Sierra

Sierra
Sierra

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday, 10/15/08 Walker Lollipop from Eldo

Walker Ranch Lollipop from Eldorado Canyon
~14 miles (plus an extra 2 miles RT for the approach)
~3,800 vertical

I’ve been wanting to run this route hard for a long time, after running it easy and hiking it several times. George's recent post renewed my interest in the area and I was eagerly planning it in my mind for the past few days. I parked where the Eldo road turns to dirt and ran in the back way via the Fowler Trail and got to the visitors center in 12 minutes going very easy. Used the bathroom and mentally prepared myself for the pain and suffering to come as I was not really sure how I would feel.

I paced myself pretty reasonably up the trail, reaching the park boundary in a little over 7 minutes and then kept up my effort through the technical sections and up and down the rollers. I was hoping to get to the Walker Loop in less than 30 to help build a little bit of a cushion (as I was hoping to do the entire run in 2 hours), but got there in 30:18, not too bad I guess, but I had my work cut out. Just to change things up, I decided to run the loop clockwise and made quick work of the steep “hike a bike” section, cresting the far ridge after 3 minutes on the loop. From here, I just tried my best to maintain a steady tempo on the gradual to rolling climb. I passed a mountain biker as I neared the far parking lot and was sure I would get re-passed by him on the downhill, but I was surprised to hold him off (or he took a break or got on the road).

I worked hard to maintain good turnover, which is key on this route, but I was quickly realizing that I was a bit na├»ve to think I would be able to run this whole thing in 2 hours, given the fact that I have not done any “fast” running with quick turnover in months, and even that was very minimal. It took me exactly 1:04 to run the loop, then 10 minutes to crest the ridge on the climb out of the canyon. I was really starting to hurt and I knew I would not make 2:00, but was willing to accept slightly over, no worse than 2:05 I was hoping. I kept repeating in my mind a statement George posted not too long ago: "This is a test of endurance, so endure dammit" or something to that effect.

I really pushed for all I was worth through the remaining rollers and technical sections and finished at 2:05:18.

I was a bit trashed afterwards, so I walked most of the way back to the car and just enjoyed the canyon and watching the climbers on the far wall. My legs are already a bit stiff, I think I might feel this one for a few days.