Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday, 10/22/09 Green, Bear, S. Boulder

Green, Bear, S. Boulder Peak
~15 miles
~4,700 vertical

0 Start from Gregory TH
35:4? Green
45:46 Bear Creek
1:12:13 Bear Peak
1:25 S. Boulder Peak
1:48 Bottom of Shadow
2:36:56 Finish

Started from the Gregory Canyon TH and went up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman. The trail was mostly free of snow (but wet) up to saddle rock, then it was mostly snow/slush/ice beyond to the summit. I went hard and felt awesome, but was still holding back some for the run over to Bear/S. Boulder and the snow/ice slowed things down in spots. I topped out in 35:4?. The trail was slick in spots down to Bear Canyon, but was more slush than ice like the N. side of Green. I ran quick yet cautious through here and because of the way the snow was melting/accumulated, it was easy to get off trail when going fast (which I did several times), but the mistakes were easily corrected.

I crossed Bear Creek exactly 10 minutes after leaving Green at 45:46 and started up the West Ridge. This is one of my favorite sections of trail and I dug in through here, taking short, fast, strong steps and was feeling on top of my game. The weather could not have been better, cool, yet the warming from the sun was soothing and therapeutic. The trees and scenery through here were beautiful and belied the proximity to a populated area.

The last push to the summit of Bear was pretty snowy, not too deep, but enough to be really slippery and complicate progress significantly. I topped out on Bear in 1:12 and made a U turn, being really careful on the upper section not to take a header. While I was focusing on going slow, I took the opportunity to eat a Clif bar and drink some water. I topped out on S. Boulder in 1:25, most of the slowness coming from cautious negotiation of the upper boulder section, which was absolutely treacherous being the first through ice and snow covered rocks. I took some significant slips through here, even going at a crawl, but luck was on my side and I managed to pull through unscathed.

I took it cautious back down to the saddle, then tried to open it up a bit through Shadow, but it was a bad idea, as the wet trail was super slick also. Not icy, but almost as slick because of the pine needles, so I backed off.

Arrived at the mouth of Shadow at 1:48 and stayed straight/left on the connector trail to Mesa. I considered re-ascending Green via Bear Canyon, but I was totally enjoying running fast and having a higher foot cadence for a change, so I just had fun cruising the Mesa Trail at a nice clip all the way back. There was plenty of sticky mud and puddles and after a while I gave up trying to avoid it which meant for muddy legs and heavy shoes.

Returned to the Gregory TH after 2:36:56, feeling completely energized and exuberant. A sharp contrast to the struggle I had a week ago. AWESOME!!

Wednesday, 10/21/09 Sanitas

12:52 down

Sufficiently refreshed after a day off, I contemplated another day off, as the weather seemed a bit gloomy and I had limited time after work, but I figured what the heck, why not take a quick trip up Sanitas on the way home.

After negtiating my way through the gauntlet of construction projects (WTF with all the road construction and paving as of late? It is like bears and squirrels kicking it into overdrive before winter or something....).

I started up the S. Ridge at a slow pace, then imperceptably eased into a moderately paced lope. I felt good, but still was not willing to push myself in lieu of a possible more concerted effort the next day. I was just over 15 at the (almost) eternal puddle dip (my only true time check). I upped the pace from here to the high side of moderate for 3 minutes, still not willing to dig in, then was surprised to see low 18s at the last turn, so I put in a little more effort and made the post in 18:57. I was hoping to be in the 19 range without pushing and I exceeded that by a bit.

The descent was wet and muddy and a bit slick in spots, but I managed to get back in 12:52 without rattling myself too much. My feet felt quick and accurate today, though my lungs were filling with mucus, so I hope it is just poor air quality and not a harbinger of things to come. (I feel fine as I write this the next morning).