading up to the Grand, just before I got back to the Lupine Meadows TH. Funnily enough, they ended up taking the same wrong turn as me (but didn't climb as high) even after I told them to stay right of Spaulding Falls.

Tue-AM: 3:23, 7000' ~ Grand Teton (13,770')
Finally got up this most iconic and worthy of peaks. Man, it's a beauty. Kilian and I kept a solid pace up; we decided to not take any water-carrying options, so I was excited that there was still a decent trickle coming down the route between the Lower and Upper Saddles. Seemed like there were quite a few people on the mountain, which made route-finding a bit easier in the gully and on the Owen Spalding itself. The O-S felt quite a bit less technical and exposed than I was led to believe in reading trip reports, and the downclimbing was quite simple, too, with just a couple slow moves in the chimneys.  On the way down, Kiki and I kept a steady pace but weren't killing it by any means. Did a short glissade from the headwall down to the Moraine, but it seemed hardly worth it in terms of time--there's just not much snow left up there right now. We took the climber's trail both up and down and didn't count the ~5min we spent on the summit in our running time. Awesome peak that I'd love to come back and hit a few days in a row in order to really get the route dialed.

Valley Trail junction - 16:55
Boulders (Platform) - 42:25
Meadows sign - 48:40?
Moraine - 1:13
Lower Saddle - 1:28
Upper Saddle - 1:54
Belly Roll - 1:55:30
Summit - 2:05:10
Upper Saddle - 2:16
Lower Saddle - 2:32
Meadows - 2:52
Boulders (Platform) - 2:57:45
Valley Trail - 3:11:40
Lupine Meadows - 3:23:05

Kilian can do this fast, for sure. He was thinking maybe 1:50 up and 1:10 down. That seems reasonable to me (for him), but I think he could probably descend even a bit faster (even w/o snow) and take the thing into the exciting sub-3hr realm.  Rested, focused, and with a few more times up and down the mountain, I think I could take my uphill under 2hr and be in the 1:10-12 range on an all-out descent, which would put me within reach of Bryce Thatcher's 3:07 record (during which he had a 1:53 ascent, which is extremely impressive to me). But, seriously, who cares when it's pretty obvious Kilian can go far faster?  Personal challenges are always still fun, I suppose.

Wed-AM: 2:00, 3500' ~ 2xSnow King, Jackson WY
After some sunrise film and photo shooting with Seb and Kilian, we drove into town (because some electrical storms were moving through the mountains) and I did a couple of laps on the ski hill--one kilometer straight up the face under the main chairlift with 1600' climbing: 19:55 lap 1 and 19:50 lap 2. Really fun with the super direct line and the solid footing. Contemplated a third lap, but finished up with 17min barefoot on a grass field instead, that included 8xstrides. Good to get the legs turning over a little.
PM: 2:51, 4500' ~ West Slabs Mt. Olympus Traverse, SLC, UT
Holy moly, what carnage. After driving back to SLC all day we finally left the TH for the West Slabs at 8pm.  Anna drove around to the true Olympus TH in order to summit from that side, the trail I expected to descend.  Scrambled the Slabs and was surprised to find that they were easier than pretty much anything in the Flatirons.  Really fun line w/ a bunch of exposure but I'm not sure it ever exceeds 4th Class.

Once on the ridge I was a bit disheartened at how far away the true summit of Olympus looked--and that there was a lot of scrambly, choppy terrain between me and it, and that the light was rapidly disappearing (but the sunset over the lake was incredible)--but I just kept moving quickly, tagged the North Summit and then spent a lot of time on what was definitely the technical crux of the route--a short section of downclimb to the saddle between the North and South summits.  As I made the final scramble up to the South summit I was psyched because even with the low light I thought it would be easy to just follow the standard Olympus trail back down to Wasatch Blvd.

Well, of course, I couldn't find the trail off of the summit.  I ended up dropping off of the peak too far east and was soon bushwhacking down a choked, steep couloir/drainage with zero trail in near total darkness w/o a headlamp. Stupid.  A few hundred feet below the summit, I heard some yells from up and to my left (I was descending down/south) and the shouting voice asked if I was Search and Rescue.  Haha, no.  Then he asked if I was lost, too.  I replied, not yet, really, and that I was just going to descend this drainage to the bottom of the canyon and walk my way out the canyon west back towards the city and that I could call someone to come find him when I got out if he liked.  He said he'd tried to do that but had came to a cliff and hiked back up to the top and that he'd already called S&R and a helicopter was on the way.  Holy cow, I didn't want to be part of that mess.  Then he asked where I was going to sleep that night.  I replied, um, my bed?  Definitely not on the mountain.  Then I kept 'schwacking down through the dark thicket.

It took a long-ass time, but eventually I was close to the bottom and started contouring my way west through even thicker 'schwacking.  After much cursing and frustration and bruised/scraped shins I finally popped out onto a ridge that seemed to offer a more clear path at ~7000'.  I also found a cairn and could just maybe make out what seemed to be a faint trail heading down the ridge.  Just then I heard shouts from above for "Scott" and saw a couple of headlamps flashing about.  I shouted up that I wasn't Scott, but was wondering if these guys were on the trail.  It turned out to be three S&R folks looking for the lost hiker (he'd been out since 5am!).  I chatted with them for about 15min about my interaction with the lost dude and where I thought he'd been when he was shouting at me.  One of the guys was kind enough to let me borrow a headlamp to run the primitive Hughes Canyon trail back down to the neighborhoods with, which took me about 15min when I finally got going.  Way way way easier than thrashing around in that canyon in the dark for what probably would've been another hour.  Back at the TH, I had to have a little final debriefing with S&R (they'd located Scott high on the mountain) before Frosty and I were allowed to go on our way.  Odd evening on the mountain, that's for sure.

Thu-AM: 1:36, 4500' ~ Mt. Olympus (9026')
Up and down the standard trail from Wasatch Blvd. 1:01:05 to the summit; it'd be fun to take this one under an hour. Good solid grunt.  A bit tired from the late night last night.

Fri-AM: 2:07, 5000' ~ West Slabs Mt. Olympus Traverse
Parked at the TH on Wasatch Blvd, ran the 3mi of streets over to the West Slabs TH, and did the loop that I'd planned to do Wednesday evening. Lots of fun in the daylight, it took me 41min to get from the cul de sac TH to the summit of the Slabs, another 28min to tag both the North and South Summits, and then 34min to run down the trail back to the Roost. Nice to do this awesome loop in a quick, clean fashion.
PM: 1:05, 1500' ~ Treadmill Uphill Challenge+barefootin'
Did an 11min warm-up jog before hopping on the treadmill for 15min at a 15% grade vs. Luke Nelson. Ended up with 1.50mi to his 1.51mi.  Had a hard time finding any will to really hurt, but basically I saved too much for the end in order to surpass him.  Afterwards, ran up to the Capitol building for a couple of barefoot laps on the nice grass there--2mi/16min total sans-shoe running.

Sat-AM: 2:34, 5700' ~ Twin Peaks (11,330' & 11,328'), SLC
Parked at the Broads Fork TH at 6200' in Big Cottonwood Cyn and went up. I got a little confused around the pond area at ~8200' before deciding to just keep heading up the valley and then climbed directly to the summit of the East Twin (1:32 from the TH) over some disappointingly chossy 3rd and 4th Class terrain (the standard route goes to the saddle further to the east before climbing to the summit). Made the quick 3min bop over to the West Twin before coming back and descending back to the trailhead via the slightly less steep standard route. Pretty cool to have such big vert so close to an urban center. Back to CO in the evening.

Sun-AM: 1:09, 1000' ~ Mack Ridge (McInnis Canyon), Fruita CO
Ran from the start of the Desert Rats races (where we slept last night) and did an easy run up and back on Mack Ridge to shake out the legs before driving all day.
PM: 1:57, 4500' ~ Cameron Cone (10,707')
Really great run up this convenient peak in Manitou. Some clouds rolled in to cool things off a bit and my legs felt really good on this grunt of a climb.  Never felt stressed; so much fun to have my legs back.  Ended up doing 1:01 from Hydro St to the summit--this can definitely go under an hour pretty easily with a little focus. Really fun :35 descent back to Hydro before jogging back down to the car at Memorial Park.

Hours: 22h02min
Vert: 43,400'

A really busy, dis-jointed week with lots of travel and lots of glad-handing, but I still managed to get in some good summits, I think.  Today (Monday) I did my last long run before Leadville, and it was a classic--the Pikes Peak Marathon course down in Manitou.  My climbing legs were disappointing on the way up despite feeling so good on Camerons Cone last night (I probably left a lot of this morning's run on the Cone last night, but so it goes), so I stumped to the top in an uninspired 2:32:58 from the starting line.  After stopping the watch and wading through the masses of tourists on the summit to get a drink of water, I set off back down the hill with more intention than usual as I was casually racing Frosty back to the bottom (who was planning on hitching down after her run up).  Ended up descending back to the finish line in 1:20:50, which was a total surprise to me as I think I've run harder down Longs Peak a few times earlier this summer chasing Kieners FKTs and I know I ran way harder down the last 5mi of Speedgoat last weekend.  As luck would have it, I jogged back into Memorial Park just as Anna's ride was dropping her off.  Good timing.  For some reason I almost never feel very good running up Pikes Peak--the very shallow grade just doesn't seem to suit me and I probably need to do some focused hillwork to improve on it--but today's downhill gives me confidence that hopefully sometime in the next year or two I could still remain relatively competitive when I give the Marathon a go.

Middle Teton, with the prominent black dike.
The Grand from the summit of Middle Teton.
Doesn't get much better than the Grand Teton and a double rainbow. Photo: Seb Montaz.
Looking down the West Slabs of Mt. Olympus, SLC.
Twin Peaks, SLC.