Saturday, July 26, 2008

15 miles/5,060 vertical feet
Jeff Valliere, George Zack, Claude Clegg, Justin Mock
2hrs 50 minutes RT running time

Got out for a great high altitude training session today. We started from the Bakerville next to I-70 and were shooting for the fastest known time by Kraig Koski of 1:29 from Bakerville to the summit of Grays. To even come close to Kraig’s time, I would have to have a great day, but I was not entirely sure how I truly felt. Within the first few minutes up the road, I was a bit redlined and was wondering what the heck I was thinking going out this hard . Justin was right on me and came past at about a mile into the run and kept opening up the gap, but I was not at all surprised as I was informed by George that he is a very fast runner. George and Claude were a bit smarter and hung back a bit. My goal was to get to the summer TH in 30 minutes, then quite naively was thinking that I could do the remainder in 55-58 minutes. Things don’t always go as planned though and I was feeling like crap even before the summer TH and wanted to stop . I made it there in 30 and was across the bridge just a touch over 31, stashed my hand bottle and a Fuel Belt bottle and kept heading up. The initial rock steps were hurting and I knew I was losing time, and would continue to do so. I held it together fairly well until the big sign before the Kelso turnoff and was only about a minute off of PR at that point for the upper section. Justin was far ahead and I could only see him on the longest stretches (4:30 ahead) and I figured I would never see him until the summit. Surprisingly though, I started to reel him back slowly as we got higher and higher. I was walking long stretches and running when I could, but I was imploding fast and my quads were screaming in protest. On the final few switchbacks, I was getting closer to Justin, but could not quite catch him by the top. He finished in 1:32:?? and I was at 1:33:32. Awesome effort on his part though, the guy is fast, especially considering he has only been that high a few times. It was great to have him out there to chase, otherwise I may have just dialed the effort back a notch or 3.George was a short ways back, as he too was having an even worse day than I and Claude was nowhere to be seen, as he mixed up Grays for Torreys and headed to Torreys first. After George topped out, we cruised over the Torreys in 17 minutes, where we saw Claude along the way and agreed to meet for the descent, but that was the last we would see of him until we got back to the car. The descent back to I-70 from the summit of Torreys took an hour and I for one was a bit spanked. George and Justin dropped me pretty good over the last mile and I was just anxious to be done.As always, it was great to get out with Claude and George, and great to meet Justin. As an aside, it was the most crowded I have ever seen it on these peaks, unbelievable how many cars were parked all along the road and how many people were on that trail. I would guess we saw maybe 400 people?If I were to do this run over again, I would certainly sacrifice 2 minutes on the approach, which I think would have saved me way more on the upper half. Not sure really how much it would have helped, but I have to think the losses higher up become exponential, at least that was the case for me today in addition to not feeling 100%. Either way, I gave it all I had on the day.