Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday, 02/27/09 Dowdy/Flatiron Vista/Marshall Loop

~5 miles

Got an invite from Gerry and Jennifer Roach to walk a 42 mile loop around Boulder and although I could not join for the whole loop, I enthusiastically agreed to join them for part of it, as I was eager to hear about their recent trip to Africa and we always have loads of things to talk about. Two hours with them seems like 5 minutes. We coordinated by cell phone and I met them a little after 9am at the S. Mesa TH, they were already 4 hours into their hike.

They also had the company of their good friend from Telluride, Ricky Denesik. I knew the name, but was a bit rusty on the specifics. I came to learn that Ricky has won Hardrock, gone sub 2:30 on Pikes and held the 14er record for a while in the 90's. Most recently, he was 3rd at the 2008 Hardrock at age 49, pretty amazing athlete! We were slow to aquaint, as both of us are a bit quiet at first, but soon we were talking it up about the zillion things we had in common.

We had an interesting start as we negotiated the construction at the Dowdy Draw TH. There was an obvious sign that read "Trailhead Closed". OK, fine, the trailhead is closed, but there was no sign that indicated that the trail was closed. We waltzed on through confidently until one of the workers started giving us grief. We informed him of their lack of appropriate signage without breaking stride. He was not impressed with our rationale, but oh well. We questioned why the heck they are wasting time/money fixing up what was already a very well maintained trail. Let me guess, they will next make it off limits to dogs???

Once past this, it was smooth sailing, except for the wind and snow that was pelting us on the Flatirons Vista North Trail. I was a bit underdressed, as I was expecting a nice warmup, but nothing really to complain about.

Once we made it to the Marshall Mesa TH, Gerry decided to call it a day, as his foot has been bugging him. I got on my junker bike that I had locked to a post earlier and got the car, where I then gave Gerry a ride to his truck.

I was planning on bailing here, but was having second thoughts, as conversation with Ricky was really starting to warm up, talking about 14ers, 14er records and the Matt C/Rick T fued. Bummer, hopefully he will join us for our April RRR trip.

My knee felt good today (have been dealing with IT band issues most of this month). I was thinking I was out of the woods last week, but a Skyline Traverse got it flared up again and set me back to a point of being worse than it ever was before, so I am trying to take things very easy for a bit, just easy hiking and some biking when it is warm enough and not windy.

I did a bit of googling about the 14er record and came across Andrew Hamilton's site:

I have seen this before, but never really read it all. I have read a bit more and am enthralled by the story. I have mused about this in the past, just a pipe dream really, but reading this detailed account has fully squashed any fantasies I have ever had about it. I'll stick to going for the individual peak FKT's. I enjoy going home to a nice meal, hot shower and comfortable bed, i'm just a big wimp really.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, 02/10/09 Green Mountain

8 miles
2,600 vert.

Got out for a sweet run this afternoon up Green Mountain. Started from the Bear Creek TH, up to Mesa, then Bear Canyon and eventually to summit of Green. It was sunny, warmish and I was very thankful and conscious of the fact that there was no wind. I went on the easy side of moderate, trying to let my week old IT band knee injury heal, which seemed to work well, along with picking a gradual trail, as I did not feel it at all. There were several stretches of glare ice in the canyon, but they could easily be negotiated with some careful rock hopping and tip toeing.

I was just lost in my own little world, cruising the trail, listening to Competitors podcasts on my MP3 player, completely enjoying the day. I seemed to time my run just right, it is now getting cold and looks like it could snow any minute. Took it very easy on the descent, walking the icy sections as to not risk a fall.

57 up/49 down

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday, 02/03/09 Boulder Skyline Traverse

16 miles
6,250 vertical

Tim and I had a great run today, starting at the S. Mesa TH, over S. Boulder Peak, Bear, Green, Flag and then Sanitas. We generally went pretty easy, but bumped it up to moderate at times. There was a good bit of ice in places that required some caution as Tim had no foot traction and my studs are completely worn out. Tim did an amazing job keeping it upright on the ice, we were going fast in a few spots and he cruised it like a champ. Sanitas was of course a sting in the tail. I went fairly hard, hoping to beat my personal best from 2005, thinking it was 3:3?, I made the summit in 20:15 which ended up being a total of 3:28, but after doing a bit of research, my previous best was 3:27 in May of 2005 (although I waited for the dog a lot on that day). Oh well, better luck next time.... ;)

Great day out, it was fun to run with Tim and it was nice and warm, maybe 60's down low in the sun?

Rough Splits:
SBP 1:02?
Bear 1:20?
Bear Canyon Jct 1:44
Green 2:02
Start Sanitas 3:07:55
Sanitas Summit: 3:28:10

Monday, February 2, 2009

January Wrap Up

After a busier than average December, I decided to take January somewhat easy and not focus on pounding up/down the same old peaks day in/day out. I never pushed too hard at all this month and all the easy activity has me itching to start "training" again soon and begin my build up to some speed and fitness this year.

I got in some surprisingly good bike rides during a week long stretch of 60-70+ degree weather, went skiing at Winter Park and got in some great winter peaks. I have even got in a few flat runs in the past few days. I'm not at all fast, but am already sensing progress and feel that it will be a benefit in the long run to "learn to run" so to speak.

January Stats:
  • 126.9 Miles (on foot)
  • 47,730 Vertical Feet climbed (on foot)
  • 134 Miles Biked including 3,800 vertical up Mt. Evans
  • 9 Fourteeners (Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, Bross, Quandary, Elbert, Evans, Torreys and Grays).
  • 1 13er (Parnassus).
  • 1 12er (Woods).
  • 2 Trips up Sanitas, 1 trip up Green, 6 trips up Bear, 3 trips up S. Boulder.
  • 1 day skiing at Winter Park.

Saturday, 01/31/09 Torreys and Grays

Torreys and Grays
15 miles
5,060 vertical
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Dave Hale, Steve Hoffmeyer, John Broadbooks, Robert LeClair, Brandon Fuller, Mike Via, Sierra and Shep
Start: 7:30am
Finish: 4:30pm

The Winter Warriors group pulled off another successful day in the mountains on Saturday. There were varied agendas, but to the best of my knowledge, everyone was able to accomplish what they had set out to do.We started up the road at 7:30am and conditions were great as the trail was reasonably well packed, skies were clear and the temperature was reasonable with minimal wind (aside from the saddle to the top of Torreys).

There were several parties ahead of us, including John Prater, Bill Wright and Eric Coppock and several parties behind, a surprisingly busy winter day on these peaks.We took it very easy today, conversing easily and taking many breaks along the way. It was Robert and Brandon’s first outing with us and it was also Brandon’s first winter 14er. It was great to have them along and I look forward to more outings with these guys as they make great company and are strong hikers. If you get a chance, check out Brandon’s account of the trip on his blog, he has a nice write up, some pictures and a cool video.

We all put on snowshoes somewhere near the summer TH for the short stretch to where the snow runs out just prior to the Kelso turnoff. Allison took a chance and left her snowshoes in the car and was just fine without them and if I were to go back soon, I too would probably leave them.

Most who had snowshoes stashed them in the usual area. I put on my Kahtoola running crampons and a few others put on Kahtoola Microspikes. The trail can be quite tricky to walk on the upper sections of the mountain without traction as it is very hard snow/ice and usually off camber. Nothing too dangerous, just very inefficient and frustrating without traction.

Near the Grays/Torreys trail jct., we bumped into John and Bill who were heading down at a near run (they did the round trip in just under 6 hours). We stopped to talk with them for a while and John was nice enough to loan his Microspikes to Allison which helped her tremendously. She was extremely thankful.

Dave and I split off for Torreys, Mike and Steve were higher on Grays on their way toward Torreys (avoiding the snowfield) and the remainder of the group decided to climb Grays only. Dave and I made it to Torreys at 12:20pm and Steve showed up soon after, where we took a long break enjoying the views and each other’s company.

I eventually set off for Grays, hoping to catch Allison and Sierra while Dave headed down and Steve followed me toward Grays. I made it to Grays at 1:20pm and just kept going over the top and down the ridge in pursuit of the group, going fast enough to gain ground, but still relatively easy as to not get hurt in the variable snow and talus.Soon, we were a group again, except for Steve and Mike who were still higher on the peaks.

We decided to drop a bit of elevation and seek warmer temps where we could take some longer breaks and hope that they would catch up. Unfortunately, they were a bit further back than we estimated and we never did reconnect. The trip out was uneventful yet enjoyable and we were all satisfied with another great outing amongst good friends. We were done by 4:30pm and got to endure a bit of ski traffic, but fortunately it was not as bad as I had feared.