Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday, Basic Boulder Mountain Slopfest

The snowy conditions deterred a lot of people, as there were only 25 or so runners this year. George, Homie, Brandon, Justin, JP, Bill (who I never saw), Ben, Adam all showed up, yet the rest I did not know. We scratched along sidewalks and road for a long time, taking it easy and chit chatting. Those of us in front all missed the cut off trail to get us over to Bluestem and got called back. Homie led the stretch through a field along the barb wire fence. No trail, just uneven bare ground, snow drifts, rocks and cactus.

Once on the main trail, Ben, Justin and I were running a comfortable pace, but were still slowly gaining on the remainder of the group. I stopped for a quick pee and Homie caught up, so I ran with him for a while as Justin and Ben creeped further and further up the trail. At the gate just before the turn up Bluetem, Justin had stopped to wait on the group, while Ben was long gone up the trail. We all mostly re-grouped, but just a minute of running and we were all separated again. Justin and I passed the remaining group who had gotten ahead of us while we were waiting and determined that we would turn on the gas a bit to catch back up to Ben.

I upped the pace a bit, thinking we would catch Ben sometime soon, but he had a pretty good gap and it took more work than I anticipated. The trail kind of sucked with all the snow, but was not too bad if you carefully picked you path.

I was surprised to have gapped Justin and was in no mans land between him and Ben. For a while, I went back and forth between waiting for Justin and the other guys and catching up to Ben. I ultimately decided to push a bit to catch Ben and see what happened. I figured Justin and some of the others would eventually catch back up on the (what I had hoped) well travelled Mesa Trail. I caught Ben on the climb just beyond the Bluestem/Mesa junction and was disappointed to learn that we would be breaking trail for a bit.

We took turns breaking trail for what seemed like longer than it was. The trail was variable, but beyond the Shanahan or Fern jct., the trail was better consolidated. We went fairly casual through here and I made it a point to eat a GU, some Chomps and drink some water, as we chatted with a fellow BTR runner who had joined us near Bear Canyon.

I had a feeling that I would not do much more than Green, so I ended up pushing a little up Gregory Canyon. I went fast enough to get a workout, but knew I needed to conserve a bit just in case I opt for more. When I arrived on Green, I decided that I would just wait for the group and see what the general consensus was. Ben arrived after 4 or 5 minutes and we discussed our options and ultimately decided to head down to the 4-way and hope we bumped into the group. We took another short break here and then decided we would head down Green/Bear and see how that went. I started down following a set or two of footprints, but it soon became obvious (as I expected) that it would be a rough time heading in that direction. I headed back up to the 4-way and reported my findings to Ben, where we both decided that we would prefer to run, rather than posthole for the afternoon.

After a few minutes of descending, we ran into the rest of the gang and I was surprised not to see George. Homie was looking strong and I had a strong feeling he was going to do the whole thing despite my poor conditions report.

The descent was interesting in the soft snow, footing was a bit tricky, but it was really fun. The Mesa Trail seemed to take a long time, especially with all the slush and mud. At Bear Canyon, we decided to head downhill instead of any more climbing, as we were both feeling as though we had enough.

Running the roads back to the start really sucked with the studded shoes and heavy legs and we just plodded along, finishing in 4:08. Since there was nobody around and we had no idea when anybody would return, we just split.

Although this year's edition of the Basic was not really competetive and the conditions were far from optimal, I had a great time regardless and it was fun running with Ben and getting to know him. He is a strong runner and made for good company.