Sierra

Sierra
Sierra

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sanitas

1/31/08
24:54 up (via Dakota Ridge, then East Side)
14 down S. Ridge

Again meant to go moderate today, and I mostly did, but living in Boulder, that can be hard to do, unless you completely put your ego aside, which I find difficult sometimes. I ducked off the trail for a quick pee. I hear a group of runners making a bunch of noise crossing Sunshine and glance back. Uh oh, this is a big group, not sure who they are. I finish my business and get on the trail maybe 10 or 15 seconds ahead of them, I can hear that they are young, high school? College? I can't tell anymore, man am I getting old. I keep ahead, but when I get off the valley trail and head up to Dakota Ridge, I fall behind. My trail is technical and steeper in sections and I try to not loose too much ground. Once the trails merge, a bit of a surge of speed ensures that I make the middle of the group and I gain a bit. Fortunately they stop here and I don't have to play this game all the way to the top. The East side is icey and snowy, but I am wearing studded shoes, so it is no worry. The trip down the S. side is snowy in spots, but one could probably get by without traction.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sanitas

1/29/08
5 miles/1,740 vertical

Started off up the S. Ridge at a moderate pace, focusing on short steps and no long extensions. About 1/3 of the way up I spot a runner. He looks to be going pretty quick, but I'm not going to duke it out, so I maintain a steady pace. I slowly creep up on him without really trying, could it be Paul again? Nope, it is somebody I don't recognize. I pass on a flat section and keep the turnover high. Only about 3 minutes of running to the summit and I catch myself gunning it a bit. I steal a quick glance (eyes only) on one of the turns and he is nowhere to be seen. As it turns out, I had an OK time of 18:43 and felt great doing it, only really digging a bit for the final few minutes. I went down at a casual 15 minute pace and decided to get in a little extra run up the valley. I still felt pretty fresh and pulled off an uphill mile in 9 minutes. I focused on form and counting my cadence. I came up with mids 80's on the up, and high 80's on the down. Not sure where I should be, but it seemed to be better turnover than I have done in the past. I am sure there is room for improvement though. Maybe I will start training soon, I have lots of pent up energy to expend.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meyers Ranch

1/27/08
5miles/~1,000 vertical

After regretfully declining to join Dave for a trip up Bear Peak, Allison, Sierra and I headed to Boulder later in the day to explore one of the few trails around Boulder that I have never been on before, the Meyers Ranch Trail. This is a great rolling wide smooth trail that trends upward on the way out, gaining roughly 750 vertical feet. It was sunny and in the low 60's, a perfect day just to get out and enjoy the warm sun on your face. The trail was packed slushy snow and we ran at a moderate pace out and back. I practiced some of the new modifications to my form as suggested to me by my doctor. It seems a little awkward, but I can see how it will all help in the long run to make me a more efficient runner and be less prone to injury. On the way back, we found a nice sunny meadow to work on some of my rehab exercises while Allison did some yoga and Sierra munched on a large deer antler. One could be fooled into thinking spring is around the corner, but it will for sure snow tomorrow, as I just washed my car after weeks and weeks of procrastination......

Meadow Mountain

Meadow Mountain 11,632
1/26/08
7.7 miles/2,832 vertical
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Dave Hale, Steve Hoffmeyer, Terri Horvath, Jennifer Roach, Jean Aschenbrenner, Scooby, Shep and Sierra

Not wanting to commit to too much this weekend due to other obligations and shaky weather reports, we quickly accepted Stevo’s invitation to join him for Meadow Mountain and St. Vrain.It was a bit windy and snowing when we all met ½ mile from the summer Mount St. Vrain TH, and we were wondering what we were doing there. Once we got going, conditions were not too bad, but I was surprised to find so much snow and such minimal (none) evidence of human traffic.Even though most of us had been up there a few times, we immediately lost the trail after passing the summer trailhead. I wallowed my way in the general direction of where I vaguely remembered the trail to be and we soon found it.Following the trail with the new snow was easier than wandering in the woods, but was still a good workout with all the fresh powder. Once the valley steepened, the real work began and we all took our turns breaking trail in the ever deepening fluff.Just below treeline we fully bundled up for the battle we knew was soon to follow. We gradually emerged from the trees into a full on 60-70 mph headwind/ground blizzard. See videos: http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4969.flvhttp://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4967.flvNear the saddle at the far reaches of the Krumholtz, we removed our snowshoes and lashed them to the branches so they would not end up in Longmont.From here, although the summit looked so close, it would take a surprisingly long time in the ever increasing wind (video of upper slopes http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4978.flv)It took all of my might to place and secure each foot and pole. One moment of inattention or being off balance would send you tumbling across the talus.A few choice words were uttered along the way, but were quickly absorbed in the fury of the wind. Once on the flat summit plateau, I ran and took a few leaps toward the true summit. Once I jumped up, the wind would literally extend my leap by several feet. I also tried leaning into the wind several times and could easily maintain a 45 degree angle. I had to be careful to not face directly into the wind, as this would catch my hood (secured by goggles) and throw me severely off balance and threaten to rip off my goggles. (Summit video: http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/?action=view&current=MVI_4982.flv)Allison, Steve and Terri all arrived soon after (Dave, Jennifer and Jean were much smarter than us and turned around) and we spent no time lingering. Going back to treeline was a struggle not to get thrown to the rocks and it was a no brainer that St. Vrain was not in the cards. Allison got thrown to the ground at least once, but bounced out of it quickly. Once in the trees, we re-joined the remainder of the group and it was a total cruise back out in our now well worn path.This was one of the most hard earned small “easy” peaks I can remember due to the trail breaking and especially the wind. I had been up there a few times before and it was such an easy cruise, but this trip felt like somewhat of an accomplishment. All in all an amazing day with a great group of people. We were all quite compatible and had much to talk about, which really added greatly to the enjoyment of an otherwise less than ideal weather day.Pictures:http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Meadow%20Mountain/
video

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sanitas

1/25/08
3 miles/1,300 vertical
19:05up
15ish down

Had a nice run on Sanitas this evening. Now that the days are getting a bit longer, I can sneak in a quick run after work which I am really happy about. I arrive at the TH just as the sun hides behind the ridge. I get out of the car and the wind is howling and it seems as though I have missed the boat. Oh well, it sure beats a dark start and 30 or 40 degree colder temps. I start off at a casually quick pace, trying to work on form and practice what my knee doctor has been preaching. Seems fine, but still too early to tell. I think it will be a while until I get it all dialed, but I feel as though I am on track. About half way up, I close in on somebody running ahead of me. He looks like he knows how to run, and as I pass, I recognize him as none other than Paul Pomeroy of 24hrs Sanitas fame, something like 40 laps or something crazy like that. I nod a hi as I pass and wonder if I will regret it, as I am not at all desiring to do battle. I keep up my tempo, and fortunately he opts to not play games. Knowing myself well, I would play the game too and I have no business doing that right now. I was somewhat pleased to see 19:05 considering the lack of committment and major winds. On the way down, I stop and talk to Paul (still on his way up) and I have to remind him that we have met a few times, but I know how it goes when you have only briefly met someone way in the past. After a pleasant several minute exchange, we continue now on our opposite ways. He passes me on the descent about where I passed him on the ascent (I stopped to pee and was taking it easy). He was cruising and I jumped on briefly, then decided it would be best to back off. I kept him in sight most of the remainder of the descent. It is nice to get out again, training has been very sporadic, really only 2 or 3 hikes per week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mt. Elbert, 14,433 Feet


Mt. Elbert (14,433)

01/20/08

East Ridge from the South Mt. Elbert TH

11.2 Miles/4,850 vertical

Jeff and Allison Valliere, Dave Hale, Dave “Hoot” Gibson, Steve Hoffmeyer, Kevin Lund, Mike “Eagle Eye” Via, Ricky Carr


As if there are not enough Mt. Elbert TRs, I’ll add yet another to the pot. This is mainly to give a quick summary of the day and link to pictures.Dave and Hoot have been making a winter trip up Elbert an annual tradition for the past few years. We have been discussing the possibility of this trip for a while and we just “happened” to schedule our trip immediately after several large groups have packed a nice trail . Steve and Kevin were immediately interested as well and Mike and Ricky totally surprised us. We got on the trail at 7:20am under clear, calm and cold conditions. We were soon quite warmed up once we got the blood flowing and enjoyed a bit of sun hit, but we could see snow devils blowing up high and we knew the pleasant conditions would be short lived.The trail was amazingly packed, and I was secretly wishing that I had my Kahtoola running crampons and a lighter setup, as Elbert would be an awesome snow run right now on the packed trail. We all settled into our own paces as the hill got steeper and we all stopped every 20 minutes or so to regroup, have a snack or adjust layers as necessary.Above tree line, the wind really started to pick up, but fortunately, the temperature was in the high teens or low 20’s, so it did not feel too bad with the proper gear. We stashed our snowshoes a bit below 13,000 feet and continued our progress up the wind scoured East Ridge. The last 1,000+ feet we were got a bit spread out, all of us in our own survival modes, battling a fierce headwind.Even though I have hiked this route in the summer 10+ years ago, I was still a bit deceived by the seemingly endless stretch to the summit. The final slopes to the summit were a test in mental and physical fortitude for me and I just put my head down and kept grinding it out. I bonked pretty hard about 30 minutes from the top, but did not feel like stopping to pull out food in the bitter wind. Despite the bonk, I felt surprisingly good in regards to the altitude, as I have not been above 14,000 feet since last August.I was quite pleased to gain the ridge, but the fury of the wind increased a bit, spinning me around in the direction I had just come several times, as if the winds were trying to deny my access to the true summit. I kept having flashbacks to my run up Mt. Elbert last summer and how comparatively effortless it was on a warm, calm summer morning.I dug my poles in to maintain forward momentum and finally gained the summit at 12:13pm. Hoot and Dave rolled in minutes later, followed by Steve, Allison, Kevin and Mike. Unfortunately Ricky decided it was in his best interest to turn back a bit below the summit, but either way he put in a great effort. We spent nearly 50 minutes on the summit as the group coalesced, ate, took pictures etc. We had great views all around, but we could not find much relief from the wind, so we beat a hasty retreat.The trip down was great, as we had a bit of a tailwind and a nice packed trail. Hoot managed to complete the round trip without snowshoes, and several other descended without, as the trail was amazingly packed most of the way.We all had a great time together on this trip. It was awesome to get out again with my usual and occasional hiking partners, great to meet Mike and see Ricky again. The day before and the day after this trip, the weather was lousy up high, so we really could not have timed it better. I was so pleased to get a new winter 14er and really just happy to get up high again after a long dry spell of high peaks.Those who were on the trip, please feel free to add any comments or pictures, and thanks again for a great time!Photos:http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/Elbert/?start=all

Pt. 12,601 Attempt




Saturday 1/19/08


This was a loose attempt at 12,601 from the La Plata TH. It really just turned out to be 4 hours of fun snowshoeing in the trees, as the winds up high were brutal and the temps were in single digits. We had a great time and got a little exercise breaking trail up steep North facing slopes in waist deep powder.






Snowshoeing at Independence Pass


1/18/08




After driving up to Twin Lakes and checking in at the Mt. Elbert Lodge, Allison, Sierra and I drove West on 82 to the road closure and started snowshoeing along the road. After about 1/4 mile, we followed some snowmobile tracks SW across the meadow, and up a nice gradually ascending trail. We had very limited daylight and it was snowing, so we kept the outing short, maybe 1:30 total. It was very tranquil, as we were the only ones within miles.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mallory Cave

1/17/08
~3miles/~1,000 vertical

Had high hopes for a trip up Green today, but with the bitter cold and wind, coupled with all the things we need to get done to prepare for our trip, Mallory was all we could muster. There was quite a bit of ice on the trail. I was well equipped with freshly studded shoes, but Allison's shoes are getting pretty dull and was forced to go off trail as much as she could. It was bitter today, and the entire time, all we could think about was getting back for a warm lunch.

Sanitas

1/16/08
3 miles/1,300vert.

Had a great time on Sanitas today. Took it pretty conservative due to the ice, cold, knee etc..., but went up in 20:12 despite the easy pace. Felt buoyed by the fact that my treatment for patellar tendonitis is starting show results in that my knee felt the strongest it has in a year. I plan on taking it quite easy for a while yet until I am confident I am on the right track once and for all. No need to be cranking yet, just need to maintain some base fitness at this point.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mt. Morrison


4 miles RT

1,800 vertical

2hrs RT


Had a great time on Mt. Morrison today with Kevin and Allison. Today is Allison's b-day and to celebrate, we got out for a nice casual stroll up Mt. Morrison. The weather was warmish and sunny with not a breath of wind. The trail was muddy in spots, a few patches of snow, but hardly any ice. I wore studded shoes, but it was a bit of overkill, could have easily got by without, but it was fine with. The pace was quite casual, as Allison is sick, Kevin and I are both getting over being sick, and we of course had to stop and yell for Sierra while she was 1/2 mile away and 1,000 feet below chasing deer. Dang dog, she of course got the leash and a bit of scolding. If it weren't for this flaw, she would be the perfect dog.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A casual jaunt up Green (Secretly wishing I was racing).


Homie and I met today for a casual jaunt up Green Mountain. We met at Chautauqua at 10:30am and had a really nice jog up Gregory/Ranger. The sun was out and shining bright and warm and we discussed his new baby Anya who is just over a week old (congrats to the Homie family!!!). It took us 55:42 up (from the Gregory TH) and a good bit quicker than that to get back down.
It was my idea to take it casual on the way down, as to not pound on my knee, but also because the trail is a skating rink in places today and I was using my shoes with old worn studs that were not hooking up well at all. Ultimately, Sierra determined the pace, as she was dogging it on the downhill for some reason.


I was a bit fired up over the fact that I had just gone to watch my great friend and training partner George Zack run in the Oatmeal 5k in Lafayette. I could tell he was a bit down on his performance, but he did great in my opinion. It is only January after all. Way to go George for getting out there and tearing it up!


I was kind of wishing that I had run too (and I came very close to jumping in at the last minute), but I have to be patient and let this cold fully run it's course. Watching the race just had me amped to get out and go fast, but I am also trying to not do anything too crazy while I am in treatment for my lingering knee problem. Just added fuel to the simmering fire.


My goal is to do everything it takes right now to get this healed COMPLETELY, then I plan on opening it up a bit more. Patience, patience, patience I have to keep reminding myself, there will be plenty of time to go fast as the year progresses.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Suffering on Sanitas


Sanitas (South Ridge)
1/11/08
3 miles/1,300 vertical
22:08 up/16 down

Man I have a ways to go in my training, although today I have a laundry list of excuses.
1st, man it was dark, I had forgotten that despite the fact that we are weeks past the solstice, the mornings have gotten progressively darker until the end of December, then stalled out until today. Now the mornings will slowly get longer, although we have been adding daylight in the afternoon since early December.

Most people going about their daily routines hardly notice these minute details, but when you are trying to squeak in runs in the winter, or climbing mountains it becomes quite evident.

It was barely light enough to see and detail was very minimal for the first 10 minutes or so. I have not exercised once since the 1st and have had a bad head cold, maybe even a touch of the flu (at least I felt that weak last weekend, not even being able to open a new bottle of juice). I thought I was pretty much over it yesterday, but this morning I was reminded that it is still there lingering, as my energy level was low and my breathing somewhat not up to par (the cold wind was not doing any favors).

Because of all this, I went pretty easy for the first half and then was feeling a bit tired on the second half and still went slow. Despite this, I was still expecting a minute or so faster, but whatever. Regardless, it was still great to finally get out again.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ringing in the New Year on Rosedale

Rosedale Peak (11,825)
01/01/08
~10miles RT/~3,000 Vertical
From the “Not Camp Rosalie or Elk Creek” TH
Partners: Jeff and Jean Kunkle, Dave Hale, Dave “Hoot” Gibson, Sierra, Denali, Scooby, Shep

Indecision, combined with commonplace high wind weather reports, once again had me waffling on my plans for New Years day. After weighing my options, Jeff’s offer to join he and Jean for Rosedale quickly became the frontrunner on the Eve of the New Year. I of course invited Dave, and he invited Hoot. I had never even heard of Rosedale, but what the heck, sounds like fun. The day was set.We arrive at the trailhead under perfectly clear skies, no wind and a -9 temperature reading. It felt cold , but we were grateful that the wind has finally taken a break. We start off wandering a bit through the woods, but a few quick glances of the map and GPS gets us on the correct track. Speaking of tracks, we are fortunate to have a nice packed track all the way to the summit, compliments of the Bershaders, Dawson et al. Thanks again, your efforts made our day much easier .We follow the well packed trail along the hillside parallel to Elk Creek, up into a nice willowy valley. Soon the handiwork of the previous day’s winds becomes evident and the trail instantly vanishes. We wander a bit, trying to find it again or decide which of the many route options would be best. We ultimately decide to get out of the willows and do a bit of an ascending traverse.The snow becomes steep and deep and we are missing the nice track we had been following. Secretly, I was enjoying the added workout of wallowing, but fortunately/unfortunately, that quickly ended as we re-discovered the nice packed trail.From here on, it was an auto-pilot cruise to the ridge above tree line. From the ridge, the views finally opened up and we were treated to a picture perfect winter scene. The wind scoured ridge prompted some of us to remove our snowshoes for easier walking. Without the hinderance of the snowshoes, it was only a few minutes of the most enjoyable and easy cruising to the summit.This was a great vantage for viewing Rosalie, Evans and the surrounding area. It was surprisingly calm and relatively warm compared to the recent spell of challenging weather and we were all reveling in the scene. We lingered here for a bit, eating, laughing and taking pictures.The trip out was especially easy and took about half of our ascent time. It got quite warm as the day progressed and I was now itching for something cold to drink, as opposed to my scalding hot chocolate.What a great way to welcome the New Year. Great friends, great weather, great outing. The day could not have been better (OK, it would have been better if Allison were not working and had joined). If this trip was a harbinger of things to come, 2008 is going to be a great year!Pictures:http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r...iere/Rosedale/

S. Boulder Peak Run, what a great way to end the year!

South Boulder Peak (8,549)
12/30/2007
~8 miles RT
~3,000 vertical
Solo
59:38up
1:30:38 RT

Having been up S. Boulder Peak twice in the past few days (Wednesday and Saturday), I took careful note of how nicely the trail has been setting up and is now absolutely perfect for going fast if you have some sort of shoe traction. It is just a perfect packed trench except for the last 2 switchbacksbelow the saddle, the stretch to and across the saddle, and thenfrom saddle to the summit where the wind is constantly replenishing the snow drifts.My primary goal was to beat my ascent time of 1:22 from last Weds and my RT time of 2:14. I knew that I would for sure beat that without waiting for the dog to sniff things etc.... as I left her home for this outing, so my real goal was under 2 hours. Within about 5 minutes after starting, I wasthinking I may have a shot at sub 1:45, as I was feeling surprisingly good and was enjoying the warm sunshine on my face.My first time check (where the Towee trail ends at the dirt road), was a reassuring 14:07, more than 5 minutes faster than Wednesday, but 3 minutes slower than PR. I plug along and cross the creek at the mouth of Shadow just as I see my watch nudge past 22 minutes. From here to the saddle, I mostly run, but revert to short stretches of power hiking when necessary as it is steep and the studs in the shoes are not quite enough to provide a completely sure grip. Time goes by quick, and my watch seems to take off at a seemingly much quicker pace than the numbers I am mentallyshuffling in my head.I make the saddle in 51:36 and am not entirely pleased with the post holing, but I was fully expecting it. The wind is picking up and I fumble a bit to swap to my wool beanie in place of my ball cap . I ditch the sunglasses too, as the are fogging immensely. I really put my head down and giving it all I have to break an hour for the ascent. Much to my surprise, I succeed with 22 seconds to spare and am amped by this fact. I do an immediate u-turn and make quick work descending the summit boulders. Last Wednesday I broke trail on this stretch in fresh, powdery snow and it took about 4 minutes to negotiate the final boulder section (each way!). Today, I do the RT of this stretch in under 2 minutes.Now I am starting to think about breaking 1:30 for the RT. That is still 13 or 14 minutes slower than my best lap on this course, but I just have it in my head that 1:30 would be a solid winter accomplishment. Descending is my weakness, so I know I really have my work cut out. I take the upper section fast but cautious and still manage to perform a great imitation of superman while high speed post holing below the saddle . The snow is soft and I bounce out of it with style, but still do a quick look around to make sure nobody witnessed it. I ripped down Shadow Canyon (for me), it was really a controlled slide for the most part (studded shoes worked well), using trees and boulders when convenient to aid in turning or checking my speed (somewhat like high speed pinballing). Made it back to the creek crossing at the mouth of Shadow in 1:16 and knew it would take all I have to get back in 14 minutes. I kept my cadence up on the flatter sections and just let my feet fly the best I could. Made the Towee turn at 1:21:?? and was sure I could get down in less than 9. I was going hard, but started to rest on my laurels a bit, as I thought I had it in the bag (OK, I was hurting). In the final 1/4 mile, my watch was really turning up the heat and I was sprinting for all I was worth, zig zaggingaround people on the now crowded area near the trailhead. They must have thought I was nuts as I huffed and puffed my way past as though I were running for my life. I hit the final cement bridge nearest the lot and stop my watch at 1:30:38 and stagger gasping for air.I am very happy with my run, but am just ever so slightly peeved not to have gone under 1:30, but I don't really care that much, it was just a completely arbitrary goal. So close, maybe next time..... All in all an awesome way to finish off another great year!